Hello Folks –
Gross violations of human rights include things such as torture, genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Actually, genocide and torture are two manifestations of Crimes against Humanity.
As you work through the material this week, think about why these are referred to as “gross” human rights violations. Is it because of the number of individuals who have been subjected to this particular denial of their rights? Is it because of the severity of the violence that typically characterizes such violations? Is it because, unfortunately, they have occurred throughout human history and, despite the assertion of “Never Again” at the end of WWII, have continued to occur?
With respect to both genocide and torture, please pay particular attention to the details in each definition found in the respective conventions.
As is noted in the GHR Reader, the events of WWII gave immediate rise to the Genocide Convention. However, those same atrocities did not immediately rise to the Convention against Torture – it took an additional 36 years. Do you agree or disagree with the analysis of why it took the international community 36 years to draft the Convention against Torture? What other reasons may there be for this?
Regarding the material on the ICC and The Rome Statute that created it, as you explore the website, familiarize yourself in general terms with the scope and nature of the ICC by clicking on the About and Situations, and Cases link in the menu bar. This entity is one of several international mechanisms for redress of grievance for human rights violations, along with parallel (and far older) courts in Europe, the Americas, and other regions.
Finally, do you think that crimes against humanity, such as the various genocides and torture, are more or less heinous than the less obvious “gross” violations of extreme poverty, sweatshops, or seemingly perpetual threats to personal security resulting from protracted armed conflict (Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, etc.)?
To revisit an earlier discussion, can human rights be prioritized, or does their interconnectedness require a more holistic approach to protection and promotion?