Time to Give Up on the New U.N. Human Rights Council?

by Julian Ku

The NYT has a depressing but somewhat predictable piece today pummelling the new U.N. Human Rights Council. As the article notes, the new Council has focused almost exclusively on condemning Israel while turning a blind eye to any other potential human rights violator.

This debate is getting old. Rather than whining about the U.N., etc., a more interesting question whether there could ever be a Human Rights Council with a broad-based membership that achieves fundamental agreement on the applicability of universal human rights norms. The consistent failure of this or any HRC to achieve broad consensus is not necessarily the result of political machinations by “bad” countries. Rather, it may reflect the more unsettling reality that there is no serious or broad consensus on what those norms are, despite lots of claims contained in human rights treaties to the contrary.


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