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Human Rights à la Chinoise: Impressions from the 6th Human Rights Forum in Beijing on the Eve of the Second UPR of China, Part II

This is the second part of a post on the Beijing Human Rights Forum held in September 2013 in anticipation of the upcoming Universal Periodic Review of China. Part I introduced the pending Review, described recent human-rights-related legal reform in China, and summarized governmental attitudes on human rights expressed at the Forum. (photo credit) Voices against human rights universalism The most vocal human rights relativist at the Forum was Lord Davidson of Glen Clova, House of Lords, UK, a former General Advocate for Scotland. He asked the question “Is it correct to regard human rights as universal?”, and answered it with a vigorous “no”, drawing on examples of prisoners’ voting rights, same-sex marriages, and the like. Professor Li-Ann THIO from Singapore gave another powerful human rights-relativist talk. According to professor Thio, the goal should be human welfare, whether through human rights or other venues. The focus should be more on results, more on “doing good than on feeling good”. Professor Thio concluded with the question that…

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Can the United States Deny Sudanese President Bashir a Visa to Attend the UN General Assembly or Arrest Him?

The Sudanese Government has applied to the United States for a visa that will enable Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to attend the United Nations General Assembly session which starts this week (see BBC report here). The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Bashir in 2009 and whenever he has travelled abroad since then questions…

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Mothers of Srebrenica: The Obligation to Prevent Genocide and Jus Cogens – Implications for Humanitarian Intervention

Manuel J. Ventura is a Director of The Peace and Justice Initiative and Dapo Akande is editor of EJIL:Talk! The June 2013 decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Stichting Mothers of Srebrenica and Others v. The Netherlands is the latest phase in the attempts by the relatives…

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Mr. Kadi and Article 103 (A Poem)

Professor James Crawford SC FBA is Whewell Professor of International Law at the University of Cambridge While wandering through a wadi in the wastes of Saudi I came across Mr Kadi cracking rather hardy. I said ‘you must feel blue at what they’ve done to you’; he said to me…

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What is the Meaning of “Consensus” in International Decision Making?

On 28 March, the negotiators at the Final UN Diplomatic Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty failed to adopt the Arms Trade Treaty (see BBC report here) by consensus.  A few days later the Arms Trade Treaty was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (by a vote of 154 in favour, three against and 23 abstentions…

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