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"

November Surprise: The United States Wins Second Term on UN Human Rights Council

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
United States Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe listens to a speech during the Human Rights Council special session on the situation in Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva on June 1, 2012 (Denis Balibouse/Courtesy Reuters). United States Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe listens to a speech during the Human Rights Council special session on the situation in Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva on June 1, 2012 (Denis Balibouse/Courtesy Reuters).

In the wake of the U.S. reelection to the UN Human Rights Council, Ryan Kaminski, the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) Leo Nevas Human Rights Fellow, offers his analysis of how the Obama administration can take advantage of this election.

On November 12, the United States won a second term on the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), following a vote by the 193 members of the UN General Assembly. Read more »

How to Advance the Rule of Law (Hint: Outside the UN)

by Stewart M. Patrick
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma speaks during the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law at the United Nations headquarters in New York September 24, 2012 (Shannon Stapleton/Courtesy Reuters). South Africa's President Jacob Zuma speaks during the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law at the United Nations headquarters in New York September 24, 2012 (Shannon Stapleton/Courtesy Reuters).

At the United Nations, support for the rule of law has the aura of mom’s apple pie: Everybody loves it. Unfortunately, consensus ends there. UN member states can’t agree on how to define it, much less how to advance it globally. It’s unsurprising, then, that last week’s “High-Level UN Meeting on the Rule of Law” (perhaps you missed it?) was a bust. The meeting’s final declaration was a festival of empty blather, even by UN standards. And that is a wasted opportunity. For as my friend and colleague Mark Lagon points out in a just released policy innovation memorandum from the Council on Foreign Relations, improving the rule of law worldwide may be the critical step in improving prospects for human dignity and prosperity in the twenty-first century.  The lesson of the last week is that this effort can’t be left to the United Nations. Read more »

Guest Post: Iran’s Must-See Sites for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
A photo of July 2009 protests at the University of Tehran. Tens of thousands of protesters used Friday prayers to stage a show of dissent over the disputed presidential election (via Your View/Courtesy Reuters). A photo of July 2009 protests at the University of Tehran. Tens of thousands of protesters used Friday prayers to stage a show of dissent over the disputed presidential election (via Your View/Courtesy Reuters).

Below is a guest post by Felice Gaer and Christen Broecker. Gaer and Broecker are, respectively, director and associate director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights.

Despite warnings that attending the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran would legitimize the regime’s abusive behavior at home and abroad, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has decided to go. He seeks to meet with Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Responding to criticisms of Ban’s plans, his spokesman argued that to skip the summit “would be a missed opportunity.” Read more »

Ten Critical Human Rights Issues for the Next President

by Stewart M. Patrick
Human rights activist Ales Belyatsky sits in a guarded cage in a courtroom in Minsk November 24, 2011. A Belarussian court on Thursday sentenced leading human rights activist Belyatsky to 4.5 years in prison on tax evasion charges in a case that the European Union has condemned as politically motivated (Vasily Fedosenko/Courtesy Reuters). Human rights activist Ales Belyatsky sits in a guarded cage in a courtroom in Minsk November 24, 2011. A Belarussian court on Thursday sentenced leading human rights activist Belyatsky to 4.5 years in prison on tax evasion charges in a case that the European Union has condemned as politically motivated (Vasily Fedosenko/Courtesy Reuters).

Last week, twenty-two human rights organizations and activists released a list of the ten most pressing human rights challenges for the next U.S. president. The U.S. president remains one of the most influential public figures in the world—if not the most influential—and the enormity of the challenge to protect human rights around the world should not deter President Obama or President Romney in 2013. As the introduction notes: Read more »

Guest Post: No Slaves Were Used in the Writing of This Blog Post

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
A 18-year-old girl rescued from child trafficking poses in Proshanti, a shelter run by the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association in Dhaka June 17, 2008 (Andrew Biraj/Courtesy Reuters). A 18-year-old girl rescued from child trafficking poses in Proshanti, a shelter run by the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association in Dhaka June 17, 2008 (Andrew Biraj/Courtesy Reuters).

Below, my colleague Isabella Bennett, a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations, offers an assessment of how to reduce human trafficking.

The latest estimates by the International Labor Organization state that nearly 21 million people are victims of forced labor—and a significant amount of this suffering is fueled by every day products available on American shelves. Read more »

Your Guns Are in Safe Hands

by Stewart M. Patrick
National Rifle Association promotional items are displayed at a campaign stop (David Acker/Courtesy Reuters). National Rifle Association promotional items are displayed at a campaign stop (David Acker/Courtesy Reuters).

Coauthored with Emma Welch, research associate in the International Institutions and Global Governance program.

As the protracted conflict in Syria escalates rapidly into civil war—fueled by arms both legally sold and illegally procured—delegations from 193 UN member states are convened in New York for month-long negotiations to hammer out a legally-binding treaty regulating the international conventional arms trade by the fast-approaching deadline of July 27. Read more »

RIP for R2P? Syria and the Dilemmas of Humanitarian Intervention

by Stewart M. Patrick
People carry the body of men, whom activists say were killed by the Syrian government army, in Taftanaz village, east of Idlib city April 5, 2012. Picture taken April 5, 2012. (Shaam News/Courtesy Reuters) People carry the body of men, whom activists say were killed by the Syrian government army, in Taftanaz village, east of Idlib city April 5, 2012. Picture taken April 5, 2012. (Shaam News/Courtesy Reuters)

The ratcheting up of violence in Syria, including the massacres of civilians in Houla and Qubair, is placing extraordinary pressure on the Obama administration to match its tough anti-atrocities rhetoric with practical action. The pending failure of the Annan peace plan, and the former secretary-general’s declaration that the country is headed for “all-out civil war,” is quickly driving the White House toward an unenviable election-year choice: either sit back and watch the carnage, or forge an ad hoc coalition to prevent Syrian depredations. Senior administration officials have made it clear that if the UN Security Council (UNSC) fails to “assume its responsibilities,” in the words of U.S. envoy Susan E. Rice, “members of this council and members of the international community are left with the option only of having to consider whether they’re prepared to take actions outside of the Annan Plan and the authority of this council.”   Read more »

The Human Rights Council: Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

by Stewart M. Patrick
United States Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe listens to a speech during the Human Rights Council special session on the situation in Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva June 1, 2012 (Denis Balibouse/Courtesy Reuters). United States Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe listens to a speech during the Human Rights Council special session on the situation in Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva June 1, 2012 (Denis Balibouse/Courtesy Reuters).

Since the creation of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in 2006, U.S. critics have repeatedly tarred the HRC as a feckless haven for human rights abusers and a platform for egregious attacks of Israel. By their reckoning, President George W. Bush was correct to wash his hands of the body, whereas Barack Obama sullied his own in bringing the United States into the body in 2009. But critics overlook transformational improvements. The HRC remains deeply imperfect. But thanks to the Obama administration’s dogged diplomacy, it has started to turn the corner, gaining “newfound credibility as a human rights watchdog.” Read more »

The UN Human Rights Council: Five Things to Know

by Stewart M. Patrick
Overview of the U.N. Human Rights Council during the emergency debate on human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria, at the United Nations in Geneva February 28, 2012. (Denis Balibouse/ Courtesy Reuters) Overview of the U.N. Human Rights Council during the emergency debate on human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria, at the United Nations in Geneva February 28, 2012. (Denis Balibouse/ Courtesy Reuters)

The UN Human Rights Council has taken an increasingly prominent role in pressing for global action on the Syrian crisis. In the latest installment of the Internationalist Video Series, I explain how this furthers the revival of the world’s preeminent rights body, which replaced a discredited rights commission. Watch below for the five things you need to know about the reconstituted forum: Read more »

Global Human Rights: Miles to Go

by Stewart M. Patrick
View the Global Governance Monitor: Human Rights at cfr.org/humanrightsmonitor View the Global Governance Monitor: Human Rights at cfr.org/humanrightsmonitor

 

Nearly three years ago, the first arrest warrant for a sitting head of state was issued by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The date was March 4, 2009, and the leader was Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, who remains that country’s leader to this day. As this glass half-full anniversary approaches and the international community faces what UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has called “almost certain” instances of crimes against humanity in Syria, the complex issue of human rights has once again assumed the center stage in world politics. Read more »