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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

GOVT 81.25 Defying Convention: Human Rights in the United States and the United Nations

U.N. human rights treaties enjoy both strong support and strong opposition in the United States. The U.S. is the only country in the world that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and is one of six countries that have not ratified the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)—putting America in the company of Iran, Palau, Somalia, Sudan and Tonga (as well as the Holy See and the “freely-associated state” of Niue). Nonetheless, the U.S. has ratified three of nine U.N. human rights treaties—the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention against Torture (CAT) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)—as well as the Genocide Convention. What explains this variation, and what difference does ratification make? The course will examine broader questions about American politics by looking through the lens of efforts to ratify these treaties and interact with the UN. We will examine the history of human rights within the UN, the development of the treaties, and US efforts to ratify them. We will explore the impact of ratification and the role of human rights in American foreign policy. Our aim will be to produce research that informs public debate and contributes to the scholarly literature.



Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:SOC; WCult:W

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.