International Law Essay Sample - The United Nations and Human Rights

Published: 2022-05-20
International Law Essay Sample - The United Nations and Human Rights
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Human rights
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1865 words
16 min read

The development of international laws was done after the cold war. The goal of international laws, notably those developed by the United Nations (UN), was to prevent the world from getting into any forms of large-scale violence as it was witnessed during the Second World War and the cold war. The era marked the start of concern for human rights. The process of development of international was based on various theoretical and practical perspectives. Several arguments pertaining the practicability of international law have been presented. Today, there is even a greater need for international laws. The reason for this is that there is an increase in the emphasis on globalization and global interconnectedness necessitating the establishment of universal laws from which international connections will benefit (Held 174). International laws state what entails universal human rights and define the violation of human rights. The basis for the development of human rights and international laws were both theoretical and conceptual approach. Although international regulations have been developed, there are still problems facing the implementation of international laws and thereby the UN in its role as the guarantor of human rights.

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Theoretical Basis of the Development of International Law

The development of international laws is based on idealistic rather than realistic perspectives. In developing international rules, it is presumed that there already exists a state of harmony and global peace. However, the reality is far from this. Globally, even today, there exists several cases of large-scale violence with violation of human. An example is the Syrian war which has faced a lot of criticism pertaining the breach of the human rights of Syrian civilians. Most of the measure by the UN is preventative. Most of the international laws define what a threat to or an attempt to the breach of peace. To some extent, the idealism in the development of international laws could be implicated in some of its failures.

The moral theory was also used in the development of international laws. The ethical theory served to solve the problem pertaining the universality of international laws. Although there was a clash of moral values in the development of international laws, the need for international laws and the common goals shared by people across religious, political, geographical, and cultural backgrounds made it possible for the founding parties to agree (Held 176).

Natural law theory, which is argued to be the guarantor of the universality of international laws was also considered in the development of international laws. These are laws that state that there are individual rights a person is entitled to just by being human. It is reflected in the UDHR, for instance, "Article 25 of UDHR: Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services. Additionally, the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in the circumstances beyond his control." Also, UDHR alludes to natural law in its beginning which states that the beginning peace, freedom, and justice in the world is recognizing the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of every individual.

Challenges to Implementation of International Laws at the international level

Although there are international laws that have been well developed, several factors hinder the implementation of these laws. Different countries fail to acknowledge these laws, especially in cases where they clash with national laws. Political factors contribute significantly to the challenges in the implementation of international laws.

In the United States, there is opposition to the implementation of international law. The left dismisses international laws arguing that they only serve to promote the interests of states which are powerful (Delbruck 705). The right opposes implementation of international laws by claiming that they interfere with the mission and interest of the US and are irrelevant (Delbruck 705). The arguments depict the general feeling by most states that the international laws favor some countries at the expense of others. For some countries, to implement these laws within their jurisdiction will propagate the interests of others at the expense of theirs.

The lack of a world government makes it impossible for international laws to be applicable. The lack of a global government makes the world to exist in a Hobbesian state of nature. In this state, it is not possible to implement international laws. For international laws to be enforced, there is a need for a central government to be in place. The reason is that for the implementation, the laws have to be recognized as legitimate and accepted. Also, they should be

The UN as the Guarantor of Human Rights

From the definition of a right; a legal entitlement to something, it is implied that there is a need for a legal framework to be in place to protect these rights. The UN serves as the protector of human rights all over the globe. States are the primary protectors of human rights, however, in some scenarios, the state ceases to be the human rights protector and becomes the abuser of human rights. When this occurs, the international community intervenes through mechanisms that have been put in place to guarantee the universal rights of people who have been abandoned and failed by their countries.

The UN drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) after the Second World War. The background of this declaration was the atrocities of war. The role that the UN plays in safeguarding human rights is enormous. Since the UDHR in 1948, several human rights conventions and treaties have been approved under the patronage of the body. These conventions do not make the difference, and therefore, there is a need for the implementation rather than elaboration of human rights.

The Foundation of the Declaration and Practice of Human Rights

When the Universal Declaration as being prepared, there were several questions regarding the foundation of the human rights. The Eastern and the Western blocks had different opinions making it difficult for the two to a reach an agreement. The views of the liberal Western block was different from the communist ideologies of the East. Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union have opposed to the draft declaration for the reason that it acknowledged individual rights with minimal references to collective rights.

The two sides also had differing theories and ideologies making them have different conceptions of human rights. The impact of this was that it made it harder for the two sides to reach a consensus. There was difficulty in agreeing to the Declaration as moral relativists alleged that the Declaration ought not to be extended to everyone (Delbruck 715). Besides, some of the human rights clashed with Islamic beliefs. Due to the diverse moral and religious background of individuals, the applicability of the Declaration of Human Rights on an international level was questioned. Although these differences were present, the two side decided to cast them aside after witnessing the devastating effects of war and focus on practical instead of speculative notions. The primary aim in developing the Declaration was to prevent the recurrence of war on a global scale as was witnessed in World War II by avoidance of war as a means of solving crises and promotion of human rights.

Pragmatic Approach to Human Rights by the United Nations

In the modern society, the concept of human rights is used when there is such acts as slavery, oppression, war, conflict, etc. When such things happen, the call to action is always practical. There is usually a call for a juridical, political or humanitarian response. An example is the civil wars in some parts of the world such as Syria currently. There has always been a call by the international community to intervene, particularly the UN to end the war. Also, acts such as racial prejudice have always elicited a mass outcry for political and juridical action to be taken against perpetrators. The human rights discourse has therefore been made a channel through which people can press for every manner of political, social, and legal reforms (Haule 377). The practical approach to human rights is related to utilitarianism. The implication of this is that very firm principles are equivalent to dogmatism. Utilitarianism regards human rights as a rule of thumb and leaves enough room for compromise. Proliferating claims to human rights have some inevitable outcomes. Some of these claims could be incompatible. An example is a scenario where a mother's freedom to decide what she can do wither body interferes with the right that an unborn child has to live. In the contemporary society, a similar situation is witnessed. There is a developing influence and effect by lobby groups on the legislative and political process (Haule 378). The impact of this is that most active lobby will claim rights that the weakest lobby is unable to claim.

A practical approach to human rights can also be examined at the level of public relations. In this context, were every individual, institution or group to accept each claim of human rights as legitimate, it would result in the promotion of ethically questionable rights (Haule 380). A pragmatic approach in this scenario ensures that the rights that are acceptable are morally sound. However, this approach could have a problem involving how to decide what rights are ethical and what is not and also in informing the public about how these decisions were made. The problem is a cause of a contentious debate. There arises the question of how a given right should be applied in a particular context (Haule 381). In addressing these concerns, human rights ought to be an ethical class that justifies why the attainment of pragmatic ends is ethical.

Morality and Human Rights

Human rights entail the fundamental moral principle; that what is good should be done and pursued whereas that which is bad should be shunned. In this era, the concept of human rights is used to distinguish right from wrong. It easier for one to allege that an act is a violation of human rights instead of saying the action is immoral. The implication of this is that human rights are used as an ethical category, meaning that actions are deemed either right or wrong based on predetermined criteria implicit in the concept of human rights (Held 191). Human rights are based on a collection of values and norms that are shared by the entire global community. The significance of this basis of human rights is that it unites humanity. Institutionalizing human rights to the existing legal standards, which is the United Nations was a procedure starting with natural law to natural rights than to human rights.

For people who have encountered oppression or tyranny, human right is a popular term for them. With human rights, the principle of doing unto other people as one would like to be done unto them prevails. The principle, when put into practice, implies that one will not do anything that they would not want to be done to them. Ultimately, no individual would wish to be treated immorally. Underpinning this is not only the honesty but also the justice that comes from the conscious intention of a person, depicting internal nature of morality

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