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- UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Outlines basic human rights including:
- The right to life, liberty and nationality
- Freedom of opinion, conscience, and religion
- Right to work
- Right to an education
- Right to take part in the nation’s public business
- United Nations Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- All three documents = International Charter of Human Rights
- Other conventions cover racial discrimination, elimination of torture and rights of children.
- 1993 – Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) created due to high volume of conventions and initiatives.
- Coordinates activities of UN agencies,
- Prevents violations of basic human rights,
- Investigates violations, and
- Works with governments to assist them in solving problems
Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs)
- Non-profit organizations that work to foster political and economic co-operation. World’s largest HR NGO is Amnesty International and the largest HR NGO in the United States is Human Rights Watch.
International Conflict and Collective Security
- International law attempts to resolve international conflict through a system of collective security.
- Collective Security: A joint effort on the part of the global community to deal with threats to peace, breaches of the peace, or acts of aggression.
Peaceful and Military Resolution of State Conflicts
- Article 2(3) UN Charter, ‘All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.’
Settlement of Disputes
- Article 33: parties to a dispute first of all seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.
- Article 34: The Security Council may investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction
- Article 36: SC may make recommendations
- Negotiation: form of international bargaining; restricted to the disputing parties.
- Mediation: requires a third party mediator (impartial and friendly third state). Algeria acted as a mediator in the US and Iran hostage crisis.
- Conciliation: commission hears the dispute, collects all necessary information and bring the parties to an agreement
- Arbitration: both parties must agree to submit matter to a third party (the arbitrator). The arbitrator’s decision is final.
- Adjudication: the International Court of Justice.
International Criminal Court (ICC), July 2002
- Set up to try people for genocide and crimes against humanity
- Genocide: the deliberate and systematic killing of a whole ethnic or racial group
- War Crimes include:
- intentionally launching an attack that will cause loss of life or injury to civilians, or damage to civilian or cultural objects
- widespread, long term, and severe damage to the natural environment
- use of prohibited weapons, including poisonous or other gases
- methods of war that cause unnecessary suffering or are inherently indiscriminate in claiming victims.