Failing to Protect

The UN and the Politicisation of Human Rights

Rosa Freedman



Failing to Protect Hardback
May 2014
9781849044103 / 224pp / £50.00
Failing to Protect Paperback
May 2014
9781849044097 / 224pp / £16.99
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Every year tens of millions of individuals suffer grave abuses of their human rights. These violations occur worldwide, in war-torn countries and in the wealthiest states. Despite many of the abuses being well-documented, little seems to be done to stop them from happening. The United Nations was established to safeguard world peace and security, development, and human rights yet it is undeniable that currently is it failing to protect the rights of a great many people –– from the victims of ethnic cleansing, to migrants, those displaced by war and women who suffer horrendous abuse. This book looks at the reasons for that failure. Using concrete examples intertwined with explanations of the law and politics of the UN, Rosa Freedman offers clear explanations of how and why the Organisation is unable, at best, or unwilling, at worst, to protect human rights. Written for a non-specialist audience, her book also seeks to explain why certain countries and political blocs manipulate and undermine the UN’s human rights machinery. Failing to Protect demonstrates the urgent need for radical reform of the machinery of human rights protection at the international level.

‘Set up in 1945 as an organisation of, by, and for states, the United Nations has never made good on the human rights ideals its charter first proclaimed. As Rosa Freedman shows in this excellent book, organised hypocrisy persists, in spite of the creation of a new Human Rights Council in 2006 to overcome a checkered past. Freedman’s sobering account demonstrates why more creative thinking about new approaches is a critical task for our time.’ — Samuel Moyn, Harvard University, author of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History

Rosa Freedman is a lecturer at Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham. She is the author of The United Nations Human Rights Council: A Critique and Early Assessment and has published many academic and media articles on the UN, international law and human rights. http://rosafreedman.com/