THE DIPLOMACY OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE 21ST CENTURY

achamila press- H. E. Dr. Lawson Victor Tom
The Kingdom of New Atlantis Continental Ambassador to Africa and Nigeria Ambassador

THE DIPLOMACY OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE 21ST CENTURY

How does diplomacy promote human rights

Human rights and humanitarian diplomacy is defined as the negotiating, bargaining, and advocating process associated with the promotion and protection of international human rights and humanitarian principles. There are important legal and operational distinctions between human rights and humanitarianism

The issue of Human Rights features as a prominent agenda of the United Nations and its related international organizations. However, when it comes to precise formulation of a country’s foreign policy in bilateral or multilateral forums, the issues of trade and national security find priority over pressing human rights violations occurring within the countries engaged in the diplomatic dialogue. An often-employed reason behind such an approach is the need to respect sovereignty and non-interference of a country in diplomacy. This article aims at analysing the potential which diplomacy holds to pressurize recalcitrant regimes to respect human rights. In doing so, the article tries to explore the ambit of Human Rights Diplomacy and the relationship between agenda of politics and human rights

The complexity of devising a foreign policy revolves around balancing and prioritizing among different agendas, security, trade and health issues being the primary ones, which often feature in the bilateral and multilateral forums. Although a number of United Nations (UN) resolutions have been passed on the agenda of basic human rights, bilateral diplomatic ties are rarely built on the basis of human rights issues alone. When it comes to precise formulation of a country’s foreign policy in bilateral or multilateral forums, the issues of trade and national security find priority over pressing human rights issues occurring within the countries engaged in the diplomatic dialogue. An often-employed reason behind such an approach is the need to respect sovereignty and non-interference of a country in diplomacy. It would be unfair to give a blanket statement that human rights issues are ignored altogether in foreign policies, but the fact remains that when it comes to pressurizing recalcitrant regimes to respect human rights, diplomatic ties have not been terminated based solely on the grounds of human rights violations in the other state. Human rights activists have often accused developed nations of hypocrisy for ignoring human rights violation for political convenience, even on issues that these nations are otherwise very vocal about. These developed countries are accused of not only ignoring grave human rights abuses but also of actively forming bilateral alliances with abusive governments for various trade-centric aspects

However, narrowly focusing on the so-called hypocrisy in formulation of diplomatic relations would lose sight of the big picture at hand, the potential that diplomacy holds for raising the standards of human lives. In the field of international relations, it should be realized that distancing foreign policy agendas away from politics is a futile exercise, and it is an unwarranted one as well. Diplomacy is about politics, and so is the issue of Human Rights. As noted, international law scholar Louis Henkin states, the concept of human rights is a political one based on interpersonal morality and should express a prevailing relationship between society and the individual. An understanding of human rights must focus on politics, for politics and morality are not ideologically disjunctive. Moreover, advancing important agendas through the tool of diplomacy warrants importance to the fact that diplomacy functions around the fulcrum of reciprocity

This discussion of the diplomatic dimension-the foreign politics of human rights-addresses (1) the nature of this new transnational issue, (2) possible approaches and their effects, and (3) problems that complicate promotion of human rights

The diplomacy of human rights is as timeless as the appeal of the Declaration of Independence and as timely as the latest arrest of a political dissident

Diplomacy of human rights seeks to explore the notion, dimensions and means of human rights diplomacy.While traditional diplomacy is associated with the pursuit of national interests by states in their foreign policy, human rights diplo-macy is the utilisation of diplomatic negotiation and persuasion for the speci c purpose of promoting and protecting human rights. It involves a strategy of engagement with a range of actors whose goals and interests concerning human rights may be different. Accordingly, human rights diplomacy aims at both persuading counterparts to introduce measures to advance the implementation of human rights and dis-suading them from taking action that is contrary to human rights. In many cases, in particular in inter-state interaction, an element of reciprocity is part of human rights diplomacy. Today, human rights diplomacy can involve a range of actors, not limited to classic diplomats such as representatives of states and inter-governmental organisations. Among them are also non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other representatives of civil society, national human rights institutions (NHRIs), academic institutions, human rights experts, parlia-mentarians, religious group

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