Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

Patrick assesses the future of world order, state sovereignty, and multilateral cooperation.

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Showing posts for "Human Rights"

World Humanitarian Summit: One Small Step in a Long Journey

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shake hands following the closing news conference during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, May 24, 2016. (Murad Sezer /Reuters) Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shake hands following the closing news conference during the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, May 24, 2016. (Murad Sezer /Reuters)

Coauthored with Theresa Lou, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) concluded this week in Istanbul with mixed results. Although a few significant initiatives emerged, including on financing and education, the summit made little headway on other urgent priorities. These include mobilizing a new crop of humanitarian donors, ensuring compliance with the 1951 Refugee Convention, and getting states to uphold international humanitarian law, including the safety of relief workers. Progress on these fronts will await the opening of the seventy-first session of the UN General Assembly in September, when world leaders convene for real intergovernmental negotiations. The Istanbul Summit was merely the first step in mobilizing global attention and political will on the need to rescue a world in flight. Read more »

Fiddling in Yemen: A Messy War’s Lessons for Global Conflict Management

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Protesters demonstrate against the Saudi-led air strikes outside the United Nations offices in Sana'a, Yemen, on November 2, 2015. Protesters demonstrate against the Saudi-led air strikes outside the United Nations offices in Sana'a, Yemen, on November 2, 2015 (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters).

Coauthored with Callie Plapinger, intern in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

As the world watches Syria burn, a tiny glimmer of hope shines in Yemen. Today, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee disclosed that it will use new oversight powers to more closely monitor U.S. weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, which for nine months has been carrying out a brutal campaign against Houthi rebels that’s left thousands of civilians dead. The news comes on the heels of an announcement earlier this week by Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, that he would begin a renewed push for peace talks in Geneva next week. To be sure, near-term prospects for peace are low, given the conflicting interests of Saudi Arabia and Iran and the growing presence of both al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Even so, the United States should welcome the UN’s latest initiative. More broadly, it should consider what Yemen teaches about the limits of backing proxy interventions—and the need to build up the UN’s multilateral conflict management capabilities. Read more »

Assessing U.S. Membership in the UN Human Rights Council

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 2, 2015. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 2, 2015 (Evan Vucci/Reuters).

The following is a guest post by Daniel Chardell and Theresa Lou, research associates in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Read more »

Sexual Abuse by Peacekeepers: Time for Real Action

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
UN peacekeepers patrol near a village in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo on August 7, 2013. UN peacekeepers patrol near a village in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo on August 7, 2013 (Thomas Mukoya/Reuters).

Coauthored with Eleanor Powell, intern in the International Institutions and Global Governance program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

United Nations peacekeeping efforts have long had a dark side: a history of sexual exploitation and abuse against civilians by UN personnel. While the UN has paid lip service to stopping such sexual violence, a recent internal review reveals the still-alarming scope of these crimes—and the failure of the international community to hold perpetrators to account. Read more »

The Future of Human Dignity—and Human Rights

by Stewart M. Patrick
A Roma boy pumps water in the slum of Tiszavasvari, east of Budapest, Hungary, on September 26, 2014. A Roma boy pumps water in the slum of Tiszavasvari, east of Budapest, Hungary, on September 26, 2014 (Laszlo Balogh/Courtesy Reuters).

For decades the global debate over human rights has been a dialogue of the deaf. This interminable argument pits advocates of civil and political rights against proponents of economic and social rights. The former take the classic liberal position that individual freedom is the foundation of liberty and, accordingly, that the only fundamental rights are “negative” ones that constrain state power. The latter invoke social justice concerns and argue that civil and political liberties are empty without “positive” rights like guaranteed employment, health, shelter, and sustenance. Their opponents retort that these are mere aspirations and should not become “entitlements.” And so on. Read more »

Extracting Justice: Battling Corruption in Resource-Rich Africa

by Stewart M. Patrick and Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Local residents' clothes dry over the gas pipelines running through the Eleme community near the city of Port Harcourt, a major Nigerian oil hub in the country's southeast. Local residents' clothes dry over the gas pipelines running through the Eleme community near the city of Port Harcourt, a major Nigerian oil hub in the country's southeast (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Isabella Bennett, assistant director of the International Institutions and Global Governance program. Read more »

Dignity as Global Institutions’ Mission: A New Consensus?

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Children of Dalits—also known as "untouchables"—are seen in the outskirts of the northern Indian city of Lucknow. Children of Dalits—also known as "untouchables"—are seen in the outskirts of the northern Indian city of Lucknow (Pawan Kumar/Courtesy Reuters).

In global governance, there are a couple of nettlesome questions of scope. First, how broadly should universal human rights norms be defined? For instance, one could focus on political and civil rights, or one could also include socioeconomic rights and prosperity. Second, how widely should the world look for actors and partners to implement those norms? Beyond looking at public institutions—whether national or multilateral—global solutions may require contributions from nongovernmental and corporate actors. These are the two basic questions that my colleague at the Council on Foreign Relations and Georgetown University, Mark P. Lagon, addresses in his book forthcoming in October, Human Dignity and the Future of Global Institutions, co-edited with Anthony Clark Arend. Lagon has written the following guest post on these important questions on which we work together in CFR’s International Institutions and Global Governance program. Read more »

The New “Space Race” for Civil Society and Democracy

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Egyptian activists accused of working for outlawed non-governmental organizations stand trial in Cairo in February 2014. Egyptian activists accused of working for outlawed non-governmental organizations stand trial in Cairo in February 2014 (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Courtesy Reuters).

Civil society plays a central role in securing and upholding democratic governance worldwide. However, from Egypt to Russia, authoritarian governments are reverse engineering civil society’s tactics, threatening to undermine the campaign for liberal rule. As civil society fights for space in which to dissent, rally for reform, and express itself freely, illiberal states are squeezing that space. My colleague Mark P. Lagon, adjunct senior fellow for human rights at the Council on Foreign Relations and professor at Georgetown University, calls this the “new space race” in his just-released CFR Expert Brief, “Fighting for Civil Society’s Space.” He recommends an approach to global diplomacy to ensure open space for reformers. Here’s an excerpt. Read more »

Voting Against Accountability for Syria

by Stewart M. Patrick
Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin votes in the United Nations Security Council against referring the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court for investigation of possible war crimes at the U.N. headquarters in New York May 22, 2014 (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters). Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin votes in the United Nations Security Council against referring the Syrian crisis to the International Criminal Court for investigation of possible war crimes at the U.N. headquarters in New York May 22, 2014 (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Claire Schachter, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

Today the UN Security Council voted on a French draft resolution referring the situation in Syria—where government forces have systematically slaughtered civilians—to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Russia and China vetoed the resolution. While not surprising, the double veto is enormously frustrating to those demanding a stronger international response to war crimes in Syria. To some observers, the failure of this referral may signal the impossibility of ensuring accountability in a context of geopolitical rivalry. But the Obama administration’s decision to support the resolution, even in the face of near certain defeat, was appropriate and necessary—appropriate in light of its evolving relationship with the ICC and necessary given its limited options for ending the conflict in Syria. Read more »