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5 How Far and Fast Can We Push the Frontier of Human Rights Observance?

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Chapter Summary

Discussion of widening and deepening humanity's observance of human rights must at the onset come to terms with those two observations. A UNESCO document of 1949 spoke of "the antiquity and broad acceptance of the conception of human rights", and suggested that the discussion of such rights goes right back to the beginnings of philosophy in both the East and the West. Following the carnage of the First World War, one might have expected a resurgence of concern for human rights. But neither at the Versailles peace conference nor in the Charter of the League of Nations did they find a place. International Criminal Court, meant to deal with future war crimes and crimes against humanity, is openly being undercut by the US which has used all manner of threats to weaken its reach, particularly in the hypothetical direction of the US itself.

Keywords: crimes against humanity; First World War; human rights; International Criminal Court; UN Charter; UNESCO; Versailles peace conference



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