Unit 7 International institutions and human rights (Jack Rigby)


International organisations are big institutions that have a wide role in matters such as defence, human rights and economics. These organisations include:

·         The United Nations (NU)

·         The European Union (EU)

·         The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

·         The World Bank

·         The Red Cross

·         Greenpeace

·         Amnesty International

·         Liberty

P1, M1 & D1:

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation – NATO rose because of the growing power of the Soviet Union after the Second World War because of the part the country played in defeating Germany. NATO was originally designed to defend Europe against Russia and it’s allies. The threat from the Russia had gone by the end of the 1980’s so another role was given to NATO in defence against terrorist threats to the US, Canada and Europe.                                 Because Britain has a big part in NATO this means that the British government has to be prepared to send our armed forces wherever NATO thinks there is a need for them.

The World Bank – The World Bank is not an actual bank where money is kept, it is made up of two organisations:

·         The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)

·         The International Development Association(IDA)

It’s owned by 186 nations and was created at the same time as NATO after the Second World War. Today it has more than 10,000 employees all over the world. The main purpose of the World Bank is to decrease global poverty by giving loans to countries to develop in areas such as agriculture, healthcare, education, industry and environmental development.

Amnesty International – Amnesty International is a non-governmental organisation (NGO). Their main focus is:

·         To free prisoners of the death penalty

·         To ensure fair and trials for political prisoners

·         To get rid of the death penalty

·         To stop extra-judicial executions

Greenpeace – The Greenpeace Environmental Trust is a NGO. It uses non-violent protests to highlight global problems. It was set up to examine the effect of human activities on the environment, make information known to the public and help get rid of illness and pain of humans and animals caused by the environment.

Liberty – Liberty, similar to Amnesty International only Liberty only operates in England and Wales. It was created with the purpose of protecting civilian liberties and promoting human rights.

Rights are certain things that an individual is entitled to based on fairness and justice. In many countries basic rights are written down in a constitution but in others such as ours we have them defined by legislation. Many organisations look into human rights and look at how people are treated across the world such as Liberty and Amnesty International. There are also many agreements that set out the rights that countries should afford their citizens.


P2 & M2:  The Geneva Convention – The Geneva Convention was set up to protect agencies and wounded soldiers from further attack during the Second World War. So the society of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Geneva Convention were established.

The first and second Geneva Conventions had similar purposes:

·         To care for sick and wounded

·         Both sides must treat enemy casualties as if their own

·         The dead should not be left to rot

·         The dead should be identified and their possessions kept

·         Health facilities should not be attacked

The Third Geneva Convention told us what should happen if a member of the armed forces gets captured by the enemy becoming a prisoner:

·         To not give away any unnecessary information

·         Treated humanely

·         To be able to tell the Red Cross and next of kin of their situation

·         To be allowed to contact family

·         To be supplied with food and clothes 

·         To get medical treatment

The Fourth Geneva Convention dealt with the protection of civilians in the time of war, the main points were:

·         To be treated humanely

·         Entitled to respect for religious practices and family

·         Allowed to practise religion

·         To not be discriminated because of race or religion

·         Not to be forced to give information

·         Not to be used to shield military operations

·         To not be raped, assaulted

·         To not be punished for crimes not committed

Universal Declaration of Human Rights – The UN declaration was created to make countries treat prisoners with fairness and dignity in times of peace and conflict. The declaration stated the importance of civil, political, economic and social rights to all people regardless of colour, religion, nationality, gender or sexuality. The declaration is important world-wide and is probably one of the most important documents ever written. Nations are measured by the standards set out from the declaration.

European Convention on Human Rights - This treaty was created by members of the council of Europe in 1950. EU nations must abide by it; it was designed in the Second World War and was set to help encourage EU nations to comply. It contains rights that are included under the Human Rights Act which I will now come on to.

Human Rights Act 1998 – This law was designed to include everything out of the ECHR and put them into British law. Which basically means that everything stated in the ECHR  can now be put into actions in British courts. These include:

·         The right to life

·         No torture or mistreatment

·         Freedom from slavery

·         Right to liberty

·         Right to a fair trial

·         No punishment without law

·         Right to respect private and family life

·         Right to freedom of thought

·         Right to freedom of expression

·         The right to marry and have a family

·         The right to property

·         The right to an education

·         The right to free elections

The major effect of the act was to individual human rights at the centre of public life, people could now take action if they felt their human rights had been violated. This had a huge impact on the public services because they are described as a public authority in the human rights. This means that the police and other agencies that are described as a public authority can now be challenged in courts over their behaviour and they conduct themselves in a day to day environment.


P3: Human rights are abused in every nation such as torture, genocide, war crimes etc. They even happen in places like the UK and the USA. When human rights breaches happen there are actions put into place by the international community to catch the people responsible. The UN has to do something about the matter, one of the rights they have to put sanctions with the hope of maintaining peace and also security. For example they can cut off a certain supply of materials being shipped into a country which they may need in order to grow food and hopefully this will make they comply to the UN rules on a certain issue.

Conclusion: I conclude that human rights are very important as they give us the basic privileges of life. During the Second World War and before they didn’t have these privileges and it was only recently that they were put into effect and made into a law. That said there are still violations of human rights today and there are many things being done to try and stop this.

 
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