The United Nations is an international organization whose stated goals are facilitating cooperation on issues of international law, international security, economic development, social progress, and human rights. The last issue has historically been one of the most difficult for the UN to deal with, and a significant amount of criticism has been levied at the organization’s Human Rights Committee, often regarded as a wholly ineffective group.
When dealing with issues of human rights violations, the United Nations has proven to be a cumbersome and ineffective vehicle of change and enforcement, with a majority of time spent on repetitive debate, rather than action. The failings of the Human Rights Committee in particular have been especially apparent as of late, with the ongoing atrocities in Libya and Syria.
Some of the major criticisms leveled at the Committee include the lack of regular meetings, the absence of hearings or adversarial proceedings, the lack of focus on individual rights, and the fact that the organization has no independent fact-finding capacity.
I plan to explore the failings of the United Nations, and more specifically, the Human Rights Committee, on the subject of human rights violations, viewed primarily through the lens of the recent Syrian and Libyan conflicts.