Category: <span>UN: Growth of World Law.</span>

Benjamin Ferencz Portraits of World Citizens.

Benjamin Ferencz, Champion of World Law, Leave a Strong…

Featured Image: Prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz at the Einsatzgruppen Trial in Nuremberg. Ferencz was a civilian employee with the OCCWC, thus the picture showing him in civilian clothes. The Einsatzgruppen Trial (or „United States vs. Otto Ohlendorf et al“) lasted from September 1947 unitl April 1948. By US Army photographer on behalf of the OCCWC/IMT, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Benjamin Ferencz, champion of World Law and World Citizen, died on 7 April 2023 at the age of 103, leaving a strong heritage of action for world law.  He was particularly active in the creation of the International Criminal Court located in the Hague. 

He was born in March 1920 in what is now Romania, close to the frontiers of Hungery and Ukraine.  In the troubled period after the end of the First World War, the parents of Ferencz who were Jewish decided to emmigrate to New York with the help of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.  They settled in New York City, and Ferencz changed his Yiddish name Berrel to Benjamin and studied in the New York school system. He did his undergraduate work at City College and then received a scholarship to Harvard Law School, a leading U.S. law school.

The Judge-Advocate General Corps.

    At the end of his law studies at Harvard, he was taken into the U.S. Army and in 1944, he was in Europe with the Army legal section, the Judge-Advocate General Corps.  By conviction and interest, he began to collect information on the Nazi concentration camps.  He was able to find photos, letters, and other material that he later was able to use as one of the prosecution team in the Nuremberg trials of Germans accused of war crimes.  He was also a staff member of the Joint Restitution Successor Organization concerned with the restoration or compensation of goods having belonged to Jewish families.  Thus, he developed close cooperation with the then recently created state of Israel.

Much of his effort was directed to the creation of the International Criminal Court.

    From his experiences with the German trials and the many difficulties that the trials posed to be more than the justice of the victors and also the need not to antagonize the recently created Federal Republic of Germany, Ferencz became a strong advocate of an international legal system such as the Tribunals on Ex-Yugoslavia of 1993 and that of Rwanda (1994).  Much of his effort was directed to the creation of the International Criminal Court, a creation that ows much to efforts of non-governmental organizations, such as the Association of World Citizens.  It was during this effort for the creation of the International Criminal Court that we came into contact.

    Benjamin Ferencz leaves a heritage on which we can build.  The development of world law is often slow and meets opposition.  However, the need is great, and strong efforts at both national and international levels continue.

   Benjamin Ferencz – Chief Prosecutor in 1947 Einsatzgruppen Trial – In Courtroom 600 Where Nuremberg Trials Were Held – Palace of Justice – Nuremberg-Nurnberg – Germany (2012). Adam Jones, Ph.D., CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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League of Nations Rapprochement of Cultures.

La Société des Nations et son armée de la…

Image en vedette : Stanley Bruce présidant le Conseil de la Société des Nations en 1936. Joachim von Ribbentrop s’adresse au conseil. Par Commonwealth d’Australie, domaine public, via Wikimedia Commons

Par René Wadlow.

Le 28 avril 1919 peut être considéré comme la naissance de la Société des Nations. La création de la Ligue avait été à l’ordre du jour de la conférence de la paix à Versailles, aux portes de Paris, dès son lancement en janvier 1919.

Le président américain Woodrow Wilson était le champion en chef de la Ligue. La création d’une telle organisation a été discutée dès le début en janvier, ainsi que des discussions sur l’emplacement du siège de la Ligue. Le 28 avril, la création d’une Société des Nations est décidée à l’unanimité et, dans le même temps, Genève est choisie pour son siège.

Woodrow Wilson, président des États-Unis d’Amérique. Par Harris & Ewing, domaine public, via Wikimedia Commons.

La première décennie de la vie de la Ligue.

Certains des échecs ultérieurs de la Ligue étaient visibles dès le début. L’Allemagne vaincue et l’URSS révolutionnaire n’ont pas été invitées à se joindre, et le Sénat américain a refusé l’invitation. Néanmoins, la première décennie de la vie de la Ligue a vu beaucoup de coopération internationale, en particulier dans les domaines des conditions de travail, de la santé, de la protection sociale, de la coopération intellectuelle et de l’agriculture – tous domaines qui seront ensuite poursuivis et développés au sein du système onusien.

La première décennie a vu le règlement d’un certain nombre de conflits qui auraient pu conduire à la guerre. Il y avait un sentiment largement répandu qu’une nouvelle ère dans les relations internationales était née. Cependant, les années 1930 ont commencé avec les conflits qui ont conduit à la fin de la Ligue.

Incident de Moukden.

Le 18 septembre 1931, le Japon accusa la Chine d’avoir fait sauter une ligne de chemin de fer de Mandchourie sur laquelle le Japon avait des droits issus de traités. Cet ” incident de Mukden “, comme on l’appela, fut suivi de la prise par les Japonais de la ville de Mukden et de l’invasion de la Mandchourie. L’occupation militaire de la région a suivi et, le 18 février 1932, le Japon a établi l’État fantoche de Mandchoukine.

De nouvelles hostilités entre le Japon et la Chine étaient une possibilité réelle. La Ligue a tenté de servir de médiateur dans le conflit sous la direction de Salvador De Madariaga, l’ambassadeur de l’Espagne républicaine auprès de la Ligue. En pratique, aucun des gouvernements occidentaux n’a voulu s’impliquer dans les conflits asiatiques, surtout pas à une époque où ils faisaient face à une dépression économique.

L’écrivain espagnol Salvador de Madariaga et le ministre des Affaires étrangères de l’Argentine José María Cantilo se sont entretenus lors d’une session de la Société des Nations (1936). Par Auteur inconnuAuteur inconnu, domaine public, via Wikimedia Commons.

Salvador De Madariaga: Conscience of the League of Nations.

Coopération avec les organisations non gouvernementales.

La coopération des organisations non gouvernementales avec la Société des Nations n’était pas aussi structurée qu’elle le serait par la Charte des Nations Unies. Il y avait quelques groupes pacifistes à Genève qui interagissaient de manière informelle avec les délégations de la Ligue – la Ligue internationale des femmes pour la paix et la liberté, le Bureau international de la paix et les Quakers britanniques étaient actifs mais n’étaient pas en mesure de parler directement lors des réunions de la Ligue. Ils ne pouvaient qu’adresser des appels écrits au secrétariat de la Ligue et contacter de manière informelle certaines délégations.

En réaction aux tensions Japon-Chine, le Dr Maude Revden, une ancienne suffragette, l’une des premières femmes pasteurs d’Angleterre, influencée par le Mahatma Gandhi qu’elle avait visité en Inde, proposa des “troupes de choc de la paix” qui se porteraient volontaires pour se placer entre les Japonais et combattants chinois. La proposition d’interposition d’un corps non armé de civils des deux sexes entre les armées adverses a été proposée au Secrétaire général de la Société des Nations, Sir Eric Drummond.

Drummond répondit qu’il n’était pas dans son pouvoir constitutionnel de présenter la proposition à l’Assemblée de la Ligue. Seul le gouvernement pouvait soumettre des points à l’ordre du jour à l’Assemblée. Néanmoins, il a diffusé la lettre aux nombreux journalistes alors à Genève alors que l’Assemblée était en session. La lettre a été largement relayée.

Une troupe de choc non armée de la Ligue ne s’est jamais développée, et la Chine et une grande partie de l’Asie sont devenues le théâtre d’une guerre menée par les Japonais.

Sir Eric Drummond vers 1918. Par Bain, domaine public, via Wikimedia Commons.

Les Nations Unies par des citoyens du monde.

L’idée d’une force d’interposition non armée a de nouveau été présentée cette fois aux Nations Unies par des citoyens du monde peu après la création de l’ONU lors de la création de l’État d’Israël en 1947-48 et du conflit armé qui en a résulté. La proposition a été présentée par Henry Usborn  un député britannique, actif dans le mouvement mondial fédéraliste et citoyen du monde. Usborn a été influencé par le concept de satyagraha (une force de l’âme) du Mahatma Gandhi et a proposé qu’un corps de volontaires de quelque 10 000 personnes non armées détienne une zone démilitarisée de deux kilomètres de large entre Israël et ses voisins arabes.

Un peu plus tard, en 1960, Salvador De Madariaga, qui avait cessé d’être ambassadeur d’Espagne auprès de la Ligue à l’arrivée au pouvoir du général Franco, créa en 1938 l’Association des citoyens du monde depuis son exil en Angleterre.

Le socialiste indien de Gandhi.

Il a élaboré une proposition avec le chef du Parti socialiste indien de Gandhi, Jayapeakash Narayan, pour des gardes de la paix de l’ONU, une force de paix internationale non armée qui serait une alternative aux forces armées de l’ONU. (1) De Maderiaga  et Narayan ont soutenu qu’un corps de gardes de la paix réguliers intervenant sans aucune arme, entre deux forces au combat ou sur le point de se battre  pourrait avoir un effet considérable. Les Peace Guards seraient autorisés par les États membres de l’ONU à intervenir dans tout conflit de toute nature à la demande de l’une des parties ou du Secrétaire général.

Jayaprakash Narayan lors de sa visite en Allemagne, 1959. Par Ullstein bild, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Dag Hammarskjold, qui avait suffisamment de problèmes avec les troupes armées de l’ONU dans l’ancien Congo belge et comprenait la realpolitik de l’ONU, n’a pas donné suite à la proposition. Ainsi, pour le moment, il n’y a que des troupes onusiennes armées tirées des armées nationales et ne pouvant agir que sur une résolution du Conseil de sécurité.

Photographie de Dag Hammarskjöld (1953). Par Caj Bremer, domaine public, via Wikimedia Commons.

You might interesting to read: Dag Hammarskjold. Crisis Manager and Longer-Range World Community Builder .

Note.

Un bon portrait de Jayaprakash Narayan, citoyen du monde, est dressé dans Bimal Prasad. Gandhi, Nehru et JP Studies in Leadership (Delhi, Chamakya Publications, 1985)

Narayan était également l’un des dirigeants indiens rencontrés par les dirigeants fédéralistes du monde étudiant lors de leur séjour de 1949 en Inde. Voir Clare et Harris Wofford, Jr.
India Afire (New York : John Day Company, 1951).

René Wadlow, président, Association des citoyens du monde.

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Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) UN: Growth of World Law.

Non-governmental Organizations in the United Nation: The Voices of…

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) written just after the end of the destructive Second World War states that:

“since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.” 

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in consultative status with the United Nations, such as the Association of World Citizens, have played an important role in changing attitudes both among the representatives of governments and among the wider public.  NGOs have stressed the need for real cooperation in meeting the many challenges facing humanity, challenges which require new and innovative strategies.

         It is abundantly clear that many challenges facing humanity require new and innovative strategies.  The United Nations has a unique role to play in responding to these challenges. The United Nations is the only truly universal organizations with a mandate that covers virtually all areas of human endeavour.  In an interdependent world, problems cannot be solved without a sense of commitment to the good of the whole.

The UN System

         There is a need for further empowerment of the UN system for
conflict prevention as well as promoting the values of a culture of peace.  Yet it is also clear that the UN cannot
fulfil alone its weighty responsibility set out in the Charter.  The United Nations needs to reach out to a
wider circle of talents for 
insights,  and compassion to make
this world a place of dignity and joy.

         Thus, increasingly the energy and talent of members of non-governmental organizations are linked directly to UN efforts both as a source of ideas and as a powerful multiplier of actions to develop policies and structures of peace and non-violence.

Image Photo by Shinobu in Pexels.

The United Nations: The Reflection of the World Society.

The Association of World Citizens

         The representatives of the Association of World Citizens are turned toward the future.  As Frederico Mayor, former Director General of UNESCO has said:

One great task is to be the look-outs for the future, since in this way we shall be able to anticipate and prevent.  Prevention is the greatest victory since it is what avoids suffering and avoids confrontation.

         The future belongs to those who give the next generation reasons to hope.  A vision of the future precedes the creation of a new reality.  If we cannot envision the world we would like to live in, we cannot work towards its creation.  We need a vision of the future as a time of great healing and social transformation.  With a vision of the future, we can see better how each of us can contribute to this wider transformation. The real future is the future which is built by the inspiration of a vision.  A vision creates hope, enthusiasm and conscious actions to actualize the vision.  Thus we need to keep an open mind, to seek truth and to inform ourselves of the points of view of others.

         The actions of the Association of World Citizens are directed toward a future of freedom, dignity, and world unity. Your cooperation in these great challenges are most welcome.

Federico Mayor Zaragoza as speaker in the summer course of the International University of Andalusia 2007 “Interculturality, interreligious dialogue and communication”. By Universidad Internacional de Andalucía, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

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Genocide Convention UN: Growth of World Law.

Genocide Convention: 9 December 1948.

Featured Image: Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

By Dr. Rene Wadlow.

Genocide Convention: 9 December 1948.
An Unused but not Forgotten Standard of World Law.

Genocide is the most extreme consequence of racial discrimination and ethnic hatred. Genocide has as its aim the destruction, wholly or in part, of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such. The term was proposed by the legal scholar Raphael Lemkin, drawing on the Greek genos (people or tribe) and the Latin cide (to kill).(1) The policies and war crimes of the Nazi German government were foremost on the minds of those who drafted the Genocide Convention, but the policy was not limited to the Nazi. (2)

The Genocide Convention is a landmark in the efforts to develop a system of universally accepted standards which promote an equitable world order for all members of the human family to live in dignity. Four articles are at the heart of this Convention and are here quoted in full to understand the process of implementation proposed by the Association of World Citizens, especially of the need for an improved early warning system.

Article I

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  • (a) Killing members of the group;
  • (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  • (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  • (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Unlike most humanitarian international law which sets out standards but does not establish punishment, Article III sets out that the following acts shall be punishable:

  • (a) Genocide;
  • (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
  • (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
  • (d) Attempt to commit genocide;
  • (e) Complicity in genocide.

Article IV

Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.

Article VIII

Any Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III.

Numerous reports have reached the Secretariat of the United Nations of actual, or potential, situations of genocide: mass killings; cases of slavery and slavery-like practices, in many instances with a strong racial, ethnic and religious connotation – with children as the main victims, in the sense of article II (b) and (c). Despite factual evidence of these genocides and mass killings as in Sudan, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and in other places, no Contracting Party to the Genocide Convention has called for any action under article VIII of the Convention.

As Mr Nicodene Ruhashyankiko of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities wrote in his study of proposed mechanisms for the study of information on genocide and genocidal practices “A number of allegations of genocide have been made since the adoption of the 1948 Convention. In the absence of a prompt investigation of these allegations by an impartial body, it has not been possible to determine whether they were well-founded. Either they have given rise to sterile controversy or, because of the political circumstances, nothing further has been heard about them.”

Yet the need for speedy preventive measures has been repeatedly underlined by United Nations Officials. On 8 December 1998, in his address at UNESCO, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said:

“Many thought, no doubt, that the horrors of the Second World War – the camps, the cruelty, the exterminations, the Holocaust – could not happen again. And yet they have, in Cambodia, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, In Rwanda. Our time – this decade even – has shown us that man’s capacity for evil knows no limits. Genocide – the destruction of an entire people on the basis of ethnic or national origins – is now a word of our time, too, a stark and haunting reminder of why our vigilance must be eternal.”

Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan spoke with the media at the United Nations Office at Geneva following the June 30, 2012 Meeting of the Action Group for Syria. By US Mission in Geneva, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

In her address Translating words into action to the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1998, the then High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs Mary Robinson, declared :

” The international community’s record in responding to, let alone preventing, gross human rights abuses does not give grounds for encouragement. Genocide is the most flagrant abuse of human rights imaginable. Genocide was vivid in the minds of those who framed the Universal Declaration, working as they did in the aftermath of the Second World War. The slogan then was ‘never again’. Yet genocide and mass killing have happened again – and have happened before the eyes of us all – in Rwanda, Cambodia, the former Yugoslavia and other parts of the globe.”

We need to heed the early warning signs of genocide. Officially-directed massacres of civilians of whatever numbers cannot be tolerated, for the organizers of genocide must not believe that more widespread killing will be ignored. Yet killing is not the only warning sign. The Convention drafters, recalling the radio addresses of Hitler and the constant flow of words and images, set out as punishable acts “direct and public incitement to commit genocide”.

Mary Robinson (2014). By Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 mei, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Genocide Convention

The Genocide Convention, in its provisions concerning public incitement, sets the limits of political discourse. It is well documented that public incitement – whether by Governments or certain non-governmental actors, including political movements – to discriminate against, to separate forcibly, to deport or physically eliminate large categories of the population of a given State, or the population of a State in its entirety, just because they belong to certain racial, ethnic or religious groups, sooner or later leads to war. It is also evident that, at the present time, in a globalized world, even local conflicts have a direct impact on international peace and security in general.

Therefore, the Genocide Convention is also a constant reminder of the need to moderate political discourse, especially constant and repeated accusations against a religious, ethnic and social category of persons. Had this been done in Rwanda, with regard to the radio Mille Collines, perhaps that premeditated and announced genocide could have been avoided or mitigated.

For the United Nations to be effective in the prevention of genocide, there needs to be an authoritative body which can investigate and monitor a situation well in advance of the outbreak of violence. As has been noted, any Party to the Genocide Convention (and most States are Parties) can bring evidence to the UN Security Council, but none has. In the light of repeated failures and due to pressure from non-governmental organizations, the Secretary-General has named an individual advisor on genocide to the UN Secretariat. However, he is one advisor among many, and there is no public access to the information that he may receive.

Direct and public incitement to commit genocide.

Therefore, a relevant existing body must be strengthened to be able to deal with the first signs of tensions, especially ‘direct and public incitement to commit genocide.” The Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) created to monitor the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination would be the appropriate body to strengthen, especially by increasing its resources and the number of UN Secretariat members which service the CERD. Through its urgent procedures mechanisms, CERD has the possibility of taking early-warning measures aimed at preventing existing strife from escalating into conflicts, and to respond to problems requiring immediate attention. A stronger CERD more able to investigate fully situations should mark the world’s commitment to the high standards of world law set out in the Genocide Convention.

Notes

1) Raphael Lemkin. Axis Rule in Occupied Europe (Washington: Carnegie Endowment for World Peace, 1944).
2) For a good overview see: Samantha Power. A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (New York: Basic Books, 2002)
3) E/CN.4/Sub.2/1778/416 Para 614

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The United Nations Peacekeepers UN: Growth of World Law.

The United Nations Peacekeeping Forces, Weak but Necessary.

Featured Picture: MONUSCO Photos, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

I am confident that if we work together and champion truly bold reforms,
the United Nations will emerge as a stronger, more effective, more just
and greater force for peace and harmony in the world.

US President Donald Trump, 18 September 20017.

29 May; is the International Day of The United Nations Peacekeeping Forces. The day was chosen; in memory of the creation of the first UN interposition force in the Middle East. In the years since; 3,800 have lost their lives. Today there are 14 operations. The most difficult are in Africa; where there has been large scale breakdown of State structures; such as the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The deployment of U.N. peace-keeping forces; is only one aspect of conflict resolution and peace building.  However;  The United Nations Peacekeeping Forces are the most visible; (and expensive) aspect of the U.N. peace-building efforts. Thus; our attention must be justly given to the role; the financing; and the practice of The United Nations Peacekeeping Forces.

U.N. Peace operations.

How effective are U.N. peacekeeping operations in preventing and stopping violence?; Are there alternatives to the ways that U.N. and regional organizations; currently carry out peacekeeping operations?; How effective are peacekeeping operations in addressing the root causes of conflicts?; How does one measure the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations?.  We must ask questions of their effectiveness; and if these military personnel should  not be complemented by other forms of peace-building.

There have been  reports of U.N. Peace operations; in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and in South Sudan; which  highlight the systematic rape of women in the area; and the inability or unwillingness of U.N. Troops to stop the rapes; which have become standard practice; in the areas  on the part of both members of the armed insurgencies; as well as by members of the regular army.  There are also other examples when “failure” is the key word in such evaluations of U.N. Forces.

Democratic Republic of Congo

BANAIR-13 UN Medal Awarding Parade at Bunia. Province Orientale. Republique democratique du Congo. Mambasa, Democratic Republic Congo (2016).By Sqn.Ldr.Zaman & Faisal, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Creation of a Permanent UN Standby Force.

The first reality is that there is no permanent U.N. trained and motivated troops.  There are only national units loaned by some national governments; but paid for by all U.N. Member States. Each government trains its army in its own spirit and values; though there is still an original English ethos as many U.N. troops come from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Nigeria.  Now China is starting to provide troops with a non-English tradition.

There have been proposals by some governments and non-governmental representatives; such as the Association of World Citizens for the creation of a permanent UN standby force.  This has been rejected; usually on grounds of cost ( although it would be only a fraction of what is now spent on national armies.)  There has also been an alternative proposal of creating within  national armies; specially-trained forces for UN use.  In light of the fact that the great majority of UN troops come from south Asia; speak English and were originally formed in an English tradition; the creation of such units ready for quick use is a real possibility.

Blue Helmet.

Moreover; there is no such thing as consistency and predictability in U.N. actions o preserve order.  The world is too complex; and the UN Security Council  resolutions; are voted on the basis of national interest; and political power considerations. U.N. “blue helmet” operations; have grown both in numbers and complexity.  Even with the best planning; the situation in which one deploys troops will always be fluid; and the assumption on which the planning was based may change.

To be successful; U.N. Peacekeeping operations need to have clear objectives; but such objectives cannot be set by the force commanders themselves.  Peacekeeping forces are temporary measures that should give time for political leaders to work out a political agreement.  The parties in conflict need to have a sense of urgency about resolving the conflict.  Without that sense of urgency; peacekeeping operations can become eternal as they have in Cyprus and Lebanon.

The International Day of U.N. Peacekeepers.

U.N. Forces are one important element in a peacemakers tool kit; but there needs to be a wide range of peace building techniques available.  There must be concerted efforts by both diplomatic representatives; and non-governmental organizations to resolve the conflicts; where U.N. troops serve. Policemen, civilian political officers, human rights monitors, refugee and humanitarian aid workers; and  specialists   in anthropology all play important roles along with the military.  Yet non-military personnel are difficult to recruit.

In addition; it is difficult to control the impact of humanitarian aid; and action as it ipples through a local society and economy; because powerful factors in the conflict environment; such as the presence of armed militias; acute political and ethnic polarization; the struggle over resources in a war economy will have unintended consequences.

As we honor the International Day of The United Nations Peacekeeping Forces; we need to put more effort on the prevention of armed conflicts; on improving techniques of mediation; and  creating groups which cross the divides of class, religion, and ethnicity.

Rene Wadlow; President; Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Rape as a Weapon Appeals

A Step Forward in the U.N.’s Efforts Against Rape…

Featured Image: Photo by Stewart Munro on Unsplash.

On Tuesday, 23 April 2019; the United Nations Security Council voted for resolution N° 2467; concerning the use of rape as a weapon in times of armed conflict.  This resolution builds on an earlier resolution of 24 June 2013; which called for the complete and immediate cessation of all acts of sexual violation by all parties in armed conflicts. The new resolution introduced by Germany contained two new elements; both of which were eliminated in the intense negotiations in the four days prior to the vote of 13 in favor and two abstentions, those of Russia and China.

The first new element in the German proposed text concerned help to the victims of rape.  The proposed paragraph was:

“urges United Nations entities and donors to provide non-discriminatory and comprehensive health services including sexual and reproductive health, psychosocial, legal and livelihood support and other multi-sectoral services for survivors of sexual violence, taking into account the special needs of persons with disabilities.”

Sexual and Reproductive Health.

The U.S. delegation objected to this paragraph claiming that “sexual and reproductive health” were code words that opened a door to abortion.  Since a U.S. veto would prevent the resolution as a whole; the paragraph was eliminated.  

There had been four days of intense discussions among the Security Council members concerning this paragraph; with only the U.S. opposed to any form of planned parenthood action. After the resolution was passed with the health paragraph eliminated, the Permanent Representative of France; Ambassador Francois Delatte spoke for many of the members saying:

“It is intolerable and incomprehensible that the Security Council is incapable of acknowledging that women and girls who suffered from sexual violence in conflict and who obviously didn’t choose to become pregnant should have the right to terminate their pregnancy.

Sexual violence in conflict situations.

The second concept of the German draft that was eliminated; was the proposal to create a working group to monitor, and review progress on ending sexual violence in armed conflict.  Such a working group was opposed by the diplomats of Russia and China; both of which have the veto power.  Thus, for the same reason as with the U.S. opposition; the idea of a monitoring working group was dropped. Both China and Russia are opposed to any form of U.N. monitoring; fearing that their actions on one topic or another would be noted by a monitoring group.  The Russian diplomat had to add that he was against the added administrative burden that a monitoring group would present; but that Russia was against sexual violence in conflict situations.

The Association of World Citizens.

Thus, the new U.N. Security Council resolution 2467 is weaker than it should have been; but is nevertheless a step forward in building awareness.  The Association of World Citizens first raised the issue in the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in March 2001 citing the judgment of the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia; which maintained that there can be no time limitations on bringing an accused to trial.  The Tribunal also reinforced the possibility of universal jurisdiction that a person can be tried not only by his national court but by any court claiming universal jurisdiction and where the accused is present.

The Association of World Citizens again stressed the use of rape as a weapon of war; in the Special Session of the Commission on Human Rights Violations; in the Democratic Republic of Congo; citing the findings of Meredeth Turshen and Clotilde Twagiramariya in their book What Women Do in Wartime: Gender and Conflict in Africa. (London: Zed Press, 1998).

Rape is …

They write “There are numerous types of rape.  Rape is committed to boast the soldiers’ morale, to feed soldiers’ hatred of the enemy, their sense of superiority, and to keep them fighting:

Rape is one kind of war booty women are raped because war intensifies men’s sense of entitlement, superiority, avidity, and social license to rape:

Rape is a weapon of war used to spread political terror; rape can destabilize society and break its resistance; rape is a form of torture; gang rapes in public terrorize and silence women because they keep the civilian population functioning and are essential to its social and physical continuity rape is used in ethnic cleansing; it is designed to drive women from their homes or destroy their possibility of reproduction within or “for” their community; genocidal rape treats women as “reproductive vessels”; to make them bear babies of the rapists’ nationality, ethnicity, race or religion, and genocidal rape aggravates women’s terror and future stigma, producing a class of outcast mothers and children – this is rape committed with the consciousness of how unacceptable a raped woman is to the patriarchal community and to herself. 

This list combines individual and group motives with obedience to military command; in doing so, it gives a political context to violence against women, and it is this political context that needs to be incorporated in the social response to rape.”

The Security Council resolution.

The Security Council resolution opens the door to civil society organizations to build on the concepts eliminated from the governmental resolution itself.  Non-governmental organizations must play an ever-more active role in providing services to rape victims with medical, psychological, and socio-cultural services.  In addition; if the U.N. is unable to create a monitoring and review of information working group; then such a monitoring group will have to be the task of cooperative efforts among NGOs.  It is always to be hoped that governments acting together would provide the institutions necessary to promote human dignity.  But with the failure of governments to act; our task as non-governmental representatives is set out for us.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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Louis B. Sohn Rapprochement of Cultures.

Louis B. Sohn, A World Citizen Pioneer for World…

Featured Image: Professor Louis B. Sohn in his office at Harvard University Law School, as it appears in the book Harvard Law School 1965. By Murray Tarr, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

By Dr. Rene Wadlow.

Professor Louis B. Sohn was a great international legal scholar whose teachings continue to contribute to the development of world law. Louis B. Sohn whose birth anniversary we note on 1 March was born in Lwów, Poland (now Lviv, Ukraine) in 1914. Lwów was a strategic point in east-west trade, industry, and history. Possession of the city had shifted from Poland to Austria in 1772, to Poland in 1919, to the U.S.S.R. just after Sohn escaped in 1939, to Poland again after 1945, and finally since 1991 to Ukraine.

Young Sohn received diplomacy and law degrees from John Casimir University in 1935. He continued research in the library, but as a Jew, his movements were restricted. Later, both his parents, Isaak and Fredericka, who were medical doctors, perished in the Holocaust. A Harvard professor saw one of Sohn’s papers and invited him to study in America. Sohn caught the last boat out of Poland two weeks before the Nazi invasion. These formative experiences contributed to his hatred of war and racism and to his determination to extend the rule of law from within States to relations among States.

 The University was founded on January 20, 1661, when the King John II Casimir of Poland issued the diploma-granting the city’s Jesuit Collegium, founded in 1608, “the honor of the Academy and the title of the University”. By MARELBU, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Sociological Jurisprudence.

At Harvard, Sohn learned that the professor who had invited him died. But the dean helped the young, multilingual Pole, found him a room and a job in the cafeteria. Soon Sohn began to work with Prof. Manley O. Hudson, a former American judge on the World Court, even though the U.S.A. was not officially a member. Harvard Law was then much under the influence of former dean Roscoe Pound, whose “sociological jurisprudence” emphasized adapting the law to new social circumstances. Sohn applied this doctrine to the customary and treaty law among States in the current age.

Description: Meeting the Permanent Court of International Justice. Last session before the abolition led by President Guerrero. fltr. Hudson (USA), Jhr W. van Eysinga (Holland) Sir Cecil Hurst (England), Erich (Finland), Guerrero (El Salvador, president), Negulesco (Romania, ), Cheng (China), De Visscher (Belgium), Olivan (Spain) Members of the International Court of Justice. Standing the three secretaries. By Meijer, […] / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Sohn earned his LL.M master’s degree at Harvard in 1940. He accompanied Judge Hudson to the San Francisco conference on the United Nations Organization, where they worked on the Statute of the International Court of Justice, which is part of the U.N. Charter.  Sohn began teaching at Harvard Law School in 1947, publishing case books first on “World Law” (1950) and then on “United Nations Law” (1956). He won his S.J.D. doctorate in law and succeeded Hudson as Bemis Professor of International Law in 1961. He taught there for twenty years.  He then accepted an offer from former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk to teach at the University of Georgia Law School, where Sohn became a Woodruff professor.

Dean Rusk, Secretary of State of the United States 1961–1969. By U.S. Department of State, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Sea Convention.

 Sohn was a close consultant to the negotiations for the Third Law of the Sea Convention, which was signed in 1982, and he proposed its elaborate provisions for binding arbitration of complex maritime disputes. It was during the decade-long negotiations on the Law of the Sea that I worked with Sohn as I was an NGO observer for the World Citizens, and he was an official member of the U.S. delegation.

Photo by Alice Mourou on Unsplash.

We recommend you read: Our Common Oceans and Seas.

Today, with the conflicting claims over the South China Sea as well as other delimitation conflicts as well as fisheries, pollution, and deep-sea mining issues, I appreciate the vision of Sohn on creating an institution for arbitration for the Law of the Sea.

“An authoritative and generally binding methods of establishing procedures are needed, and only an international body with sufficient trust might be able to do it”. He explained.

Sohn was troubled by the guarded avoidance of international law by national policymakers toward the end of the violent 20th century. He died in 2006 near Washington, D.C., at age 92. Our continuing efforts to develop world law for a fast-changing world society owe much to the knowledge and vision of Louis Sohn.

The USS John S. McCain conducts a routine patrol in the South China Sea, Jan. 22, 2017. The guided-missile destroyer is supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Navy photo by Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James Vazquez. By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James Vazquez, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

We recommend you read: Saber Rattling in the South China Sea.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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League of Nations Rapprochement of Cultures.

The League of Nations and its unused Peace Army.

Featured Image: Stanley Bruce chairing the League of Nations Council in 1936. Joachim von Ribbentrop is addressing the council. By Commonwealth of Australia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By Rene Wadlow.

28 April 1919 can be considered as the birth of the League of Nations.  The creation of the League had been on the agenda of the Peace Conference at Versailles, just outside of Paris, from its start in January 1919.  

The U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was the chief champion of the League.  The creation of such an organization was discussed from the start in January, along with discussions as to where the headquarters of the League would be set.  On 28 April, there was a unanimous decision to create a League of Nations and at the same time Geneva was chosen for its headquarters.

Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America. By Harris & Ewing, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The First decade of the League’s life.

Some of the later failings of the League were visible from the start.  Defeated Germany and revolutionary USSR were not invited to join, and the U.S. Senate turned down the invitation.  Nevertheless, the first decade of the League’s life saw a good deal in international cooperation, especially in the fields of labor conditions, health, social welfare, intellectual cooperation, and agriculture – all areas that would later be continued and developed within the U.N. system.

The first decade saw the settlement of a number of conflicts that could have led to war.  There was a wide-spread feeling that a new era in international relations had been born. However, the 1930s began with the conflicts which led to the end of the League.

Mukden Incident.

On 18 September 1931 Japan accused China of blowing up a Manchurian railway line over which Japan had treaty rights.  This “Mukden Incident” as it became known was followed by the Japanese seizure of the city of Mukden and the invasion of Manchuria.  Military occupation of the region followed, and on 18 February 1932 Japan established the puppet state of Manchukin.

Further hostilities between Japan and China were a real possibility.  The League tried to mediate the conflict under the leadership of Salvador De Madariaga, the Ambassador of Republican Spain to the League.  In practice, none of the Western governments wanted to get involved in Asian conflicts, especially not at a time when they were facing an economic depression.

The Spanish writer Salvador de Madariaga and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina José María Cantilo talked during a session of the League of Nations (1936). By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Non-govermental organization cooperation.

Non-govermental organization cooperation with the League of Nations was not as structured as it would be by the U.N. Charter.  There were a few peace groups in Geneva which did  interact informally with the League delegations – the Women’s International League for Peace and Fredom, the International Peace Bureau, and the British Quakers were active but were unable to speak directly in League meetings.  They could only send written appeals to the League secretariat and contact informally certain delegations.

In reaction to the Japan-China tensions, Dr Maude Revden, a former suffragist, one of England’s first women pastors, influenced by Mahatma Gandhi whom she had visited in India proposed “shock troops of peace” who would volunteer to place themselves between the Japanese and Chinese combatants.  The proposal for the interposition of an unarmed body of civilians of both sexes between the opposing armies was proposed to the Secretary General of the League of Nations, Sir Eric Drummond.  

Drummond replied that it was not in his constitutional power to bring the proposal before the League’s Assembly.  Only government could bring agenda items to the Assembly.  Nevertheless, he released the letter to the many journalists then in Geneva as the Assembly was in session. The letter was widely reported.

An unarmed shock troop of the  League never developed, and China and much of Asia became the scene of a Japanese-led war.

Sir Eric Drummond circa 1918. By Bain, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The United Nations by World Citizens.

The idea of an unarmed interposition force was again presented this time to the United Nations by world citizens shortly after the U.N.’s creation at the time of the 1947-48 creation of the State of Israel and the resulting armed conflict.  The proposal was presented by Henry Usborn  a British MP, active in the world federalist and world citizen movement.  Usborn was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of satyagraha (a soul force) and proposed that a volunteer corps of some 10,000 unarmed people hold a two kilometre-wide demilitarized zone between Israel and its Arab neighbors.   

Somewhat later, in 1960, Salvador De Madariaga, who had ceased being the Spanish Ambassador to the League when General Franco came to power, created in 1938 the World Citizens Association from his exile in England.

The Gandhian Indian Socialist.

He developed a proposal with the Gandhian Indian Socialist Party leader Jayapeakash Narayan for a U.N. Peace Guards, an unarmed international peace force that would be an alternative to the armed U.N. forces. (1) De Maderiaga  and Narayan held that a body of regular Peace Guards intervening with no weapons whatever, between two forces in combat or about to fight  might have considerable effect.  The Peace Guards would be authorized by the U.N. Member States to intervene in any conflict of any nature when asked by one of the parties or by the Secretary General.

Jayaprakash Narayan during his visit in Germany, 1959. By Ullstein bild, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Dag Hammarskjold who was having enough problems with armed U.N. troops in the former Belgium Congo and understanding the realpolitik  of the U.N. did not act on the proposal.  Thus for the moment, there are only armed U.N. troops drawn from national armies and able to act only on a resolution of the Security Council.

Photograph of Dag Hammarskjöld(1953). By Caj Bremer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

You might interesting to read: Dag Hammarskjold. Crisis Manager and Longer-Range World Community Builder .

Note.

1) A good portrait of Jayaprakash Narayan, a world citizen, is set out in Bimal Prasad. Gandhi, Nehru and J.P. Studies in Leadership (Delhi, Chamakya Publications, 1985)

Narayan was also one of the Indian leaders met by the student world federalist leaders in their 1949 stay in India. See Clare and Harris Wofford, Jr.
India Afire (New York: John Day Company, 1951).

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Indigenous Rapprochement of Cultures.

The Protection of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples

Featured Image: Big Pow-Wow with traditional costumes from East coast First Nations of Canada. By Marc-Lautenbacher, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

While both humanization and dehumanization are real alternatives, only the first is man’s vocation. This vocation is constantly negated. It is thewarted by injustice, exploitation, oppression, and the violence of the oppressors; it is affirmed by the yearning of the oppressed for freedom and justice, and by their struggle to recover their lost humanity.

Paulo Freire.

Photo of Paulo Freire (1977). By Slobodan Dimitrov, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention.

The United Nations General Assembly has set 9 August as the International Day of Indigenous People. However, the term ‘indigenous’ is ambiguous since at some point nearly every group came from somewhere else at an earlier time. Thus when the first UN effort was undertaken in the International Labour Organization in 1957, the ILO Convention (N°107) was called the “Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention”. It is not always possible to say who is ‘indigenous’ but it is usually easy enough to know if a group has a tribal structure.

For many years, indigenous and tribal peoples were the forgotten stepchildren of the intergovernmental organizations dealing with human rights. Yet they needed protection at least as much as those on whom the political limelight had focused.

The world community is filled with many different types of collective actors: clans, tribes, castes, ethnic groups, cities, races, social classes, religious organizations, nation-states, multi-state alliances for military or economic goals, transnational corporations and associations. Each is the creation of individuals who have grouped together – or have been grouped together – to achieve goals considered common to the group’s members. All such collective groups have techniques to socialize new members to share the common values, to accept the ideology and beliefs of the tribe, the nation-state or the association.

This socialization process goes so deeply that a person’s sense of identity becomes associated with these collective identities. The family passes on a sense of belonging to a collective identity, the school, the army, the church, the political process and institutions – each propose a sense of group purpose.

Image by Basil D Soufi, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Tribes and Clans.

Yet none of these groups is static and unchanging. Even clans and tribes whose members often consider that they have a common ancestor do in fact change. Tribes merge and divide; new identities are formed: new ancestors are created to justify the new grouping.

Some types of collective belonging are more easily left than others. One can move relatively easily from a city and take on the character, the values and the goals of a new city. Social mobility can produce changes in social class, and even caste lines become blurred. Persons change nationality or acquire new nationalities as frontiers are modified. Race is less easily changed but definitions of what constitutes a race do change. Ethnic identity is often associated with birth, but parents can belong to different ethnic communities, although the child is usually raised as belonging to the more dominant group. However the socialization process of group identity goes to the level of sub-conscious behaviour and is not easily set aside.

Today, the nation-state claims to be the dominant collective association – setting the boundaries of loyalty and identity. The state claims the right to set out the major collective goals and values. Through laws, the state claims the right to set out the rules by which other collective entities may pursue their goals; through taxation the state draws the resources to further the goals it has set, and the state claims to have the only legitimate use of violence to punish those who break the laws and rules it has set.

There have always been tensions between these collective groups for their spheres of goal-setting and value-setting have overlapped. Thus there have been tensions between religious organizations and the state as to who should set what goals and the means to achieve these goals. There have also been tensions between classes and the state when it was felt that the state was dominated by another economic class who used its power within state institutions not for the good of all but only to advance class interests. The same is true of other collective units – races or ethnic groups – excluded from power within state institutions.

Madhesi Istet Woiche (aka William Hulsey) 1923. By Big Band Hot Spring, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Nation-States.

Today in many parts of the world those most excluded from power within state institutions are people living in alternative structures of authority, goal-setting and rule-making: persons living in tribal societies. Tribal societies predated most of today’s nation-states. A tribal society usually has all the same functions as the nation-state: it sets out membership, loyalties, common goals and rules of behaviour. It has sanctions against those breaking the laws of the tribe and has – or had- the monopoly of the legitimacy of using violence against those breaking the laws. Tribes are, in fact, more realistically “nation-states”
If one defines nation as a common language, a common history and a common will to act together.

Thus because the tribal society is the closest in function to that of the nation-state, it is also the most feared. Tribes are institutions with whom it is difficult to compromise because they have the same presumptions as the state. It is relatively easy for a government to offer higher wages to the industrial worker or higher prices to the farmer as social classes do not claim to carry out in an alternative way the functions of the state. It is more of a challenge to the state’s image of its role to allow tribal societies to set out a land policy or fishing rights or trans-frontier trading rights because these activities conflict directly with the functions that the government has set for itself.

The Reservations.

Thus, there has been a long history of the state destroying alternative institutions of governance on its territory. The nation-states of Europe were built upon the ruins of feudal institutions as much of Asia was built on the destruction of local rulers. We see the pattern today as we watch traditional chiefs in Africa loose their authority to the heads of state and the military. In the Americas, many of the indigenous tribal societies were destroyed. Others were pushed into areas that those who controlled the government did not want – the “reservations” – of Canada and the USA. In Latin America and Asia, there is still active struggle going on between those trying to preserve their tribal institutions and homelands and the state which claims complete authority over all its territory and who often wish to put new settlers on tribal lands.

Three Native American women, standing, full-length, facing front, holding beaded bags, Warm Springs Indian Reservation, Wasco County, Oregon. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The amount of violence and suffering is considerable. Slowly the fate of tribal societies has come to the attention of the United Nations. The UN was set up to facilitate relations between nations-states. However, because wide-spread violations of individual rights had been the consequences of the Second World War, a Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted and proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1948. The aim of the Declaration is to stress the rights of the individual – a natural consequence of the philosophy of the drafters. The rights of collective bodies with which the drafters were familiar: trade unions, churches, professional associations are also protected. However, tribal societies were not particularly thought of as one sees by reading the drafting negotiations leading to the 1948 Universal Declaration. Thus, the Universal Declaration protects the rights of all individuals – including, of course, individuals living in tribal societies – but there is no direct recognition of the functions of tribal societies.

It was not until the first World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination, held at the UN in Geneva in August 1978, that certain aspects of discrimination against indigenous populations were included in the Programme of Action. In 1983, the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations started meeting in Geneva which led to the growing attention being given to indigenous and tribal peoples. There is still much work to be done as the process of humanization of those now oppressed and marginalized will come about only through radical changes in the outlook of those now holding power and authority.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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Human Rights UN: Growth of World Law.

Human Rights: The Foundation of World Law

Eleanor Roosevelt holding poster of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (in English), Lake Success, New York. November 1949. By FDR Presidential Library & Museum, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The General Assembly proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.
Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In human history, there have been periods when there is a collective response to new challenges; and thus new ways of organizing thought and society. All do not respond at the same speed nor in the same way. Those who have power and wealth due to the old structures are often reluctant to change. Thus, today, some government leaders still see the world in older structural terms – as a collection of relatively independent and autonomous nation-states – a guiding social framework which had served humanity well for several hundred years after the end of the European feudal wars. Yet now, that nation-state framework is not adequate.

Declaration of the Essential Rights of Man.

We already live in a world society bound through communications and economy to a common destiny. Thus there is a need for a universalistic ethic, one that englobes all of humanity. A foundation of this universalistic ethic is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly meeting in Paris, December 1948. As early as the 1945 San Francisco Conference to draft the UN Charter, a proposal to embody a ‘Declaration of the Essential Rights of Man’ was put forward, but it was shelved because it required more detailed consideration than was possible at that time.

Within the framework of the rights set out in the Universal Declaration, there has been a steady growth of world law with human rights conventions and treaty bodies that monitor their application. Among the most important of these conventions are the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Jawaharlal Nehru at the UN General Assembly, New York, 1948. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Universal World Citizen.

Human rights are universal because the subject of human rights is the universal world citizen and not the political citizen as defined by state citizenship. Human rights inaugurate a new kind of citizenship, the citizenship of humanity. Human rights gives people the sense that world law belongs to them.

In order to affirm these human rights, there has been a dynamic growth of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dealing with human rights, a growth involving the expansion of established organizations as well as the birth of many new organizations. NGOs have become indispensable to the human rights movement through their characteristic activities: monitoring, investigation and reporting, lobbying national governments and the UN, educating the public and coming to the defense of individuals when dealing with courts or intergovernmental bodies.

As Javier Perez de Cuellar, then UN Secretary-General, has said:

“Our age which has often been so cruel, can now pride itself on having witnessed the birth of a universal human rights movement. In all walks of life, brave individuals are standing up for their brothers who have been reduced to silence by oppression or poverty. Their struggle has transcended all frontiers, and their weapon is knowledge. Defending human rights today means above all bringing the most secret crimes to light. It means trying to find out and daring to speak out with complete objectivity, something which requires courage and occasionally, even heroism…The United Nations is cognizant that for human rights to be more fully recognized and respected, the awareness and support of all are required.”

Arrival at Schiphol of UN Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar. By Rob Bogaerts / Anefo, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en, via Wikimedia Commons.

Thus NGOs such as the Association of World Citizens are on the frontlines of building a new world society based on human rights.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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