web analytics

Full retreat

Written By: - Date published: 11:22 am, June 27th, 2018 - 13 comments
Categories: China, Deep stuff, Donald Trump, human rights, immigration, International, Russia, us politics - Tags:

The United States Supreme Court has upheld the travel ban requested by the President of the United States. If you want the views of the retreating sane minority on that court, here’s a dissenting opinion.

If you are a citizen seeking to travel to the United States from Venezuela, Libya, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, and North Korea, it is now next to impossible to get to the United States.

This decision – and the Trump Presidency generally – is a big signal that human rights are in rapid decline at the highest levels. Russia and China in particular have read the signals that the United States is sending, and going hard against international human rights institutions as we have not seen in my lifetime.

Because it is a Supreme Court decision that will well outlast Trump’s rule, it is the most far-reaching political victory of President Trump to date.

Even before this decision and the Mexican border outrages, this is the view of Human Rights Watch about human rights in the United States over the past year. It’s not easy reading.

To the critical funding and leadership role of the United States in the U.N., it’s only two years ago that it was making substantial pledges of support for those human rights institutions.

President Trump has stopped the United States being the primary funder of the Palestinian government. President Trump has withdrawn from the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. The United States is seeking more than $129 million in cuts in U.N. peacekeeping programs. And so it goes, further and further.

But as the final days of budget negotiations for the United Nations, China and Russia have read the signals.

Russia wants a 50 percent funding cut for human rights-related activities in U.N. peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cyprus, Haiti, Sudan, South Sudan, and Abyei, an enclave disputed by the latter two. It has also called for halving the budget for programs designed to prevent the sexual exploitation of girls and women in Abyei, the Central African Republic, and Haiti.

Moscow has also targeted a number of jobs that promote human rights, including a post for a victims’ rights advocate in the DRC.

If successful this will set back U.N. peacekeeping by decades.

China’s proposed cuts are far more targeted. They call for eliminating more than 35 posts for human rights officers, investigators, and experts on gender.

In the past, China has sought to block newly established human rights jobs from being funded. The fact that it is now seeking to eliminate dozens of existing posts suggested a hardening of its position.

The scale of what Russia and China are trying to do is beyond what they have tried to do in previous years. Their approach is to essentially remove the human rights pillar from the United Nations, post by post.

China in particular is playing a long game, using its increased influence at the U.N. to get reductions in funding for human rights activities.

Over the past year, China has blocked dissidents from participating in U.N. conferences, and championed job cuts  in U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres’s principal office for human rights advocacy.

In some instances, the Trump administration has pushed back against China and Russia but in other cases, it has left the arena open for the two countries to exert more influence. Last week, the United States announced it was withdrawing from the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The budget talks are playing out in parallel with negotiations over two major reform initiatives that are high priorities for Western powers and for the U.N. secretary-general. The overlapping negotiations — which need to be concluded by July 1 — have given China and Russia greater leverage to eliminate posts in the human rights arena.

Over the past several decades there have been remarkable human right successes at the United Nations. Response to mass atrocities is better than it used to be: war crimes tribunals including the International Criminal Court, tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and hybrid courts in Sierra Leone and Cambodia also contribute to the development of enforcement standards. When they are effective they really do changes states’ conduct.

The imperative to provide people with adequate healthcare is strongly embedded across the globe. The right to freedom from slavery and from forced labour has also been integrated into national and international institutions. The steady accumulation of human rights related conventions has encouraged more states to implement binding legislation in their constitutions and statutes. There is an agreement about climate change when few thought it ever possible. Sometimes parts of the world look at a move like allowing women to drive on a Saudi Arabian public road and simply roll their eyes at gratitude amongst patriarchal tyranny. And yet massive advances in the role of women have been initiated by U.N. programmes and U.N. leadership for many decades.

But implementing respect for human rights by international bodies is really hard. Some of the worst violators refuse to join treaties or institutions. Negligence of obligations that have been signed up to is hard to penalise. Using sanctions or force is particularly fraught. Sometimes at the end of a war, negotiators choose not to hold human rights violators accountable. No international institution forced the United States to close Guantanamo Bay, for example, and few countries assisted.

So I’m not offering a full-throated defence of the United Nations’ role in supporting human rights.

But we will miss it.

While intergovernmental organisations can and do successfully push for civil and political rights, the United Nations remains the central global institution for developing international norms and legitimising efforts to implement them. The United States, China, and Russia are now in full swing cutting away hard at the capacity of the United Nations to uphold human rights across the world. They are three central agents within the United Nations as a whole.

2018 is the high tide of global human rights, regrettably. There will be no stronger cross-national architecture for human rights than that already within the United Nations. Whatever we thought was bad about supporting human rights across the world, is about to get a whole lot worse. The international order of human rights is in full retreat.

13 comments on “Full retreat”

  1. Sabine 1

    so as long as you are a white heterosexual evangelic male with economic anxiety you have nothing to worry.

    its all the others that get screwed over, but then they are not white heterosexual evangelic male with economic anxiety. So there. no harm done. Surely any day know the world will be a better place.

    • ropata 1.1

      Congrats on your attempt at bigot bingo, I think you hit all of them except ageism. Perhaps your profile was accurate in 1950s USA but otherwise that comment is n/a in the real world.

      Those awful white males also *built* the societies that uphold human rights and democracy.

    • Unicus 1.2

      What a load of racist twaddle

      How many of your WASP’y stereotypes are present in the demographics of China and Russia

  2. Unicus 2

    What a load of racist twaddle –

    How many of your WASP ‘y baddies are present in the demographics of China and Russia

  3. Obtrectator 3

    The day when “United States, China and Russia” become “Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia” draws ever closer.

  4. adam 4

    Essically that is because there is no left.

    Corporate liberals don’t count as left wing. Nor do those so enthralled with liberalism to not see the decline for the guns.

  5. mpledger 5

    Maybe other countries should start having a travel ban to the USA except for business.

    • Gosman 5.1

      Many countries do. Try getting to the US if you are a North Korean outside the elite.

  6. Gosman 6

    How is travelling to the US an international human right?

    • Ad 6.1

      Never claimed it was for ordinary travel.

      Different if you are claiming refugee status however.

      • Gosman 6.1.1

        Refugees don’t have a international human right right to travel to any country they wish to apply for asylum. They have a right to apply for asylum in any country they deem safe but that doe not mean they get to dictate what countries they choose to get to.

  7. soddenleaf 7

    Local energy means global separation. When we all get off the oil fumes, the global trade in oil will not be creating mutual trust and assurance. All bets are off

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Major funding boost for Predator Free Banks Peninsula
    A pest free Banks Peninsula/Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū is one step closer with a $5.11 million boost to accelerate this project and create jobs, announced Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage in Canterbury today. “This is a game changer for this ambitious project to restore the native wildlife and plants on Ōtautahi/Christchurch’s doorstep ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Major investment for indoor sports in Hawke’s Bay
    A Government grant of $6.4 million will expand the Pettigrew Arena in Taradale with new indoor courts of national standard. “The project is likely to take 18 months with approximately 300 people employed through the process,” Grant Robertson said. “The expansion will increase the indoor court space up to 11 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • New infrastructure for Far North tourist town
    The Far North tourist destination of Mangonui is to receive Government funding to improve waterfront infrastructure, open up access to the harbour and improve water quality, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has announced. A total of $6.5 million from the $3 billion set aside in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government remains committed to Women’s Cricket World Cup
    The Government has re-affirmed its commitment to supporting the hosting of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, which the ICC has delayed from 2021 to 2022. “This is obviously a disappointing decision for cricket players and fans around the world and for the White Ferns and their supporters here at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Green light for Te Awa River Ride in $220m nationwide cycleways investment
    Cyclists and walkers will now have a safer way to get around Taupō, Tūrangi, and between Hamilton and Cambridge, with funding for shared paths and Te Awa River Ride, Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter announced today. “The Te Awa River Ride is the latest part of massive growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Six major ‘shovel-ready’ cycleways funded in Christchurch
    Six major cycle routes will be completed in Christchurch thanks to funding from the Government’s investment in shovel-ready infrastructure as part of the COVID-19 recovery Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter announced today. $125 million will be invested to kick-start construction and fund the completion of the following cycleway ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Police facilities for Whanganui
    Plans are underway for a brand new state-of-the-art hub for Whanganui’s justice and social agencies, following confirmation the ageing Whanganui Central Police Station is to be replaced. Police Minister Stuart Nash has announced $25 million in new infrastructure spending to improve facilities for the wider community, and for staff who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Relativity adjustment for Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu
    An adjustment payment has been made to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu under the relativity mechanisms in their 1995 and 1997 Treaty of Waitangi settlements, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little announced today. The latest payments to Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu are $2,700,000 and $2,600,000 respectively to ensure the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Auckland rail upgrades pick up steam
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Transport Minister Phil Twyford today kicked off the start of the Auckland NZ Upgrade Programme rail projects which will support over 400 jobs and help unlock our biggest city. Both ministers marked the start of enabling works on the third main rail line project ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • PGF support for Wairoa creates jobs
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment of $3.78 million in Wairoa will create much needed economic stimulus and jobs, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. PGF projects announced today include: $200,000 loan to Nuhaka Kiwifruit Holdings Ltd (operated by Pine Valley Orchard Ltd) to increase the productivity ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Public and Māori housing to trial renewable energy technology
    Tenants in public and Māori housing may be benefiting from their own affordable renewable energy in future – a fund to trial renewable energy technology for public and Māori housing has today been announced by Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods and Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Nanaia Mahuta. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • $2.7m for Hokianga infrastructure
    Hokianga will receive $2.7 million to redevelop four of its wharves and upgrade its water supply, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. Far North District Council will receive $1.8 million from the Provincial Growth Fund for the work on the wharves. “The work will include the construction of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New fund to support housing and construction sector
    A $350 million Residential Development Response Fund is being established to support the residential construction sector and to minimise the economic impact from COVID-19, the Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods has announced. “The Residential Development Response Fund will help to progress stalled or at-risk developments that support our broader housing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government investment to boost Auckland’s community recycling network
    As part of a broader plan to divert waste from landfill, the Government today announced $10.67 million for new infrastructure as part of the Resource Recovery Network across the Auckland region. “This key investment in Auckland’s community recycling network is part of the Government’s Infrastructure Reference Group ‘shovel ready’ projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Te Papa transformation starts at Cameron Road
    The Government is investing $45 million in the first stage of an ambitious urban development project for Tauranga that will employ up to 250 people and help the region grow, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says the funding has been allocated out of the $3 billion ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Low-emissions options for heavy transport a step closer
    Getting low-emission trucks on the road is a step closer with investment in infrastructure to support hydrogen vehicles, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. The Infrastructure Reference Group has provisionally approved $20 million for New Plymouth company Hiringa Energy to establish a nationwide network of hydrogen-fuelling stations. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New training centre to upskill workers
    A new trades training centre to upskill the local workforce will be built in the South Waikato town of Tokoroa through funding from the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Government will contribute $10.84 million from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Subsequent children legislation to change
    The Government has agreed to repeal part of the Oranga Tamariki Act subsequent children provisions, Minister for Children Tracey Martin announced today. “There are times when children need to go into care for their safety – the safety and care of children must always be paramount,” Minister Martin said. “But ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Funding to expand mental health support for Pacific peoples
    A $1.5 million boost to grow primary mental health and addiction services for Pacific peoples in Auckland, Hamilton and Canterbury will lead to better outcomes for Pacific communities, Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa says.  Pasifika Futures has received funding to expand services through The Fono, Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Funding boost for sustainable food and fibre production
    Twenty-two projects to boost the sustainability and climate resilience of New Zealand’s food and fibres sector have been announced today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The $18m funding will deliver practical knowledge to help farmers and growers use their land more sustainably, meet environmental targets, remain prosperous, and better understand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Mature Workers Toolkit launched on business.govt.nz
    Employment Minister Willie Jackson welcomes an initiative that assists employers to get mature workers into New Zealand small businesses. The disadvantages that older people face in the workplace was highlighted in the whole of Government Employment Strategy.  In order to address this, a Mature Workers Toolkit has been developed and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Trans-Tasman cooperation in a COVID-19 world
    New Zealand and Australia reaffirmed today the need for the closest possible collaboration as they tackle a global environment shaped by COVID-19, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said. “In these challenging times, our close collaboration with Australia is more vital than ever,” said Mr Peters. Mr Peters and his Australian ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pike recovery efforts now in unexplored territory
    The recovery and forensic examination of the loader driven by survivor Russell Smith means the underground team are now moving into an area of the Pike River Mine that has not been seen since the explosion, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little said. “The fifth and last robot ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government confirms CovidCard trial to go ahead
    The Government has confirmed a community-wide trial of CovidCard technology as it explores options for COVID-19 contact tracing. “Effective contact tracing is a vital part of the COVID-19 response,” Minister of Health Chris Hipkins said. “While manual processes remain the critical component for contact tracing, we know digital solutions can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Enhanced process for iwi aquaculture assets
    The government is proposing changes to aquaculture legislation to improve the process for allocating and transferring aquaculture assets to iwi. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has introduced the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Amendment Bill to Parliament. It proposes a limited new discretionary power for Te Ohu Kaimoana Trustee Limited (ToKM). ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bill introduced to fix National’s Family Court reform failures
    The Minister of Justice has today introduced the Family Court (Supporting Children in Court) Legislation Bill – the next step in the ongoing programme of work to fix the failed 2014 Family Court reforms led by then Justice Minister Judith Collins.  The Bill arises from the report of the Independent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • DOC takes action to adapt to climate change
    A new Department of Conservation (DOC) action plan tackles the impacts of climate change on New Zealand’s biodiversity and DOC managed infrastructure including tracks, huts and cultural heritage. Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage says extreme weather events around the country have really brought home our vulnerability to changing weather patterns. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Reduced international Antarctic season commences
    A heavily scaled back international Antarctic season will commence this week, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods have confirmed. “Antarctica is the only continent that is COVID-19 free,” Mr Peters said. “Throughout the global pandemic, essential operations and long-term science have continued at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New high performance sports hub for Upper Hutt
    The Government is providing up to $30 million to help fund the NZ Campus of Innovation and Sport in Upper Hutt - an investment that will create 244 jobs. “The sports hub is designed to be a world-leading shared service for a range of sports, offering the level of facilities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt keeps projects on road to completion
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today transport projects currently in construction will continue at pace due to extra Government support for transport projects to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. To keep the $16.9 billion 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme going the Government has allocated funding from the COVID Response and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • First project utilising $50 million ‘shovel ready’ fund for rural broadband announced
    $50 million for further rural broadband digital connectivity has been allocated from the $3 billion infrastructure fund in the COVID Response and Recovery Fund has been announced by Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure and Kris Faafoi, Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media. The investment will go to boosting broadband ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Ultra-fast Broadband programme hits major milestone with more than one million connections
    The Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media has congratulated the Ultra-fast Broadband (UFB) programme on its major milestone of connecting more than 1 million New Zealand households and businesses to UFB. “This milestone has been 10 years in the making and demonstrates the popularity of the UFB network. “Uptake ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Vaping legislation passes
    Landmark legislation passed today puts New Zealand on track to saving thousands of lives and having a smokefree generation sooner rather than later, Associate Health Minister, Jenny Salesa says. The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill regulates vaping products and heated tobacco devices. “There has long been concern ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government repeals discriminatory law
    A discriminatory law that has been a symbol of frustration for many people needing and providing care and support, has been scrapped by the Government. “Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill (No 2) was introduced under urgency in 2013 by a National Government,” Associate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • More competitive fuel market on the way
    Kiwi motorists are set to reap the benefits of a more competitive fuel market following the passing of the Fuel Industry Bill tonight, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods says.  “This Act is where the rubber meets the road in terms of our response to the recommendations made in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government delivers on rental reforms promise
    The Government has delivered on its promise to New Zealanders to modernise tenancy laws with the passing of the Residential Tenancies Amendment (RTA) Bill 2020 today, says Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing), Kris Faafoi. “The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 was out-dated and the reforms in the RTA modernise our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New rules in place to restore healthy rivers
    New rules to protect and restore New Zealand’s freshwater passed into law today. Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor welcomed the gazetting of the new national direction on freshwater management. “These regulations deliver on the Government’s commitment to stop further degradation, show material improvements within five years and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Foreign Minister announces new Consul-General in Los Angeles
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced the appointment of Jeremy Clarke-Watson as New Zealand’s new Consul-General in Los Angeles. “New Zealand and the United States share a close and dynamic partnership, based on a long history of shared values and democratic traditions,” Mr Peters said. “Mr Clarke-Watson is a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Rental reforms provide greater support for victims of family violence
    Victims of family violence can end a tenancy with two days’ notice Landlords can terminate tenancies with 14 days’ notice if tenants assault them Timeframe brought forward for limiting rent increases to once every 12 months Extension of time Tenancy Tribunal can hear cases via phone/video conference Reform of New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Apprenticeships support kicks off today
    Two employment schemes – one new and one expanded – going live today will help tens of thousands of people continue training on the job and support thousands more into work, the Government has announced. Apprenticeship Boost, a subsidy of up to $12,000 per annum for first year apprentices and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago