c. Human Rights* .docx

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University of California - Berkeley
Political Science

Human Rights 1) The Problem of Sovereignty –shape context of actions o Sovereignty: the right to do whatever it wants within its borders/territory (domestic order) & undertaking action is legitimate & no authority above the state in the international order o State system- states can do nothing but disapprove other states o Post WWII: notion of sovereignty is weakened by human rights 2) The Trial at Nuremberg (int’l trial): became a precedent trial for international criminal tribunal trials for various crises including the Rwanda genocide; turning point for the notion of sovereignty a) History o Judges were represents of each Ally states o 3 charges (war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes against peace) new types of crimes emerged o Made an effort in being just o ―Germany didn’t violate international law‖ on both sides, winners and losers of WWII, people argued that Germany was only working on their state sovereignty o Finding a set of actions that no state is an exception to b) Crimes Against Humanity o Idea of human rights: protection of persons as persons on int’l level; as a person/human, one has certain rights o What’s important: punctures through the shield of sovereignty, states no longer have the right to do whatever they want within its border –limits exists! o There must be a more equivalent power, above the state, to command what it can or cannot do; What we and states think they are entitled to do (not materialistic, no enforcement) 3) Human Rights a. Basic Principles: o Individuality: human rights makes state-person relationships –any state to any person relationship –important; notion of personhood o Universality: human rights are applied to everyone, without exception (otherwise, would be based on particularity); the individual and also the individual’s relationship to everyone else becomes important b. Conundrums i. Where do they come from? Human dignity: as humans we have some common nature at base –what is it that makes us human? What makes us collectively human? What do we share with everyone in the state, world? Human Rights ii. Who has them? It matters who counts because otherwise, division of population is possible  can get away with crimes on certain groups of people iii. What are they? Conflicts between rights iv. Nuremberg revisited—a political puzzle o Cannot punish an act that was once permitted –not a crime at the time violates right to free trial o Some argued because of what they did, are not entitled to human rights (right to free trial)-but who decides? Political terrain is very murky 4) Contemporary Use o On one hand, sovereignty still trumps human rights o BUT human rights still have power to influence state actions, compel sovereignty – makes states do certain things & limit what people do At the end of the day, states can or cannot enforce them, although conditioned by ideas of what one should or shouldn’t do **Oscillating relationship between human rights and sovereignty a. Shades and scales of sovereignty breaching o Criticisms- but at the level of condemnation ―you don’t have the write to criticisms‖ add sanctions o Military intervention- when can we breach state sovereignty and use military action to make a state comply b. Humanitarian Intervention (next set of lectures) c. International Criminal Court i. History: Brought into being, and continues to work without support of US ii. Crimes o Genocide (not only overt genocide but strategic deployment, targeting a particular group) o Crimes against humanity – targets humanity as such, in the name of security o Aggression- waging a war for anything other than defense iii.Jurisdiction Complementary—only is invoked when the national court cannot or will not act Invoked when victims are a member of the ICC (*whether you sign in on the treaty) iv.Paths to the Court – Anyone a member of the ICC can bring charges; Security council- jurisdiction falls out when it gets involved in the ICC; To block prosecution is an incredibly high bar Human Rights WWII & Holocaust was a turning point in the history of HR: two pacts Nuremburg Trial: War and human rights, concept of war crime, crimes against humanity became precedent trials for International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia & Rwanda and other ad hoc trialsall become precedents for the ICC I. WWII and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) A. Why then? o UN: During WWII but not clearly envisioned; Dealt with issues that raised between states (not states and individuals); Originally settling disputes and avoiding aggression/disagreements between states o Big powers weren’t too enthusiastic about HR (Britain: colonies, US: segregation) but a number of things pushed human rights further up the agenda 1) Liberation of concentration camps: opened up space for human rights to be included in discussions [influenced specific articles in the Declaration of HR-- freedom to marriage that was in response to forbidden Aryan Jew marriage, right to legal possession] 2) US discourse/rhetoric of war- Roosevelt: ―War fought for freedom of speech, from want, from fear, from religion‖ –war had been fought not for territorial dispute but for principles 3) Interest in the developing world: already had movements for decolonization in Southeast Asia/ North Africa that influenced the discussion in the process B. Unique historical moment/ brief window of opportunity: 1) Cold War was underway but wasn’t so intense that agreement wasn’t impossible: o In deliberation over the UN, Stalin’s prosecutor eventually abstained rather than sabotage the vote (if the Cold War was fully underway, wouldn’t have been possible) o China’s chair was held by a Confusion scholar at the time 2) Stage of decolonization: o India and Pakistan were already independent, Dutch and French were beginning to quit their colonies—**context of liberating their colonies conceded that any context of human rights would be applied to colonies, o Most leaders of these new states were western, could speak the language of this mentality that could push idea of HR 3) West itself was united in a particularly progressive state of mind (Chileans and Brazilians were influenced by the socialism in their countries, etc.) BUT in a few years, progressive ideas became discouraged (Chinese communism, US policies were claimed to be foreign to US tradition, progressive ideas were put on the defensive in many states) Human Rights C. UDHR o Passed without a single dissenting vote in 1948 o Not a binding treaty but a very important declaration in that it influenced many later binding documents, even domestic constitutions (Germany and Japan’s rewritten constitutions after WWII borrowed much language directly from the UDHR) & influenced much law and constitutions in new decolonized states o Became the basis for many treaties (binding) & regional institutions D.Things were focused on different things (ideas that had to enter the political mind) Individuals, universality, sovereignty o Individuals: IR originally dealt with states (what states did with individuals was a clearly domestic concern) individual and nature of humanity, what rights are we worthy of as a human being o Universality: ALL individuals were important everywhere o Sovereignty: ideas had to either shift/coexist with other ideas sometimes uncomfortably o Sovereignty: States were separate and autonomous, what it did was its own business, didn’t have to answer to a higher authority; principle of sovereignty leans on the principle of non-interference –other states should not interfere in one’s domestic affairs, the biggest breach being territorial intervention o BUT idea of human rights flies in the face of this as a violation of non- interference (even legitimate criticism of national governments)  Sovereignty is not absolute; lead to either criticism or even intervention Language use is interesting: Sovereignty & individual rights uncomfortably coexist b/c not explicitly said that sovereignty is partial but implied. II. Post WWII Era- What shifts during the 60’s? o NGOs didn’t let human rights fall off the agenda until 1960’s when we begin to see a growth of NGOs o Decolonization- UN membership almost doubled because decolonized states joined – African and Asian countries created the largest voting block o UDHR wasn’t binding b/c states couldn’t agree; needed to be split for it to be binding International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (right to life, privacy security, property, mar
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