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Intd200 Lecture notes on Human Rights -2 expansion and cultural relativism.docx

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International Development
INTD 200
Warren Allmand

III) EXPANSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS The expansion of Human Rights' Instruments. Reminder that in 1945, there were 3 stated goals for the Declaration, First being Peace and Security, Second Development and third Respect of Human Rights and these 3 goals are interconneced and interrelated. + One state has the right to withdraw from a convention!! Human Rights are inherent to every human being and therefore universal etc… Declaration Was adopted december 10th 1948. But next to that was a wide expansion on Human Rights under the for of Conventions (which were primarily preceded by declarations) because all the specific rights (related to specific cases weren't mentioned, 1948-Convention against genocide 1949- Geneva Convention on War and Behavior in War 1951- Convention on Refugees(all kinds) 1969- Convention to eliminate Racial Discrimination 1974-Convention against Apartheid 1981-Convention to eliminate discrimination against women 1984- Convention against torture and other forms of unusual and cruel punishments 1989- Convention on the rights of the Child 1998- Convention on the International Criminal Code (some of these conventions were preceded by declarations stated in their earlier lecture) We also had during that post-war period a large number of conventions adopted by the ILO (International Labor Organisation) and these were really important as well. They delt with the rights of workers, the types of contemporary slavery, forced labor, discrimination on the work place, child labor and so on. There were also conventions on the Rights of Migrant workers, Forced disapearances, on Persons with disabilities, The Declaration on the Right to development on 1986. Why this big expansion of these specific Human Rights and treaties, when we already have the 2 international convenants and the International Declaration? --> What happened is that :  first of all, there was all this new technology developed and thus new situations developed and new issues arose that were not covered in those earlier ones. One for example on wich there is still no instruments on Sexual Orientation.  Second reason is that once you began to apply them, arose different opinions and different interpretations, ex: what did the right to life really mean? How does it relate to states that have death penalty, how does it relate to the killing in times of war, civil war, how does it relate to the questions of abortion? So there was a lot of part abiguous, vague, etc.. So all of those matters gave rise to demand to some specific conventions on certain subjects. In general term, the fact that Human rights were inherents was an idea easily aggreed upon, but then the question came from what is the lest of Human Right, does right to property considered a Human Right? So there was disagreements on certain rights and notions, like the right on the application of the right of gender equality and so on… so in more depth we go in the study of the Human Rights, the more disagreements rise up as to what is or is really not a Human Right. Human Rights Convention: 1948-Convention against Genocide (which came to force in 1951 when the requirements for a certain number of ratification was reached). The definition of genocide in this case = a very broad one, meaning every steps that you'll need to undermining or destroying a religious, or ethnic group. (Genocide in Rwanda in 1993, a tribal warfare) 1949- the 4 Geneva Conventions, those conventions deal with states in time of war ( what is interesting about them is that the UN bans all war aggressions, the only right that the UN defends is the right for the purpose of defence if someone attackes you and any other kind of wars is considered illegal under the UN Charter). They are administered in the International Commitee of the Red Cross (which has set up the first this kind of laws to protect soliders, civilians etc.. During time of war)+ a refugee (who is a person with founded fear of persecution due to one's race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion and has to flee a country because of those reasons is considered a refugee under the convention and the countries who has signed the convention on refugees can receive you and cannot send you back to the country that you are fleeing from as contrary to the convention and in 1951 when the convention came into force, there was once thousand refugees in the world, and by 1944, there was 45 000 000 refugees and it's got up even more since, even with respect to the civilian civial war, there was 2 millions syrians refugees mostly in lebanon, turkey, jordan, and then Irak and little lebanon has thebigger number, 7 thousands) The 1st Geneva convention deals with the wounded and sick in the battlefields (= how you treat the wounded and sick soldiers on the battlefields The 2nd Geneva Convention is on how you treat , ship captains, etc… etc on period of war (= you are supposed to help them, protect them, etc…) The 3rd Geneva Convention is with the respect of prisoners of war. The 4th Geneva Convention deals the treatment to civilians. It states that you cannot bomb hospitals, schools, orphanages, you cant do a whole range of activities etc… with respect to civilians in wars. 1979- Convention to eliminate discrimination against women, (opened for ratification) and came into force in 1981 (with 160 ratifications) because with the DHU there was right to equity between each person, there was no mention about gender equity in the work place, in politics, etc… and the convention to eliminate discrimitation against women goes into detail on all those things. And it also deals withviolence against women because for example in some trials taking place after the 2nd world war, example of the Tokyo trials , didn,t consider rape as war crime. But with the Cedar? Convention and the Geneva Conventions rape has become in 1949, with the Geneva Convention, considered a War Crime. So something that was missing was finally, properly included. 1993- Convention to eliminate violence against women. And other issues came up under the dealing of the violence against female raised the issues of female mutilation ( traditional practice in Africa for instence) but a lot of resistence makes it an ongoing issue and problem (because group repression mainly). The UN would not intervene directly on issues like that but they intervene by supporting (financially) groups, NGOs, … Convention against Human Torture and other forms of degrading and cruel punishement(passed by the UN in1994 and came into force in 1997) and what is interesting about the convention against torture is that if a country has ratified the the Convention against torture, (knowing that you can only persecute for a crime under your own territory), they have to state in their law that they can charge a canadian citizen who might be in the arm forces in that country( ex mexico, kenya…), a policeman in that country, or an official, if they commited torture against prisoners in Africa for example (while being on a peacekeeping mission, casques bleu or else) it will be up to the canadian governement to prosecute for torture eventhough the crime was not commited in Canada. Pinochet* was arrested by a spanish prosecutor in England and was brought into trial in England on the charges of the spanish prosecutor for torture against spanish men who had been in chile at the time= this convention is really what we name a universal jurisdiction (meaning it is not restricted to the jurisdicition of any one state) 1989- Convention on Child's Rights(18 and under) and it was one of the fastest to be put into effects in 1990. And it's the convention with the more ratifications of all the Human Rights Conventions with 195 ratifications. Under the Convenetion on the Rights of the Child, it was the most quickly , and the most thouroughly ratification and today, there are only two countries that have not ratified it: The United States (in the 1st commitee, it was submitted and there was a lot of support etc.. But when coming to the second commitee, they refused to ratify it , and there argument was that ''we don't have to handdle children in the United States'') and Yemen . And thre was 2 protocols as well for this convention (a protocol is an amendement or a add-on to a convention or a treaty) that are called ''optional protocol'' because there is no obligation to ratifiy the optional protocol. The 1st optional protocol=is against the use of Child Soldiers The 2nd optional protocol =has to do with the traficking and the sale of children for prostitution and pornography (came in in 2000) *The ILO Convention : deals again with the use of child's labor, questions of child labor are also mentioned in the convention of the Rights of the Child but the ILO has conventions on that as well, they have conventions on discrimination in the work place , on force labor, contemporary forms of slavery and a whole range of issues dealing with workers in the work place and human rights abuses. The interesting thing about the ILO, the ILO was set up in 1918, following WW1 and it was the only surviving organ on the League of Nations, and again , what not many know is that during the 2nd world war the ILO established its headquarters here at Mcgill University and if you go to the east side of the Arts Building, you will see a plaque on the wall which says that in 1939(or 1940) to 1945, the International Labor Organization had its heardquarters in Moyse Hall (in the Arts building). It's a Triparty organisation: it's made with 3 groups, the States who ratified it, the International Confederation of the Trade Unions, and Employers's group, so when they vote on issues on the ILO, the voting comes from 3 differents groups of equal representation, governements, unions (or worker representative and the employers), and its efficiency is in the fact that there are representions but no unionized workers, because the greatest number of workers today are ununionized, there a lot of abuse, lowest paid, usually people working in shops, retail, mcdo, walmarts, etc all these kind of people have no unions, but they have nobody representing them unless a government decides to represent them, but unlike the unions which represent unionized workers, the non-organized, ununionized workers have no say but the ILO. What has to be recognized as well is that there's been long and large bloody battles for Trade and Unions in the world, and some of the worst struggles within states have to deal with this issue of trade and union (US and Eu for ex), for collective bargaining, rights to strike, and so on… Another Convention related to workers and that is not under the ILO (a more recent one), which was voted by the UN in 1990 and coming into force in 2003, relates to migrant workers and this is also an extremely serious problem because many countries, the richer countries are using workers from poor parts of the world to do a lot of lower labor in their country whether it is harvesting vegetables and fruit, and they bring them in and they weren't covered by the labor law for the countries in question and what is sad when it comes to this conventions is that when the convention came into force, all the countries that ratified it are countries that provide migrant workers not one country that has taking in migrant workers has ratified that convention and it is a shameful situation (within them we can count France, the US, Canada, Germany, most european countries that use migrant workers have not yet ratified that convention) and of course the UN is trying through campains to persuade them to ratify this convention. Now with respect to minorities in countries, all we have so far is a Declaration and there's a declaration on the rights on persons belonging ot international ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities passed by the UN General assembly in 1992, but it's been impossible so far to get it confirmed into a convention, so all we have is really an aspirational declaration, and of course that particular instrument has a lot of meaning right now in Quebec because the debate that has been going on with respect to the Charter of Quebec values, and how it impacts especially on minorities, and the way they dress and so on and there freedom of expression and freedom of religion and so on, so that declaration is waiting to see how it developed and if somebody is going to be raising at the UN so that the UN Human Rights Council, if ever it gets passed in the law, it could be ratified, amended. But so far, with the Declaration, the Charter of Quebec values is in contradiction to the Declaration of the Right of personal belonging to national ethnic, religious, or linguistic minorities. We also have a Declaration on the rights of indigenous people again, it's still a Declaration, it's not a Treaty yet, and this one really touches Canada very closely, the United States, in the Americas generally, in Mexico, but this subject will be treated later on in this course. The Rights of Person with disabilities, and most countries have been favorable to that, but it is still on the form of DEVELOPMENT(meaning that development comes with the will to make everyone equal and not only a matter of loss and profit?) And was mentioned the rights of sexual orientation,and mostly western countries have recognized this right and the marriages between people of the same sex and so on, but when it comes to the UN, this subject has been voted down every time by mostly countries in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and even some parts in Latin America, were much opposed, so, so far, there's been very little movement, though it is brough up every year in the UN international counsil. With respect to development, more particularly, has been mentioned the Right to Developement (lecture will be spend on that) it was voted by the UN in 1986
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