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Lecture 57

CLASSICS 1M03 Lecture 57: Political Science 1AB3 2017 Lecture 10a human rights overhead

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McMaster University
Claude Eilers

Political Science 1AB3 2017 Lecture 10a Human rights - Questions: - 1. Is the United Nations (in its current form) capable of promoting and protecting human rights? - 2. What is the best way to protect human rights? Legal Principles of the United Nations - A number of legal principles are built into the United Nations Charter - According to the Preamble of the UN Charter, one of the primary purposes of the organization is to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” - But how? - Principle 1: State sovereignty and its corollary non-intervention - The U.N. Charter stringently restricts international aggression o Aggression by states acting alone: Article 2(4): “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations” o Interference by states acting together: Article 2(7): “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter…” - There is a proviso at the end of 2(7) which testifies to a second principle contained within the Charter - Principle 2 - Collective security - Finishing 2(7): “this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.” - Chapter VII outlines the role of the Security Council in responding to “threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression” o Article 39: “The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what 1 measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security” - Principle 3: Human rights - Article 1(3) of the Charter notes, among other goals, “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all” - The point is, the United Nations was designed to uphold a number of different values and principles - Balancing national autonomy with common purpose - The question is whether the principles work harmoniously together in practice What do these principles mean with respect to the authority of the UN to forcibly intervene in order to protect human rights? - The Charter clause authorizing the UN to use collective force is somewhat ambiguous about forcible humanitarian intervention: o “maintain or restore international peace and security” being the operative clause here - Nevertheless, protecting human rights is increasingly recognized as a legitimate ground for collective military intervention - Consider in this light the development of the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect - A principle adopted at the 2005 UN World Summit - In essence, if a state government is unwilling to protect its own population o The international community (via the UN) has a
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