(039) THE EU AND HUMAN RIGHTS AT THE UN: 2011 REVIEW Cover Image

(039) THE EU AND HUMAN RIGHTS AT THE UN: 2011 REVIEW
(039) THE EU AND HUMAN RIGHTS AT THE UN: 2011 REVIEW

Author(s): Richard Gowan, Franziska Brantner
Subject(s): International Law, Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
Published by: ECFR European Council on Foreign Relations
Summary/Abstract: Over the last year, three major crises – Côte d’Ivoire, Libya and Syria – tested Europe’s ability to shape decision-making at the UN. The crisis in Côte d’Ivoire showed that China could be persuaded to support democracy and that Russia by itself lacked the leverage to hold up the Security Council indefinitely. The Libyan debate demonstrated the persistence of Western power in the UN system, even though the EU split over how to act. Ironically, although Europe was more united over Syria, this failed to translate into action as the non-Western powers reasserted themselves. Support for European positions on hu-man rights votes in the General Assembly stayed roughly level, but the EU also won important votes about gay rights and its own status as a bloc at the UN. The picture of the UN that emerges from these events is one of an institution in flux. While the UN has recently seemed to be drifting into bloc politics, this year coalitions formed on a crisis-by-crisis basis. This may foreshadow the emergence of an increasingly multipolar UN dominated by fluid diplomatic alliances. Although it sometimes struggles to maintain its own unity, the EU now has opportunities to build coalitions of states that can deliver action on human rights and crisis management – if it can overcome its own internal divisions.

  • Page Count: 14
  • Publication Year: 2011
  • Language: English