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 President Trump has withdrawn from the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.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

  • United Nations General Assembly: 76th General Debate Statement
    E ngā Mana, e ngā Reo, Rau Rangatira mā o tēnei Whare Nui o te Ao Prestigious people, Speakers of note, Chiefs one and all of this General Assembly Ngā mihi mahana ki o koutou katoa, mai i toku Whenua o Aotearoa Warm greetings to you all from my home ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • APEC 2021 Women and the Economy Forum prioritises women’s economic empowerment
    Minister for Women Jan Tinetti today chaired the virtual APEC 2021 Women and the Economy Forum, which is working to address outstanding issues for women and girls across the region as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The forum brought together Ministers and representatives from 21 economies to discuss gender ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Upper Hauraki to move to Alert Level 2
    Upper Hauraki will move to Alert Level 2 from 11:59pm tomorrow, 25 September, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. After positive cases were detected in the Upper Hauraki area on Sunday, extra Alert Level restrictions were put in place to immediately prevent any wider transmission of the virus.  “We’ve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Report into Aotearoa New Zealand’s export controls system released
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today welcomed the findings of an independent review into Aotearoa New Zealand’s export controls system, which regulates the export of goods to foreign militaries, police forces or paramilitaries. Produced by David Smol, a former Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New District Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General David Parker has announced the appointment of Brett Crowley of Wellington as a District Court Judge.  He is currently the Wellington Public Defender and started his career as a staff solicitor working in a range of litigation including criminal defence work. He went to the bar in 1999 specialising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Mental health stocktake shows strong progress
    The first report of the Government’s Implementation Unit has found strong progress has been made since the Mental Health and Addictions Package was announced in 2019. “The report notes most initiatives funded in the Budget 2019 package are on track to deliver what is expected by 2023/24,” Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Working together to grow the West Coast
    A project that has been crucial in allowing businesses to continue during the tourism downturn is among a number of initiatives to receive a boost from the Government’s Jobs For Nature programme, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Sustaining South Westland is an extension of an initiative set up last year ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Next steps to improve safety in wake of Whakaari White Island tragedy
    The Government is moving to improve safety in light of the Whakaari White Island tragedy and has released proposals to reinforce safety standards in registered adventure activities. The package of proposals includes: Strengthening requirements for how operators, landowners and the regulator manage natural hazard risks Improving how risks are monitored, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand donates more COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX and the Pacific
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Associate Health Minister Aupito William Sio announced today that New Zealand is donating additional Pfizer vaccines to the Pacific and AstraZeneca vaccines to the COVAX Facility, to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. “New Zealand is donating 708,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the Property Council of New Zealand
    Kia ora koutou katoa   Is it a pleasure to be able to speak with you today, and to be able to answer some questions you may have. I would like to acknowledge the organisers of this event, the Property Council. The theme of this year’s conference is City Shapers. Together ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Additional MIQ for Christchurch
    An additional hotel will be added to our network of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I have approved and Cabinet is in the final stages of signing off The Quality Hotel Elms in Christchurch as a new managed isolation facility,” Chris Hipkins said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ COVID-19 response earns another major digital investment
    Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications Dr David Clark welcomes Amazon’s Web Services’ (AWS) decision to establish a Cloud Region on New Zealand shores, further boosting New Zealand’s growing digital sector, and providing a vote of confidence in the direction of New Zealand’s economic recovery. “Amazon is the second ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand invests in cutting edge cancer R&D
    Scaling up the manufacture of CAR T-cell cancer therapy for clinical trials Advancing New Zealand’s biomedical manufacturing capability Supporting future international scientific collaborations Transforming cancer care with targeted, affordable solutions Research, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods has announced that the fight against COVID-19 will not stop the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Expert group appointed to lead New Zealand’s future health system
    An outstanding group of people with extensive and wide-ranging governance and health experience have been appointed to lead the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “This Government is building a truly national health system to provide consistent, high-quality health services right across the country. This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding to help clean up contaminated sites
    The Government is supporting the clean-up of contaminated sites in Northland, Dunedin and Southland to reduce risk to people’s health and protect the environment. Environment Minister David Parker said the funding announced today, through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund, will help us turn previously hazardous sites into safe, usable public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Predator Free apprenticeships open up new job opportunities
    The expansion of a predator free apprenticeship programme is an opportunity for more people to kick-start a conservation career, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The Predator Free Apprenticeship Programme is focused on increasing the number of skilled predator control operators in New Zealand through a two-year training programme. “The Trust ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Further NCEA support confirmed for Auckland students
    The number of Learning Recognition Credits for senior secondary school students will be increased for Auckland students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. This recognises the extended time these students will spend in Alert Levels 3 and 4. “It means students in Auckland will have a fair opportunity to attain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Long-term pathway next step to better mental wellbeing for New Zealanders
    The Government is taking a new approach to support people who experience mental distress, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “Kia Manawanui Aotearoa – Long-term pathway to mental wellbeing (Kia Manawanui) is the first 10-year plan of its kind that targets the cause of mental distress and also sets out how ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Keeping our Police safe to keep our communities safe
    The Government is committed to keeping our frontline police officers safe, so they in turn can keep New Zealanders safe – with one of the largest investments in frontline safety announced by Police Minister Poto Williams at the Police College today.   The $45 million investment includes $15.496 million in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Clean Vehicles Bill passes first checkpoint
    The Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill will help New Zealand drive down transport emissions by cleaning up the light vehicle fleet, Transport Minister Michael Wood says. The Bill passed its first reading today and will establish the legislative framework for key parts of the Government’s Clean Car Package, including ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding boost supports ongoing Māori COVID-19 response
    The Government is responding to the need by whānau Māori and Māori Health providers to support their ongoing work responding to COVID-19 and to continue increasing rates of Māori vaccination, Associate Minister for Health (Māori Health), Peeni Henare and Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today.   This increased ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Significant increase to COVID-19 penalties
    Penalties for breaches of COVID-19 orders are set to significantly increase from early November 2021 to better reflect the seriousness of any behaviour that threatens New Zealand’s response to the virus, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Throughout this Delta outbreak we’ve seen the overwhelming majority of people doing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill returns to Parliament
    The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill has returned to Parliament for its second reading in an important step towards giving enforcement agencies greater power to protect New Zealanders from terrorist activity. “The Bill addresses longstanding gaps in our counter terrorism legislation that seek to protect New Zealanders and make us safer,” Justice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Joint Statement: New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers
    Hon Damien O'Connor MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, and Hon Dan Tehan MP, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, met virtually on Monday 20 September to advance trans-Tasman cooperation under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER). CER is one of the most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference/COVID-19 Update opening statement
    ***Please check against delivery***   E te tī, e te tā, nau mai rā [To all, I bid you welcome]   As you will have seen earlier, today there are 22 new community cases to report; three of which are in Whakatiwai in the Hauraki area, and the remainder in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major milestones for Māori COVID-19 vaccine rollout as new campaign launches
    Whānau Ora and Associate Health (Māori Health) Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges two major milestones in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Māori. “I am very pleased to announce more than 50 percent of eligible Māori have received their first dose and 25 per cent are now fully vaccinated,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government funding to fight infectious diseases
    $36 million for research into Covid-19 and other infectious diseases The investment will improve our readiness for future pandemics Research will focus on prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases The Government’s investing in a new Infectious Diseases Research Platform to boost Aotearoa New Zealand’s Covid-19 response and preparedness for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
    Suspension to be reviewed again mid to late November Decision brought forward to enable access from Australia to first tranche of around 3000 rooms in MIQ Air New Zealand working at pace to put on more flights from Australia from October    The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Extra support for Ethnic Communities to share vaccination information
    Extra support is being made available to Ethnic Communities to help them share COVID-19 vaccination information within their communities, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “We know we need to get every eligible person in New Zealand vaccinated. A fund being launched today will allow for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • School holidays remain unchanged for Auckland region
    School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime
    Operation Tauwhiro extended until March 2022 Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:   987 firearms seized $4.99 million in cash seized 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to Body Positive 'HIV Treatments Update Seminar 2021'
    E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa Acknowledgements It’s a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Power bill changes bring fairness to charges
    A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. “Phasing out the regulations on ‘low-use’ electricity plans will create a fairer playing field for all New Zealanders and encourage a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Opening statement for Whāriki Indigenous Small Business Roundtable
      Kei ngā tōpito e wha o te āo e rere ana te mihi maioha ki a koutou nō tawhiti, nō tata mai e tāpiri ana ki tēnei taumata kōrero mo te ao hokohoko arā mā ngā pākihi mo ngā iwi taketake Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa – Pai Mārire.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Pay parity pathway for early learning teachers confirmed
    Pay parity conditions and higher funding rates for education and care services will come into force on 1 January, 2022, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government signalled this work in Budget 2021. “From 1 January, 2022, centres opting into the scheme will receive government funding and be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Conference 2021
    Kia Ora tatau katoa.   Ka tuku mihi ki nga nēhi, He pou Hauora o Aotearoa, E ora ai tatou.   Whakatau mai  I runga i te kaupapa o te ra Te NZNO conference.   Tena koutou tena koutou Tena tatou katoa   Good morning, and thank you inviting me ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago