4 thoughts on “Human Rights at FrontPage”

  1. Nice work, Jim.

    Nice work, Jim.

    I particularly enjoyed the ironic jab about the need for the US to view the UDHR as an evolving document which should be re-interpreted in the light of subsequent experience and current realities.

  2. I thought a while about
    I thought a while about including that, and it seems to me that in this case the line of thought makes sense. Plainly the UDHR was a compromise and wasn’t intended to be legislative. And the world society for which it speaks is at best inchoate and it’s probably best that it remain so. So it’s actually a bad idea to attribute any very definite meaning to it.

    For another opinion, see koo-koo-ka-choo Mrs. Robinson: http://www.rightsreform.net/texts/robinson.html .

  3. Some very interesting
    Some very interesting thoughts; goes farther and is more critical than Mary Ann Glendon in book A World Made New about drafting of Universal Declaration.

    Economic and social rights are highly problematic, in every aspect, but are widely accepted in Europe. No thought of tradeoffs, as Thomas Sowell would say.

    One fault in article: US was in fact booted off UN Commission for 2002; it was then voted back on for 2003. Reason for defeat included anti-Bush anti-unilateralism sentiment, but also US complacency: only 3 countries are elected from Western group, and Austria, France and Sweden went out and got the votes. US just assumed its election. Electoral market at work.

    2nd point: Libya chair of Commission?? Not that I know. First, States do not chair the Commission, (unlike Security Council), it is individuals. Last three Chairs have been from Poland (2002), Nepal (2001), Argentina (2000). Individual chairing in 2003 unknown until CHR meeting in January 03.

    I think you bought an urban legend, Jim.


  4. Glendon’s book provided
    Glendon’s book provided useful background, although she greatly admires Eleanor Roosevelt and the UDHR. One odd feature—she says (p. 92) that the “Operation Keelhaul” limitation on the right to asylum didn’t make it into the final document but “survived only in the highly attenuated form” of Article 29(3), the one that says the rights can’t “be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.” Her appendix giving the text of the UDHR of course shows the contrary.

    On Dave’s other comments: it seems to me “the U.S. has been dropped as a member” is literally correct. As to Libya, I had relied on Human Rights Watch ( http://www.hrw.org/press/2002/08/libya082002.htm ) for the facts. While “due to” is somewhat loose, informed people have been speaking of the situation that way. And individual rather than national chairmanship strikes me as a technical distinction that people involved with the issues normally don’t think worth making. How much should one go into these details in a parenthetical?


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