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Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights--------- Project for the First People's Century

Human Development Report 2000
Human rights and human development

Support for human rights has always been integral to the mission of the United Nations, embodied in both the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But throughout the cold war serious discussion of the concept as it relates to development was too often distorted by political rhetoric. Civil and political rights on the one hand and economic and social rights on the other were regarded not as two sides of the same coin but as competing visions for the world’s future. We have now moved beyond that confrontational discussion to a wider recognition that both sets of rights are inextricably linked. As Mary Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, often reminds us, the goal is to achieve all human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social—for all people. Access to basic education, health care, shelter and employment is as critical to human freedom as political and civil rights are. That is why the time is right for a report aimed at drawing out the complex relationship between human development and human rights.

Occasional Papers: Topical background research for the HDR 2000

United Nations: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
S. Raghavan/S. Chatterjee (June 24, 2001)
How your chocolate may be tainted
United Nations: A brief history of Human Rights 1945-1998
Ren Yanshi:   A look at the US human rights record

Foreign Policy e-Alert on Human Rights and the War on Terror:

The unfolding scandal over the alleged abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan has raised uncomfortable questions about human rights during war. While some argue that the threat posed by al Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents sometimes necessitates distasteful tactics, others warn that the United States risks losing the moral high ground in the struggle against terror. In this special edition of the FP e-Alert, analysts explore the ethical gray zones that emerge in times of war, and question whether the international community’s commitment to human rights is more rhetoric than reality.

THINK AGAIN: HUMAN RIGHTS (March/April 2004) By Richard Falk
Those who argue that respect for human rights must be sacrificed to win the war on global terrorism have got it all wrong. This struggle is far more a political and moral conflict than it is a military one. Adherence to human rights, even for those accused or suspected of terrorist involvement, would signal Washington’s respect for life and human dignity. To act otherwise discloses a kind of secular fundamentalism that blurs the nature of the conflict.
Read this article online

ABUSING MILITARY ETHICS (July/August 2002) By Joel H. Rosenthal
The mistreatment of POWs by coalition soldiers in Iraq raises tough questions about military ethics during asymmetric warfare. FP reviewed the Journal of Military Ethics, an emerging forum for policymakers, military officers, and philosophers to explore how much force is acceptable in the pursuit of peace. "The simplistic rhetoric of the early days in the war on terrorism," the reviewer concludes, "will certainly give way to complex cases."    ......
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DO HUMAN RIGHTS TREATIES MAKE THINGS WORSE? (January/February 2003) By David Weissbrodt
Since the end of World War II, scores of nations have agreed to abide by a growing array of human rights agreements. But are those countries complying? In many instances, nations appear to ratify treaties only because of external political pressure and the need to appease prospective foreign investors. By offering countries rewards for positions rather than actual policies, ratification of treaties can serve to offset pressure for real change.
Read this article online

During the Cold War, the United States was ready to denounce human rights abuses by governments aligned with the Soviet Union; today, it is similarly ready to do so against pariah states or the governments of countries that are not considered politically or economically important. That is the new double standard; it is a different double standard from the one that prevailed during the Cold War, but it is just as pernicious in damaging efforts to promote human rights internationally.
Read this article online

Does any government-centered human rights policy make sense in the post-Cold War era? All the evidence indicates that such policies, however morally compelling, are obsolete—swamped, ironically, by the very forces that only yesterday inspired such optimism in a new age of human rights progress. Globalization has turned Washington’s human rights efforts into Cold War relics, as antiquated as fallout shelters—and, in their own way, as falsely comforting.
Read this article online

Analysis and Resources on the World Wide Web

Concerns about mistreatment of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in other undisclosed detention facilities set up after September 11, 2001, have been raised many times by the media, human rights organizations, and the U.S. Congress. Human Rights Watch offers a detailed chronology of these reports, dating back to December 2002.
Read this timeline online

Human rights attorney Joanne Mariner explores the options for prosecuting civilian contractors accused of abusing Iraqi prisoners. Although there is a slim possibility of local prosecutions in Iraq, she concludes that the most likely option is trial in the U.S. federal courts under the War Crimes Act of 1996 or the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act of 2000. But, she adds, the odds of successful prosecutions are not very promising.
Read this column online

WHO'S AFRAID OF ABU GHRAIB? American Enterprise Institute/Weekly Standard
"[Is] our situation in Iraq really in any way compromised by Abu Ghraib?" asks the American Enterprise Institute's Reuel Marc Gerecht in this article that originally appeared in the Weekly Standard. "The Abu Ghraib affair hasn't hurt at all the cause of democracy in the greater Middle East, so long as the United States doesn't believe it has," he argues. "For most Muslims, the affair really doesn't matter politically."
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Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz and Ken Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, debate the question of whether torture can be justified in extreme circumstances. "[We] should never under any circumstances allow low-level people to administer torture," argues Dershowitz. "If torture is going to be administered as a last resort in [a] ticking-bomb case, to save enormous numbers of lives, it ought to be done openly, with accountability, with approval by the president of the United States or by a Supreme Court justice."
Read this debate online

Carter Center [PDF document]
This report, published by the Carter Center, warns that human rights and pro-democracy activists worldwide have come under increased attack by governments claiming they are acting to prevent the emergence of terrorist threats. Complicating matters, the report argues, is the fact that the United States, long considered to be a great champion of human rights issues on the global stage, has compromised its ability to prod offending governments toward better human rights practices.
Read this report online

Read more on human rights and terrorism from FP's archives.

Find the complete list of FP articles on Human Rights and Terrorism in our comprehensive online Subject Index. Some articles may require registration or purchase to read.

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United Nations: Documents on Human Rights
United Nations: Human Rights
United Nations: Humanitarian Affairs
United Nations: Documents on Social Development
Human Development Report 2000.-Human rights and Human Development
Human Rights in Latin America (The CIA documents)
Human Rights Watch:   Home         Corporations and Human Rights
Human Rights World Report 1998 (by country)
  Human Rights Watch World Report 1998 (summary)
Development and Human Rights in Latin America
Asian Human Rights Commission
The Cambodian Genocide Program
International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development
Overseas Human Rights Reporting
Human Rights Library/ University of Minnesota
ELDIS: Human rights
ELDIS: Education
ELDIS: Children
The Center for Economic and Social Rights
US Dept. of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1996
United States Commission On Civil Rights
S. Pereira Leite, Human Rights and the IMF, 2001
Proyecto para el Primer Siglo Popular
Naciones Unidas: Oficina del Alto Comisionado para los derechos humanos
Declaración Universal de  Derechos Humanos
Naciones Unidas: Derechos del Hombre
Naciones Unidas: Asuntos humanitarios
Corporación de Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo
Proyecto para el Primer Siglo Popular
Nationes Unies: Haut-Commissariat aux droits de l'homme
  Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l'Homme
Nations Unies: Droits de l'Homme
Nations Unies: Affaires Humanitaires

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