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  • Author: James W. Nickel
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Like people born shortly after World War II, the international human rights movement recently had its sixty-fifth birthday. This could mean that retirement is at hand and that death will come in a few decades. After all, the formulations of human rights that activists, lawyers, and politicians use today mostly derive from the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the world in 1948 was very different from our world today: the cold war was about to break out, communism was a strong and optimistic political force in an expansionist phase, and Western Europe was still recovering from the war. The struggle against entrenched racism and sexism had only just begun, decolonization was in its early stages, and Asia was still poor (Japan was under military reconstruction, and Mao's heavy-handed revolution in China was still in the future). Labor unions were strong in the industrialized world, and the movement of women into work outside the home and farm was in its early stages. Farming was less technological and usually on a smaller scale, the environmental movement had not yet flowered, and human-caused climate change was present but unrecognized. Personal computers and social networking were decades away, and Earth's human population was well under three billion.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, International Political Economy, Sovereignty, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe, Asia, United Nations
  • Author: Mark Gibney
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Human rights are (universally) declared to be universal, yet we continue to live in a world where it is seemingly quite natural to limit human rights obligations to a state's own territorial borders. No doubt, many will accuse me of overstating matters when I say that territorial constraints constitute the single greatest impediment to the protection of human rights. What the territorial approach has done is to perpetuate a world of haves and have-nots among states, in which human rights protection is in large part dependent on the accident of birth. By rejecting the universality of duties, we have made a mockery of the universality of human rights.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Eric Posner
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: In his latest book, Larry May argues that two rights—the right to habeas corpus and to non-refoulement—should be incorporated into international law as jus cogens norms. Habeas corpus, which is recognized in the United Kingdom, the United States, and a few other countries with U.K.-derived legal systems, is a legal procedure in which a prisoner can appear in court and challenge the basis of his detention. Non-refoulement is the principle that states should not deport aliens who are unlawfully on their soil if the aliens will be persecuted or abused in the state to which they will be returned. There is currently no right to habeas corpus in international law; most states have agreed to recognize limited rights of non-refoulement. Jus cogens norms are norms of international law that bind states even if they reject them, in contrast to ordinary international legal norms, which require states' consent. Torture, slavery, genocide, and aggressive war are generally thought to be on the list of jus cogens prohibitions, and it is to this group that May wants to add the failure to offer habeas corpus and the deportation of aliens to states where they are likely to be abused.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom
  • Author: Yvonne Terlingen
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: The UN Security Council's approach to counterterrorism, which the United States has greatly shaped, has generally shown a marked human rights deficit. The process for seizing the assets of and imposing travel bans on suspected terrorists and their financiers must be reformed.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Stephen Schlesinger
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: The proposal for a league of democracies is fraught with a number of fundamental flaws. In fact, much of what these democracy strategists are seeking can be obtained within the existing universal security institution, the UN.
  • Topic: Human Rights, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States