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How do you write a speech pretending that you are speaking before the United Nations...

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jell111 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 3, 2013 at 11:48 PM via web

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How do you write a speech pretending that you are speaking before the United Nations about violations of humanitarian law?

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kipling2448 | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 4, 2013 at 12:12 AM (Answer #1)

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Following the end of World War II and the Holocaust, the newly-established United Nations General Assembly passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The purpose and wording of the declaration was to formally set forth a set of conditions and rights that were to apply to every human being.  These "human rights," established a legal and moral framework in which nations have subsequently discussed and debated humanitarian tragedies around the world.  It is also, unfortunately, exploited by authoritarian regimes to cast aspersions on democratic nations seeking to indict the former for human rights violations.

The problem with the United Nations and the weakness of the Universal Declaration rests with the fundamental flaw inherent in the organization.  The declaration, while serving as a useful rhetorical device, and while certainly representing the best of intentions, is largely toothless.  Consequently, if one is contemplating the substance of a scheduled address before the United Nations, the absence of an enforcement mechanism supporting the Universal Declaration is a place to begin.

Admittedly, the issue of enforcing U.N. declarations is much easier said than done, but that is grounded in the aforementioned flaw.  The only legally binding resolutions issued by the United Nations are those that come out of the U.N. Security Council.  Unfortunately, two of the five permanent, veto-holding members of the Council are Russia and China, who fundamentally oppose the notion of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.  If the U.N. Security Council can indict the leaders of less-developed nations for crimes against humanity, then the leaders of Russia and China, which have long histories of human rights violations on a massive scale, are also vulnerable to indictment.  Consequently, those two countries, except in rare circumstances, oppose binding resolutions, which, given their power to block the passage of such resolutions, means either no resolution at all, or one so watered down as to be meaningless.

A speech before the United Nations on human rights, therefore, could address the efficacy of effective resolutions, and the absence of an enforcement mechanism.

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