Re: What is the human rights movement?
Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch since 1993, has investigated human rights abuses around the globe, with special expertise on issues of justice and accountability for atrocities committed in the quest for peace; military conduct in war under the requirements of international humanitarian law; counterterrorism policy including resort to torture and arbitrary detention; the human rights policies of the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations; and the human rights responsibilities of multinational businesses. Mr. Roth has published more than 100 articles and chapters on a range of human rights topics. Before joining HRW as deputy director in 1987, Mr. Roth was a federal prosecutor for both the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and the Iran-Contra investigation in Washington. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University.
Transcript:Well the purpose of the human rights movement is to increase the cost of human rights abuse. The human rights movement tends to operate in countries where there is no functioning legal system. If you can go to court and sue the bastards, you will call in the local version of the ACLU, and they’ll bring you to court and vindicate your rights that way. But in most of the places where Human Rights Watch works, or where groups that are, you know, part of the international human rights movement work, there is no legal system to speak of. The judges have been killed, or compromised, or corrupted, and so you can’t go to court to vindicate your rights. And so as a result, the human rights movement has had to develop a methodology aimed at forcing the political branches of government – the executive and the legislative branches – to respect the rights that they’re . . . they vowed to uphold. Because after all it’s not the judges that . . . that subscribe to the . . . the human rights. It’s the entire government. But we’re used to, in the United States, thinking about going to court to vindicate our rights. And the human rights movement really goes to the political branches. And we essentially say, you know, you may have your reasons for violating rights. It may be a convenient way to get rid of that pesky opposition, or to . . . to repress that troublesome ethnic group. But we’re gonna raise the cost, and we’re gonna do that by exposing your abuses so that we harm your reputation. We’re gonna do it by going to powerful governments and getting them to enlist . . . to use their diplomatic or their economic pressure; to . . . to make it more costly for you to violate human rights; and in extreme cases – in cases like genocide or crimes against humanity – we’re actually gonna get you guys prosecuted. We’re gonna go to an international tribunal and get you indicted, and potentially spend a lot of time in jail for committing these atrocities. And those methods of raising the cost of human rights abuse are the way that the human rights movement forces governments that might not otherwise be inclined to respect rights to, in fact, do what they should do and uphold the rights to which they formally subscribe.
Roth talks about the dangerous work of human rights workers.
The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?
- Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
- While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
- The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
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