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"

MLK, Obama, and the Audacity of Intervention in Syria

by Stewart M. Patrick
President Barack Obama speaks at a dedication ceremony of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington October 16, 2011. (Molly Riley/Courtesy Reuters) President Barack Obama speaks at a dedication ceremony of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington October 16, 2011. (Molly Riley/Courtesy Reuters)

At first glance the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the chemical weapons crisis in Syria seem entirely unrelated. But they offer an opportunity to juxtapose the visions of war and peace of two influential Americans. On the one side is the towering figure of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK), an apostle of nonviolent resistance, convinced that “violence never brings permanent peace.” On the other is President Barack Obama, himself product of the civil rights struggle, who confronts an agonizing policy choice in Syria after the suspected chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime on civilian populations last week. Read more »

Pluralism, Peace, and the “Responsibility to Innovate”

by Guest Blogger for Stewart M. Patrick
Former President Ronald Reagan addresses a crowd at the opening of the Reagan Library in Simi, California, November 4, 1991 (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters). Former President Ronald Reagan addresses a crowd at the opening of the Reagan Library in Simi, California, November 4, 1991 (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters).

Below is a guest post by Mark P. Lagon, adjunct senior fellow for human rights at the Council on Foreign Relations and professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Read more »

Introducing the Global Governance Report Card

by Stewart M. Patrick
Screen shot of the Global Governance Report Card page. Click www.cfr.org/reportcard to access the report. Screen shot of the Global Governance Report Card page. Click www.cfr.org/reportcard to access the report.

As Mayor of New York, the late Edward Koch famously asked constituents, “How’m I doing?” He got an earful. But he valued the instant feedback and even adjusted occasionally. As we commemorate Earth Day, we might ask the same question of ourselves – but on a planetary scale. When it comes to addressing the world’s gravest ills, how are we doing? Read more »

“A Moment of Truth” for Syrian Refugees—and International Justice

by Stewart M. Patrick
Syrian refugees at a refugee camp in the Turkish border town of Yayladagi in Hatay province. (Umit Bektas/Courtesy Reuters) Syrian refugees at a refugee camp in the Turkish border town of Yayladagi in Hatay province. (Umit Bektas/Courtesy Reuters)

Yesterday Antonio Gutteres, the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees, briefed the UN Security Council on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria. Gutteres’ remarks, delivered in closed session but subsequently published on UNHCR’s website, provide a chilling summary of the human cost of this grinding conflict. The crisis, in his words, presents a “moment of truth” to the international community. That is true in at least two senses. The world needs to take bolder steps to alleviate human suffering in Syria. And it needs to hold the perpetrators of atrocities accountable. Read more »

Secretary Clinton’s Valedictory: “Widening the Aperture of Our Engagement”

by Stewart M. Patrick
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answers questions from the audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington on January 31, 2013 (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answers questions from the audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington on January 31, 2013 (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters).

In a valedictory address delivered today at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a new era of American global leadership. The United States remains the world’s “indispensable” power, she insisted. It is the cornerstone of a “just, rules-based international order.” But she warned against complacency. “Leadership is not a birthright,” she insisted. “It has to be earned by each new generation.” To lead in the twenty-first century, the United States will need to “adapt to these new realities of global power and influence,” by exploiting its entire array of policy levers, cultivating diverse partnerships and networks, and forging a “new international architecture” tailored to new global challenges and emerging powers. Read more »

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 »