Introduction: The UN and the Protection of Human Rights


The essential premise of modern international human rights law is that there is still hope. Human rights activists today ask practical questions, not just philosophical ones. What specific, concrete actions can the world community, states, NGOs, and individuals take, and what mechanisms can they establish, to put an end to the madness?

In various ways, the contributors to the present colloquium address themselves to these fundamental questions. They come from different regions of the world, different professional experiences, and different personal backgrounds, but they have in common an unmistakable longing to solidify respect for human rights and the rule of law.

The first two papers take us, respectively, through the history and the decisionmaking structure of the United Nations. These two papers lay the foundation for the next eight, which focus more specifically on the human rights mission of the United Nations.


United Nations, Human rights, Washington University



Stephen H. Legomsky (Washington University School of Law)



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