Archive | November, 2012

These times, they are a’changing

25 Nov

I was reading another blog post today that was wondering whether the United Nations really should be in charge of cybercrime. It noted that we do have the UN Declaration on Human Rights. Which is correct, yes, there is that instrument. But the UN as a body isn’t bound by it. Not to go into too much technical detail (because that’s not the point of this post – wait for it, I’ll get there in a minute), but it’s addressed “all peoples and all nations”, not international organisations. They hold a very special place in international law, importantly in not being sovereign states. And it’s been an issue many have been wondering about for a long time, not only in relation to the UN. The role and position of international organisations today has never been seen before in our globalised world, further reaching than your lowly nation state often (but they’re not nation states – get the point?). While these bodies may produce standards which Member States must uphold and promote, many people have been looking at these organisations and noting that they don’t always uphold that same standard themselves in their work.

But things are changing. The European Union is set to be the first international organisation to become a party to a human rights treaty when the EU accedes to the European Convention on Human Rights. This is absolutely amazing in my opinion. The issues it brings up – how you go about this in reality – are fascinating and the implications are enormous. I’m very excited. They’re not the only international organisation that’s looking into this, though. The UN has also had reviews on ensuring its operations abide by the relevant international requirements and there’s been one too many reports on failing to maintain these standards, if you ask me (like this recent one, for example).

And at the same time as people are looking at the operations of international organisations in a different more critical way, we’ve also seen masses of people questioning their governments through protests. The past two years have seen movements for change across the globe in an astonishing way. Sure, protests happen all the time, but the kind of reform that has swept the world recently, from ruling systems being completely transformed, to the fundamental changes in how the critical structures of society are run, makes this time something different.

We’re in revolutionary times, people, when the entire system we know has the potential for change. Everything’s going through a huge shack up. And isn’t it exciting to see what the result will be.

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