Essay: Qustions to Answer on Human Rights

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¶ … qustions to answer on Human rights, order and Justice

The protection of human rights represents one of the most important achievements of the international community. It offers a sine qua non-conditions for the well being of our global community. Nonetheless there are several key aspects which are yet to be clearly represented in the legislation of human rights as well as some elements which are yet to be properly identified and protected.

The idea of order and justice in global politics has caught the attention of many philosophers and analysts from Aristotle onwards. Despite the fact that we live in a world which is constant change and development there are certain things which remain the same. In this sense, one of the most important aspects of international relations is justice which must be the cornerstone of every political association or contact.

The precise relationship between justice and order in global politics is rather difficult to assess particularly because there are various aspects which are now given a new dimension everyday by the changes that take place constantly. In this sense, in the early 90s, the idea of justice came in association with the term of "new world order" (Kissinger, 1995) but as a consequence of the Cold War. It implied a new set of rules and norms that would eventually govern the relations between countries in an environment which would be free of bipolar tensions, nuclear weapons, and diplomatic stagnations. Nowadays, though, these parameters are no longer an issue for debate, as the world is more and more engaged in a constant struggle for interdependence.

From the perspective offered by world politics today, it can be said that order and justice are strictly connected. Thus, today's order in world politics consists of a system of values based on human rights, free diplomacy, collaboration among nations, but most importantly on the desire for peace at all costs. From this point-of-view, these are also elements which to a certain extent define world justice as a prerequisite of defending humanity from wars and catastrophes. Still, on the other hand, from the perspective of third world countries, it cannot be said that justice truly exists in this current world order because there is a tragic discrepancy between the peoples of the countries in the world, an element which makes the term "justice" seem dissolute.

2.It has often been said that the protection of human rights represent in fact a means for exercising western imperialism. In this sense, author David Forsythe even raises the question "is it support for international human rights a form of western imperialism" (2006). This is one of the most important questions at the moment especially taking into consideration the great number of human rights abuses and the interventions that have been taking place in the name of human rights such as Darfur.

Forsythe points out that "human rights are thus means to a greater social end, and it is the legal system that tells us at any given point in time which rights are considered most fundamental in the society," an idea which gives human rights a sense of legality but also universality despite their national characteristics (2006). In this sense it can be argued that in fact human rights are viewed as an attribute of every individual and each one should and must benefit from them.

In some countries of the world such as China, Sudan, Iran, North Korea or even Russia, these are not respected and action must be taken in order to protect people from the abusive actions of a political system. From this point-of-view, it cannot be argued that supporting human rights represents an act of imperialism because, in the end, human rights are a basic need for every individual on the planet. However, despite this utopist perspective, there have been cases in which human rights were used more or less as a pretext for foreign intervention thus associated with imperialism. Still, the "human rights doctrine" as emerged after the Cold War which justifies foreign intervention in a sovereign state points out precisely the prevalence of human rights over sovereignty (Nye, 2005). This underlines the need for protection rather than that for state sovereignty and cannot be seen as a sign of imperialism.

3.Another important question raised by Forsythe is related to the ability of non-western nations to be able to protect human rights in a similar manner as developed countries. Taking into account the range of human rights and the wide diversity of provisions, it is unlikely that poor countries could offer the same protection as developed ones.

On the one hand, there is the matter of actual economic perspectives. The most important human rights provision is the right to life. However, in the conditions in which the state is unable to offer a certain economic perspective to its people so that life is ensured at all times, it is impossible for this right to be fully protected. Without a specific social system and an adequate health care system that can deal with the pressure of ominous diseases, the state cannot ensure the security of its entire people as they face these challenges.

On the other hand, poor countries have little experience with liberal practices such as human rights and most of the times they are unable to ensure their protection because they do not have the tradition to do so. Countries with a colonial past are often left without a proper human rights protection system and without the necessary financing resources to set in place such a system. Also, non-western states often have a tradition of authoritarian leadership and still continue on this path; thus they cannot succeed in protecting human rights. For instance, the case of Mao's China is relevant. Since his time, people have been killed and starved for various reasons (Forsythe, 2006). Despite the fact that this situation does not exist at this level, people in China and especially in regions such as Tibet still lack the basic human rights protection.

4.Most of the times, and especially during the Cold War, the Security Council system appeared to be paralyzed by the interests of the Permanent 5. This in turn can attract a certain sense of inefficiency in its actions. Therefore, it is rather hard to say whether international intervention in the name of human rights can be achieved solely after the gear of the UN. Even though it offers a sense of legitimacy, actions agreed upon by the UN Security Council can at times come too late to save the lives of those in danger.

One of the most relevant examples in this sense was the case of Rwanda which suffered one of the most horrible atrocities of human kind when the 1994 genocide took place. At that moment the UN Security Council was not able to make a clear and swift decision to intervene, leaving eight hundred thousand people massacred. One of the primary justifications of the UN failure was the need for reformation of its intervention mechanisms. Still, until these mechanisms are fit to face any challenge especially concerning human rights, it cannot be considered a valid solution to act solely after a UN intervention force has been set in place because it would allow events such as the ones in Rwanda to repeat.

Several attempts have been made to reform the United Nations and its means of intervention; however, all these were met with increased reluctance from the P5 largely because they would reduce the power of decision of the Security Council. When the resolution "Uniting for Peace" was issued, the General Assembly was given additional means through which it could express the voice of the peoples of the world. Still, it was not as effective as its initiators had hoped for. Even so, today, the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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