A United Nations-San Francisco Reunion for the New Millennium

By Hosseinioun, Mishana | UN Chronicle, September-November 2005 | Go to article overview

A United Nations-San Francisco Reunion for the New Millennium


Hosseinioun, Mishana, UN Chronicle


Sixty years ago, the Charter of the United Nations was signed in San Francisco, marking the birth of a fledgling international body. The United Nations has since left and moved to New York City, with offices around the world, leaving San Francisco with a plaza bearing the famed Organization's initials to show the city's instrumental role in its conception. San Francisco is resolved to play more than ever an active role in the long life and future endeavours of the United Nations. It has outgrown its place among the dusty archival footage and yellowing newspaper clippings of the past, but it still has much history to make. A world-class city at heart, San Francisco seeks to set a global example for peaceful coexistence, just as it did on 26 June 1945.

While it may seem that it has been sitting back for the last six decades, San Francisco has actually been incubating in preparation for yet another innovative delivery at the dawn of the new millennium. It is on its way to complete the drafting of an international convention on human rights (ICHR)--a universal document that will be enforceable in all local courts, which will hold all nations to equal, socially and economically responsible standards. ICHR aspires to mirror the work done on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and parallel the structure of the European Convention on Human Rights, which applies to 45 countries and is enforceable in the European Court of Human Rights. The International Bill of Rights Project (IBOR), a San Francisco-based non-profit organization, whose mission is to educate people about existing international human rights, is behind this operation. It submits that the time has come to turn this Court into an international court of human rights, with jurisdiction over 191 countries. This international civil court, as it was, would act solely as a last resort for cases first brought before local courts.

An ICHR that promotes universal rules of conduct is most needed in an era of globalization and increasing interdependence between nations. Acceptance of this international convention would be the quid pro quo for transnational bodies, such as the World Trade Organization and the World Bank. Furthermore, it would expedite the process of development for many Third World countries, with a once unequal hand in the unregulated processes of globalization and capitalism. The proposed convention is just one part of San Francisco's tangible plan for peace.

On Human Rights Day--10 December 2005--IBOR will officially implement its human rights educational curriculum for a one class period in secondary schools in the San Francisco Bay area and other select cities worldwide. …

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