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International Treaties (soc essay)

Posted on December 28, 2009 at 9:20 PM

There are many limitations of international law in protecting human rights. They include the ineffectiveness of the United Nations to enforce these laws; the inability of the U.N. to maintain and uphold these laws; and the resistance of the nations to have conflicting laws thrust upon their people and culture.

The issue of human rights is not a legal issue, it is a political one. The world consists of many different countries and cultures. In fact there are over 190 nations recognized by the United Nations, and several more outside that scope. This diverse range of people, histories, and ideologies makes conflict inevitable, and no one set on laws can stabilize them all. The U.N. was founded on Western-based philosophies and often clashes with Asian, Middle-Eastern, African, and Indigenous customs. For example, most Westerner’s are opposed to execution, but it is still practiced in much of the East. Each person has their own belief in how humans should behave, and what their rights should be. This makes international law, while hard to enforce, even harder to maintain in a society that disagrees with them. And when dealing with nations clashing over territory, it is important to understand how history can be distorted, and each people have their own version of events. It is also important to question whether it is just to impose our beliefs onto another society. All of those factors make it very difficult for international law to protect human rights.


International law is somewhat ineffective in its enforcement. In fact, commentators argue whether it is enforceable at all. There is no effective international law body or policing body, and the U.N. relies very heavily on the willingness of other nations to co-operate. Negotiations are often undertaken in order to avoid conflict, but sometimes this is not enough, and disputes erupt regardless; without international intervention. To make matters worse, there are countries that do not support the United Nations and others who openly oppose it. Many nations who become part of the U.N. only do so to sustain trade and security agreements between neighboring countries, and only appear to uphold human rights, while secretly are rife with corruption. The U.N. has been accused relying on a world order of willing nations, and neglecting to properly implement human rights across the world, but in reality, international laws can never really be policed because there is no higher order than the nations themselves to control it.


Finally, developing nations have criticized the International Court, arguing that it does not have a strong role in international legal issues. It has been accused of being too conservative in its delegation; having only handled 60 cases. Advanced nations are often unwilling to give up their dominant stance in the global economy, and the international courts have also been accused of favouring developed nations.


This combination of power struggles between strong nations and territory conflicts between weaker nations has generated an unfair beaurocracy in human rights laws. This, and the limitations of international law enforcements and maintenance have made human right difficult to uphold in many parts of the world.


Case Study

The “Australian, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty” (or ANZUS Treaty) is a military alliance formed between Australia and the United States of America, and then separately between Australia and New Zealand. The treaty is a mutual defense alliance forged between the three nations and discusses co-operation concerning defensive matters in the Pacific Ocean. The treaty was formed in response to what was perceived as a common threat in the Pacific region following World War I, and was signed on the 1st of September, 1951. The ANZUS Treaty was initially a full three-way defense pact between the nations, but following a dispute between the New Zealand and the United States over nuclear-powered ships docking in their ports, the treaty no longer applies between those two countries. The US-Australian alliance, however, is still in full force, and today the treaty is understood to relate to attacks in any area, not just the Pacific region.


Categories: ESSAYS, Sociology

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