Have efforts of international law involving human rights developed or slowed down the construction of global civil society?
While the jury may still be out as to the ultimate effect of International Law on the construction of a global civil society, it is true that large scale changes to the world order and social paradigm take time to crystallize and find a functional form. Witness the original United States' original effort at finding a functional governmental form in the Articles of Confederation. It was slow to effect the construction of a new united society--then came the labor and effort behind the Constitution of the United States of America. Therefore it may be premature to pass a verdict on the presence or lack of effectiveness of International law on a global civil society--mush may still need defining and discovering.
We cannot rest importance to the efforts of international law. However, we must understand that there is so much international law can do. After all what they intend to do is purely philosophical whereas there are hundreds of whacked out dictators out there waiting for any law to be presented so that they can bend it whichever way they wish.
This being said, it all rests on the shoulders of each individual leader and whatever is their goal for their country or nation. The good news is that international law is there and aims for its enforcement. The rest is based on human agency.
I think unfortunately that I have to agree with #4 and #5. I don't think that the recent rise in rhetoric regarding human rights has actually been backed up in the way it should have been by international action. Let us remember that when the USA played the human rights card to justify its invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Congo had and still has one of the worst African dictators committing horrendous human rights abuses. Likewise, superpowers conveniently overlook the human rights abuses of nations such as Russia and China. It sounds very good to support human rights, but unfortunately little action is being taken to back it up.
Civil society is defined differently in different countries. Human rights may also be interpreted differently, depending on your definition of what is included under that broad topic. Women live with very distinct expectations and roles in Islamic countries, which does not mean they are deprived of human rights but that the role of women is structured differently from the role of men. International law, aside from the enforcement difficulties mentioned in previous posts, has very little authority to say that a culture's particular value system is or is not acceptable in a global society.
Unfortunately international law has had little to no effect on improvement in human rights conditions, or the construction of anything closer to the global civil society you refer to.
I believe this is mainly due to the fact that there is no real enforcement mechanism or body in place to ensure such laws are followed, or that violators are apprehended, punished, or coerced into following them. The leaders of North Korea, Libya and Syria are currently very isolated and are clearly in constant violation of international humanitarian laws, but the world has been very unsuccessful at influencing or changing their actions or policies.
I don't think that it has done either. Efforts towards human rights law have created a global society among those who work towards human rights. However, this is a subset of people. The efforts have also worked to create tensions among those with different visions of what human rights are. The effort to create laws that define human rights have caused there to be conflict between countries and groups that try to enforce a given vision of these rights and those who do not think those visions are valid.
I don't see international law as having stopped or slowed down the idea of a global civil society. I think that international law's emphasis on human rights has become in line with the idea of a globalized setting in the paradigm of globalization. I think that there was a time when people could not embrace the idea of a "global institution" or a "global concept" of universality. Nations and individuals were afraid of the loss of border, national autonomy, and other regional issues. Now, with the emergence of information technology, a globalized reality that encompasses nearly all aspects of consciousness, people are more willing and ready to embrace the idea of "internationalism" and the paradigm that international law with respect to human rights offers. The concept of human rights as being advanced as a universal standard on a global level has been enhanced by the globalized setting. One is now open to seeing organizations clamor for change around the world with regard to human rights, and being able to use international law for support helps such a cause. The global civil society is embraced with the globalization concept, one that preaches the idea that the world is both smaller and bigger, where national differences are subsumed by the internationalist concept. This is something that is enhanced with international law's treatment of human rights, something that falls under the reality of globalization.