WORLDVIEWS

Is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Dead?

When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted 70 years ago, the hopes of its drafters and of people across the globe was that it would help transform the world into a place of freedom and justice. Sadly, the declaration is now being challenged as it has never been before. This leads to pondering about … Read more

Thank You, UN, for Validating Indigenous People

Indigenous people, several millions of them, live in more than 80 countries and have long suffered, and continue to suffer, from injustices. Until 1981, they had no global forum in which to appear to plead for justice and for respect of their inalienable rights. That year, the director of the United Nations Division of Human … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Has Anyone Seen the UN Secretary-General’s Human Rights Agenda?

Secretary-General António Guterres has set about modernizing some sectors of the United Nations and made impassioned statements about the need to protect human rights. But beyond rhetoric, so far there has been no indication of his modernizing the human-rights sector. We have seen this before. Dag Hammarskjold, a previous secretary-general, undoubtedly believed in human rights, … Read more

BOOKS

The Secret Work on War-Crime Trials Before Nuremberg

It is widely believed that the Allied powers were in the dark about the “final solution” — the Nazi campaign to exterminate Europe’s Jews — until the discovery of the death camps, strewn with corpses and emaciated inmates, at the end of World War II. Yet Russia, Britain and the United States publicly declared their … Read more

You Have the Right to Leave Your Country: Backdrop to UN Summit on Migration

Syrian refugees in Turkey. CARITAS INTERNATIONAL

You have a right to leave your country, but you don’t have a right to enter another country. That asymmetry of human rights is a basic axiom of the global international migration system. Nearly 70 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in Article 13, recognized everyone’s right to leave and to return to … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Haitian Letters Remind the UN of Cholera Victims’ Sadness

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Here in the office of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux in Haiti’s capital, more than 2,000 letters of cholera victims seeking justice came pouring in to be delivered on Dec. 10 to the headquarters of the United Nations peacekeeping mission as part of a protest on Human Rights Day. It was a straightforward, … Read more

Jan Eliasson Explains His Role as No. 2 at the UN

Jan Eliasson, deputy secretary-general of the UN

Jan Eliasson has been the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations since July 2012, the second in command after Ban Ki-moon. Eliasson, 73, is a former Swedish foreign minister and was ambassador to the United States twice, among other foreign postings. He was also president of the UN General Assembly and a key UN mediator … Read more

US Foes of Disability Treaty Reflect Discomfort With UN

At the UN's International Day of Persons with Disabilities

In blocking adoption by the United States of a global convention to protect the disabled, the Republican right signaled on Dec. 4 that it intends to stall or kill all international treaties sent to the Senate for ratification by the Obama administration. Even pleas from a frail and crippled Bob Dole, a former senator, in … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Why the International Women’s Rights Treaty Matters

US Senate Women

The time has come for the United States to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, commonly known as Cedaw, particularly after women voters asserted themselves so effectively in recent US elections. The convention obliges signatories to “ensure the full development and advancement of women” and expressly extends its … Read more

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