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Promoting Human Rights (Roundtable)

Ethics & International Affairs 2002, Oct, 16, 2

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All wars--and the current war on terrorism is no exception--provide serious tests for the rule of law. The demands of armed conflict, with its instantaneous decisions of life and death, do not lend themselves easily to legal constraint. It is thus not surprising that the United States, which has been outspoken historically on matters of human rights, would become less attentive to those concerns after coming under deadly attack. For Human Rights Watch (HRW) and other human rights organizations, the primary concern since September 11 has been to demonstrate that upholding fundamental rights, whether on the battlefields of Afghanistan or in the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, is not only consistent with fighting international terrorism, but is, in essence, what the war is all about. The unwillingness of the Bush administration to embrace this idea bodes ill for the protection of rights as the war on terrorism reaches across the globe. In many respects HRW's approach to September 11 and its aftermath merely draws on previous work. The civil war in Afghanistan and rights abuses by the Taliban had long been a focus. After September 11, however, new urgency was given to investigating violations of international humanitarian law (the laws of war) by the various armed forces in Afghanistan and the treatment of refugees in Pakistan and Iran. HRW's examination of the U.S.-led air campaign in Afghanistan built on previous studies done following the Gulf War and Kosovo. The post-September 11 climate has also given new prominence to human rights issues in the United States, such as hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims and the arbitrary detention of noncivilians under immigration laws.

Promoting Human Rights (Roundtable)
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  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Politics & Current Affairs
  • Published: 01 October 2002
  • Publisher: Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs
  • Print Length: 10 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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