Govt-E 1048: Human Rights and International Politics Mathias Risse Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy
This Class Interdisciplinary introduction to human rights field/ human rights studies Part 1: Interrogating the idea of human rights (history, philosophy, social science) Part 2: Realizing human rights (major actors, major issues)
This class • Short papers on *normative* issues • Independent research projects • Lecture plus discussion
1948 December 10
Universal Values Rights Institutional Responsibility
Six core human rights treaties • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted in 1966 and which entered into force in 1976 • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted in 1966, entered into force in 1976 • The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965, 1969) • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979, 1981) • The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984, 1987) • The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989, 1990)
Universal Declaration of Human Rights PREAMBLE Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people, (….)
Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty. Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Differentiations Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 10. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
What’s not there: capitalism • Article 17 • (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. • (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
What’s not here: right to democracy (?) • Article 21 • (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. • (2) Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country. • (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
What’s not there: right to immigrate • Article 13 • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. • (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. • Article 14 • (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
Universal Morality • Vedas and Upanishads • Genesis • Buddhism • Confucianism • Christianity • Islam • Greek/Roman natural law • etc
“Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade” • William Wilberforce – Thomas Clarkson
Slavery today • http://www.freetheslaves.net/
From the Manifesto “The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they do not have. (…) National differences and antagonisms between peoples are daily more and more vanishing, owing to the development of the bourgeoisie, to freedom of commerce, to the world market, to uniformity in the mode of production and in the conditions of life corresponding thereto. The supremacy of the proletariat will cause them to vanish still faster.”
Henry Dunant Four Geneva Conventions, re. wounded, PoW’s, civilians rights language throughout Red Cross
Women’s Emancipation • Emmeline Pankhurst
Parallel movements in countries such as… China Japan Turkey Argentina India Egypt Korea Vietnam, etc.
“first feminist play” Nora Helmer: “But our home has been nothing but a play-room. I’ve been your doll-wife, just as at home I was Papa’s doll-child…. It’s no good your forbidding me anything any longer… I believe that before anything else I’m a human being – just as much as you are.” Outrageous by standards of the time, led to “Nora Societies” across Europe, Asia Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House (1879)
Ended WWI – major effort at reorganizing the world First major conference at which race was crucial League of Nations as first organization to address global problems /”self-determination” Paris Peace Conference
Mixed Results • Colonial system was not questioned • But: ILO was founded, minority rights were protected, and peace became a globally acknowledged priority, and connected to justice • Often pointless use of moral language to please American delegation (see John Maynard Keynes)
Japanese delegation introduced proposal of racial equality Woodrow Wilson thwarted effort (“Yellow Peril”) Equality?
Meeting btw Churchill and Roosevelt off Newfoundland, August 1941 Stated goals: self-determination, self-government, improved labor standards, economic advancement, social security, “freedom from want and fear” rallying point Declaration of UN – Jan 1, 1942 – signed by 26 nations against the Axis, including US, SU, GB, China, Canada, Cuba, New Zealand, South Africa The Atlantic Charter
“Why be apologetic about Anglo-Saxon superiority –we are superior.” “I have not become the King’s First Minister to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.” consider: detention of Japanese-Americans Churchill and Equality
resistance of smaller powers – human rights had to be given a prominent role in the Charter after all NGO also played major role San Francisco, June 1945
Commission on Human Rights • Charged with adding “international Bill of Rights” acceptable to members from rather different cultural backgrounds • Started deliberating in Jan 1947 • Massive momentum: lots of debate, reactions, exchange • For the first time in history, rights of individuals to be given a standing in international politics
Drafting… • long-winded process of wrestling with formulations designed to be widely acceptable • involved both much political struggling and philosophical inquiry (including opinion poll of leading thinkers across the world) • At drafting stage, Declaration much more work of intellectuals than of politicians
Law professor at McGill UN functionary Major writer of UDHR Unsung Hero and Drafter: John P. Humphrey, Canada
Harvard philosophy PhD Professor, intellectual, diplomat, politician Charles Malik, Lebanon
French judge, later on European Court of Human Rights Got Nobel Prize for work on UDHR in 68 René Cassin, France