Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Mapping the ICCPR

The mention below of Pacific states not having joined the Convention Against Torture raised the question of what else they haven't signed up for. So, I did some digging. Below is a map of the members of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, one of the core UN human rights documents which served as the foundation for our own Bill of Rights Act:

(Click the map for a larger version. Source here)

Note the large gap in the South Pacific. Clearly something else our government should be trying to persuade our neighbours about.


I'd be rather more worried about china and to a lesser degree pakistain.

Posted by Genius : 6/27/2006 06:58:00 PM

Sure - but we have more influence over the South Pacific, and the governments there aren't overtly hostile to the whole idea of human rights.

That said, there was mention a while ago that part of our FTA negotiations with China involved pushing for them to ratify the ICCPR. Which, if it happens, would be a Good Thing.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/27/2006 11:31:00 PM

It's all well and good for countries to sign up to this covenant, however why aren't they taken to task over their murderous regimes?

For example, those countries that use the death penalty, incarcerate human beings, tolerate the existence of poverty and inequality, launch wars in other countries that instigates thousands of death and create billions of dollars of profits for war profiteers.

More importantly, any discussion of the UN requires an analysis of who holds power within that institution. The very existence of the Security Council as a rich countries club makes the whole thing a sham!

Posted by Anonymous : 6/27/2006 11:46:00 PM

Anon: they are. All of these human rights treaties include monitoring and reporting (typically a national communication which is examined and commente don by some body), which allows all but the most shameless governments to be gradually encouraged in the right direction by successive embarassment. It's slow, but it does help. (Those that sign the various Optional Protocols tend to have a sharper stick, as individuals can make direct complaints about them).

The Security Council doesn't have much to do with the human rights instruments.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/28/2006 12:36:00 AM

I agree it is useful, but there is little effort spent by the UN on seriously shaming the worst who have signed up. I am sure North Korea's signing has done nothing for the hundreds of thousands currently in what are probably the worst gulags the world has had since the Khmer Rouge was in power.

Posted by Libertyscott : 6/28/2006 08:11:00 PM

Libertyscott: the UN does speak up on this. But producing a real culture of shame would require the cooperation of the most powerful memberstates, which is difficult when they all pursue profitable relationships with some of the most abusive regimes.

And of course, the former beacon of global human rights wiping its arse with the justice and anti-torture provisions doesn't exactly help either.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/28/2006 10:49:00 PM