Reforming the United Nations Human Rights Council


Aside from the fact that they meet in a building with a pretty awesome ceiling, the United Nations is one of the most significant international organizations in the world. And while it has many different areas of focus, one of the most culturally, socially, and morally significant ones is human rights abuses. Continue reading

White Paper – Proposal #3

Kofi Annan, one of the most vocal critics of the original United Nations Human Rights Commission.

One aspect of the United Nation’s attempts to deal with international violations of human rights that I want to deal with is the transition from the UN Human Rights Commission to the UN Human Rights Council. The Commission was established in 1946, with the intended focus of promoting human rights and helping states elaborate treaties. However, criticism of the organization was so severe that in 2007, it was replaced by the newly formed Human Rights Council. That criticism was rooted in the fact that certain members of the Commission were some of the worst human rights violators. Those states would often “band together to block investigations into their own records – or those of their allies” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty). Continue reading


My grandmother has a bunch of my dad’s old comics in her attic, and I remember reading one where Superman decides to destroy all of the world’s nuclear weapons. Now unfortunately, we don’t have a superhero to help us solve our problems, but it got me thinking. What if every country disposed of their nukes? No hidden weapons reserves, no nuclear facilities. What if they were all just…gone?

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Paper #2 – The ethics (or lack thereof) of the United States Congress

The United States Congress is arguably the most powerful legislative body in the country, responsible for financial and budgetary policy, national defense, and the oversight of the Executive Branch. And in August of 2012, its approval rating amongst Americans was 10% (Gallup 2012), a thirty-eight year low. Yet despite this appallingly low rating, members of Congress have historically been re-elected over ninety percent of the time (Congress of the United States 2012). Such a dichotomy seems absurd- if the American people are so thoroughly disgusted with their government representatives, why have they continued to re-elect them? And with such widespread public disapproval centered on Washington, why have those representatives not altered their behavior?

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White Paper – Proposal #2

As you’ve probably realized, I’m a big fan of political cartoons. I find that tongue-in-cheek humor is one of the best ways to address an otherwise serious issue, an effective way to stimulate debate. This particular cartoon addresses one of the major aspects of my white paper- the unfair distribution of power within the United Nations, and the effect it has on the organization’s ability to respond to human rights violations. Continue reading

The United Nations: Comedic Fodder

Finding images of the United Nations was not difficult- a simple Google image search uncovered photos of the building itself, the international delegates, and various protesters. However, the real magic can be found in the political cartoons that take aim at the organization, my favorite of which is below. There are also three more behind the cut that I simply had to include.

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White Paper Topic – Ineffectiveness of the United Nations

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.

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Show me an honest politician and I’ll show you a man with no job.

It’s too bad that Abraham Lincoln is off hunting vampires. As of August of this year, only one in ten Americans approve of the job that the United States Congress is doing. With such starkly low support, how do the same representatives continue to be reelected? And if Congress cannot reach any agreement of substance, why are we still paying them?

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Whatever happened to “Do No Harm”?

Arizona has been making headlines recently for passing several controversial laws that cover a host of different social issues. However, I was shocked to discover that the law that I find most objectionable was also passed in Kansas, and has been in effect in Oklahoma for the past two years. This law was passed in Arizona in early March of this year. The law protects doctors from being sued if they withhold medical information about a pregnancy that might lead the mother to consider abortion.

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