Uniting Nations on Human Rights; Reform Membership Criteria and Refocus Resources

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 9, 2006 | Go to article overview

Uniting Nations on Human Rights; Reform Membership Criteria and Refocus Resources


Byline: David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The United Nations will soon decide whether to replace its current Human Rights Commission (HRC) with a new body that can, with credibility, highlight and address human rights abuses around the globe. There is, of course, a broad consensus that the HRC is deeply flawed. Its membership includes a number of states with abysmal human rights records. However, despite Secretary-General Kofi Annan's call for a smaller body composed of states abiding by the highest human rights standards, agreement on how to reform this critical institution has proven elusive.

Indeed, the most recent proposal, for a Human Rights Council of 47 members (down six from the current 53 members), would only be window dressing. As a result, the United States and other democracies should oppose this plan. The time for fixing the HRC is now, but it has to be done right. This is one policy exercise where seeking perfection (or, at least, genuine reform) is both desirable and necessary.

There are two fundamental problems with the existing HRC. First, its members are selected based upon the United Nation's regional bloc system, which allocates a certain number of seats to each of five geographic groups, such as Africa or the Western European and Other Group (which includes the United States). As a result, countries with poor human rights records, but who may be highly important or influential in their own region, are regularly seated on the HRC. More than anything else, the participation of oppressive regimes such as Sudan, Libya and Saudi Arabia has destroyed the HRC's credibility and effectiveness. Second, the HRC has increasingly focused its attention on alleged human rights abuses by Western democracies, especially the United States and Israel, and has not done enough to address egregious violations of human rights norms by such countries as, for example, Cuba, Iran or North Korea. Obviously, these problems are related and solving the first will go a long way toward solving the second.

There is, of course, wide agreement that the HRC's work has been undercut by the participation of severe human rights abusers, and that an appropriate mechanism must be found to ensure that such states are excluded from membership. The problem is creating a mechanism that will both be effective and acceptable to U.N. membership.

There are a number of suggestions, including election by a majority of the United Nation's general membership, featured in the pending reform proposal, a two-thirds-majority requirement (favored by the United States) and barring any state that is currently subject to Security Council sanctions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Uniting Nations on Human Rights; Reform Membership Criteria and Refocus Resources
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.