So says the March-April resolution. Stay here for analysis, links, and quality discussions in the coming days and weeks.
The tempting Aff strategy will be to value Human Rights (which criterion? hmm...) while the Neg could turn the resolution, arguing that national sovereignty grounds rights. I predict a lot of talk about Iraq and Darfur and North Korea. More, much more, to come.
Update: The Aff might argue that, at least according to its own statement of principles, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN's core values are human dignity and human rights, "the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." As Article 2 states,
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.National sovereignty is a mask for oppression, and national boundaries are illusory when it comes to rights. For that reason alone, rights take precedence. In fact, as Article 28 declares,
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.Hence the UN's grounds for actions in violation of sovereignty.
Update 2/2: Some research terms, if you're looking for ideas in library catalogs:
Autonomy, Common heritage of mankind (International law), Decolonization, Government liability (International law), Immunities of foreign states, Jurisdiction (International law), Legitimacy of governments (or "governmental legitimacy"), Secession, Self-determination, National, Social contract, State rightsSuggest your own in the comments.
Update 2/4: Regarding what I wrote above, the Aff could argue that although the UN values rights, it also maintains strict neutrality because of its respect for sovereignty (and respects member nations' self-determination). This has led to the UN's ineffectiveness. To make the UN effective, give it more ability to violate sovereignty. (On the other hand, any arguments about whether the UN works are tangents, one could argue. It's what ought to be, not what is.)
Update 2/5: I discuss how Simon Caney's conception of "cosmopolitan justice" supports giving priority to human rights over national sovereignty in the context of international law.
Update 2/6: And then I give time to the alternate view by Margaret Moore.
Update 2/7: Some neighborhood bloggers are examining an issue that might serve as a test case for the resolution: whether we have a right to be free from religious defamation, a right some are pressing the UN to adopt as binding.
Update 2/9: Jerry Pubantz's "Constructing Reason: Human Rights and the Democratization of the United Nations" shows that the UN's mission to promote human rights isn't just a dream of western liberal elites.
Update 2/10: Stuart Elden's "Contingent Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity and the Sanctity of Borders" not only describes the UN's commitment to sovereignty, but offers four potentially interactive and different definitions of the term. A must-read.
Update 2/11: Ekaterina Kuznetsova's "Limit Sovereignty if the State Abuses It" offers justification for an Affirmative based on a value of Human Rights and a criterion of Humanitarian Law.
Also, William C. Gay explains why statism is "warist."
Update 2/15: I wonder how the Aff should define "global human rights," and point out potential Neg angles of attack.
Update 2/17: The SEP's articles on sovereignty and world government offer good background and potential Neg objections to violations of sovereignty, respectively. More on the latter soon. Also, Jürgen Habermas makes an appearance, talking about global values and imperialism.
Update 2/25: Is sovereignty obsolete? Does the World Court respect sovereignty? Does respecting sovereignty save lives?
Update 2/28: An article that may be of interest for those pursuing (or defending against) the balance neg.
Update 4/3: People are still debating it, so I'm still thinking about it. I discuss the Balance Neg.
(Looking for last month's resolution? Click here.)