GEOPOLITICS

Richard Falk on Palestine, Israel and the UN in the Trump Age

Richard Falk is a well-known American academic and writer who from 2008 until 2014 was the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Palestine since 1967, a post that invariably invites controversy. For Falk, who has never been shy of taking provocative stances, the work compelled him to declare, among other things, that Israel’s … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Leave the UN’s Human-Rights Treaty System Alone

The United Nations Charter requires each and every member state to discharge its obligations by faithfully carrying out norms of legally binding international human-rights law. These may be norms of international customary law, those contained in treaties or those flowing from general principles of international law. The human-rights provisions in the Charter were amplified by … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

In Washington, Spotlighting the UN Human Rights Council

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United Nations Human Rights Council, the highest organ exclusively responsible for human rights in the world body, is now 10 years old. It recently received concentrated attention here in the United States capital. Such concerted focus would have been unthinkable more than a generation ago, when this writer was active in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Haitians’ Rights Were Violated Over Cholera Outbreak, UN Experts Assert

In September 2014, four United Nations human-rights experts wrote to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon alleging that the UN had violated human rights through the cholera epidemic in Haiti, which broke out in October 2010. This is the first time that an allegation letter — a formal complaint procedure typically used against governments — has been filed … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

The Last Throes of the Death Penalty?

Texas Moratorium Network

Mores in societies change over the years. While slavery, torture and public executions were once a global phenomenon, and foot binding and deadly duels were deeply entrenched aspects of regional cultures, they are no longer considered acceptable by the international community. In line with what the United States Supreme Court once called “evolving standards of … Read more

BOOKS

The Human Rights Council Gets More Respect

Migrants locked up in a camp in Libya.

The visibility of human-rights violations by the Syrian government amid the current turmoil owes much to the United Nations, particularly to its Independent International Commission of Inquiry, led by Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, a Brazilian lawyer, public official and professor.  Such commissions are part of a growing number of tools used by the UN to promote … Read more

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