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
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
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?
Since 1980, the number of inmates housed in American prisons has quadrupled to over two million people. The number of people on parole or probation has also dramatically increased during this time to nearly five million adults. The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world with .743% of its population behind bars (Squidoo). This unstable situation is caused by certain US laws which contribute to an increased duration of incarceration and mandatory jail time for some non-violent offenders.
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
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.
To continue my research for my white paper I came to realize I may have to broaden my topic. While my first proposal focused very specifically on the societal benefits of organic/sustainable food sources, I have come to terms with the fact that I may need to branch out. While staying in conjunction with that original topic I believe it makes sense to slowly expand to the overarching issues of food production in our nation (which undoubtedly affects the entire world). For this week’s proposal I will focus on the government involvement with Proposition 37- a simple “right to know” initiative that requires food that is genetically engineered or contains genetically modified organisms to be labeled. Continue reading