KLATSKY ENDOWED LECTURE IN HUMAN RIGHTS, PRESENTED BY THE U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, PRINCE ZEID RA'AD AL-HUSSEIN.

Author:Zeid Bin Ra'ad, Prince of Jordan
Position::The Art of International Law
 
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CONTENTS I. LECTURE INTRODUCTION II. 2016 KLATSKY ENDOWED LECTURE IN HUMAN RIGHTS I. LECTURE INTRODUCTION

It is with great humility that I join in welcoming you to this year's "Klatsky Lecture" on the fifteenth anniversary of its endowment. I had hoped to be with you today, but a family wedding in California has prevented this.

I am thrilled to have the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights as our speaker. His participation is a clear indication of the importance of the Law School and this program in supporting the work of Human Rights advocates across the globe. I am thrilled that the Commissioner has joined the likes of Harold Koh and my dear friend Ken Roth (Executive Director of Human Rights Watch) in addressing you on a critical issue of our day.

It is hard to believe that 1 am now approaching the fiftieth anniversary of my graduation from "Reserve." This institution played a pivotal role in not only my, but my wife's life. When I was able and felt it was imperative to give something back to CWRU, my passion for human rights and the blossoming of the Law School, in all areas, particularly international law, seemed a perfect marriage.

Our endowed lecture series and fellowships at Human Rights Watch have thrived over the years and this area of law is particularly relevant today, as I believe a focus on the basic rights of all people is one of the most important weapons we have to fight the horror of global terrorism.

With that, I express my great appreciation to Co-Dean Michael Scharf, who has embraced this program with his normal enthusiasm and great intellect. Again, I express my thanks and appreciation to the Commissioner for addressing you today.

I hope to meet many of you next year and our Fellows this summer either in New York or Washington.

Thank you and my best wishes to you all!

  1. 2016 KLATSKY ENDOWED LECTURE IN HUMAN RIGHTS

Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al-Husse ([dagger])

I am honored to have been chosen to deliver the Klatsky Human Rights lecture, and to accept, on behalf of all my colleagues at the United Nations Human Rights Office, the Award for Advancing Global Justice.

This is a deep and moving tribute, for justice--global justice--means, as you all know, more than simply law alone. For laws themselves can be commandeered for supporting that which is unjust and unworthy of us. Laws have upheld slavery, apartheid, the persecution of others, segregation and the like. Laws that have been both hideous in conception and implemented often without remorse.

Legality is not enough. Justice--maintained by the rule of law, upholding fundamental human freedoms, the equal and inalienable rights with which every human is born--is our necessary condition. To achieve this--to promote and protect the civil, political, economic, social and cultural human rights of every woman, man and child--is the mandate of my Office.

A vast mandate. Humbling really. The work of monitoring, fact-finding and reporting confronts us with harrowing details of torture, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, sexual violence, slavery and murder. So many people suffer so much, from discrimination and torture. Only a week ago, I joined the board of the U.N. Voluntary Fund for the Victims of Torture in discussion, and heard from a group of extraordinary experts, one of whom was tortured as a child, how in this twenty-first century of ours, there were still security forces designing and then engineering specific tools to be used in the torturing of children. I was nauseated.

And then there is the tyranny and capture of political institutions that grind so many people into servility, and the waging of war with no regard for the protection of frightened civilians--not to mention the squalor and deprivation which the vast majority of humanity is forced to experience.

As we advocate for the rights of people to hold their governments to account, we challenge some of the most formidable forces in the world. Despite the massive advances that humanity has notched up--against poverty and disease, against prejudice, against oppression--millions of people, from the manicured avenues of Paris to shanty-towns in Peru, face injustices every day of their lives. No country has an unblemished record of respect for human rights, and every violation suffered is being inflicted unnecessarily, by institutions and authorities which fail to protect their people.

Like many of my colleagues, I often feel overwhelmed by the work we must do, given the misery and inexhaustible cruelties with which we must deal. It would be pleasant for us to retreat--if only for a moment, occasionally--into indifference and slumber. And yet as Elie Wiesel tells us, "We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." And many of you will have seen the bumper-sticker: No justice, no peace. Where there is no justice, there is no stable, sustainable security for anyone, and nobody can truly say they sleep easy.

The cruel mockery and paranoid bombast of Radovan Karadzic strut through the nightmares of his many, many surviving victims. Justice was a long time coming for him.

Two decades after his role in the atrocities which...

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