Feb 1, 2007

the United Nations' obligation to protect global human rights ought to be valued above its obligation to respect national sovereignty

"Resolved: The United Nations' obligation to protect global human rights ought to be valued above its obligation to respect national sovereignty."

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 rights
Suggest 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.)

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

For those interested in human rights in North Korea and China, some other good sites:

http://www.familycare-foundation.org/
http://grantmontgomery.blogspot.com/
http://freekorea.us/

Nicole said...

(First: this is Nicole, from the e-mail about Objectivism as an answer to a Capitalism criterion. Hi!)

I think the most basic argument on the aff is going to be that at the point we allow some greater body (specifically the UN) the ability-- or even the right-- to violate national sovereignty then what bounds can we place on nations that aren't members to prevent them from doing the same. The jurisdiction of the UN technically can only apply to its members. It sets up the precedent that as long as there is some type of higher authority, then there is no check on what that higher authority can or can not do. National sovereignty is the only thing that is a feasible check on higher governing bodies thus preventing them from going in and doing what they will.

(This resolution reminds me of a disad that my partner and I ran two years; the CX resolution was about UN peacekeeping operations.)

Jim Anderson said...

Nicole, do you mean "Neg" when you write "Aff?" It sounds like you're advocating national sovereignty as a check on potential abuses by "higher powers," and thus to be valued above their commitments to "global human rights." Or am I mistaken?

Nicole said...

Yes, sorry, I meant to put neg. Guess I wasn't too awake yet.

jane said...

urgh. this is the one they come up with for states? this is not nearly as fun as the last one.

from neg can you argue that the resolution is pointless because it doesn't matter the un is still incapable of actually doing anything about its values?

but truly for neg - should something be more powerful than its source? i'm having a hard time for neg...

Jim Anderson said...

jane, I agree that this resolution isn't as fun, though I can't pin down exactly why.

An affirmative might respond to your UN-sucks objection by saying that the resolution is about ideals--oughts, not is-es. They could argue that in the Aff world, the UN would become much more effective--that its principled neutrality and overabundance of compromise (because of respect for nat. sov.) is keeping it from being truly effective.

Anonymous said...

As above mentioned, a good stance for the Neg. could be that affirming the resolution would require that the U.N. acquire too much power. Another (possible) slant is that the very ideals being advocated are contradictory to the process. Look at the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (there's a link above). Article 30 states "Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein." However, Article 20, Clause 2 states that "No one may be compelled to belong to an association." By protecting global rights in place of national sovereignty, it goes without saying that the U.N. would be forcing its authority on some states that are currently not member nations. Couldn't this be considered "compelling someone to belong to an association"? Wouldn't this violate the mandate set down in Article 30, and therefore make the U.N. itself in this case an unjust body?

Just a bit of food for thought, so feel free to chew it up and spit it out again.

Jane said...

maybe...but look at the blatant abuse of human rights in some of those states - the affirmative could say that's exactly WHY human rights ought to be valued above national sovereignty.

But remember for neg - you don't have to claim national sovereignty as the paramount obligation - you could say equal - balance is good.

Anonymous said...

Yah. I ran a balanced neg last tournament and got 1st. I dont know if it will hold up against better competition though. What do you guys think?

Jim Anderson said...

Anonymous, I haven't worked out all the issues in my mind about the balance neg, though I think intuitively it's more defensible than reversing the resolution.

Could the Aff devise a scenario in which the obligation to protect HR and the obligation to respect NS pull in opposite directions? How do you achieve "balance" in a tug-of-war, or a moral dilemma? What if "balance" equals inaction?

Jane said...

good question - inaction is not something to advocate with this resolution i think.

I'm having a very difficult time nailing down a negative case. National Sovereignty is one of the best way of protecting HR - yet obviously the aff is going to talk about situations in which NS is not providing adequate HR. Can something (NS) be valued equally to HR and still be undermined in certain circumstances? Can you argue "situational" with this resolution? Hmm...interesting.

There are tournaments going on with this resolution? Where?

Anonymous said...

I need a little help any ideas

Anonymous said...

For another possible negative slant, is there any way to say that the protection of human rights is the duty of a government alone, and the U.N. (in holding national sovereignty of equal value to protecting human rights) should make it an obligation to see a government carries out that duty, rather than taking it over themselves? As far as a supporting theory, John Locke's SC might work (I'm not very well versed in it, though) and then provide examples where direct intervention has been a disaster (Mogadishu? Darfur?) and where nations have been better suited to the task. Perhaps the general idea is that the U.N. should make it its duty to enable governments to protect human rights in the case of those that can't (3rd world countries) and advise those that have the wrong idea.

Any comments? Ideas?

Jim Anderson said...

anonymous, what you're arguing for is pretty much the stance of the UN pre-Kofi Annan. In its most recent incarnation, though, the organization sees itself as more of a rights-based outfit than even a peacekeeping outfit.

Locke's SC essentially places sovereignty in the hands of the people. Locke would see a supra-state (the UN in a sovereignty-violating role, as the Aff might call for) as entirely superfluous. I think you're on to something.

Anonymous said...

So, I don't mean to sound stupid, but how would you counter the argument about iraq? because if we were to say national sovreinty is good and it's the nations responsibility, refering to an eariler comment, they could mention iraq. I'm stumped

Jim Anderson said...

Iraq is a mixed bag, sovereigntally speaking. (No, that's not a real word.)

Go back to it's founding: it's a "fake" country, set up by British imperialists who had no real concerns for ethnic conflicts or popular sovereignty. Speed up to the present, and you've got a similar situation with more high-minded motives. It's difficult to export sovereignty or to apply it by force.

Meanwhile, vis a vis the "human rights" angle, the UN was practically worthless in Iraq, even participating in bribery scandals under the watchless eyes of Kofi Annan. Iraq is good for neither Aff nor Neg.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to argue on the negative that the UN is a sovereign body. Therefore the UN can uphold just as much human rights and have more checks on its power by negating. After all, national means a group of people who identify with one another based on territory/culture.

Jim Anderson said...

The UN is not a sovereign body. Its charter specifically and purposefully recognizes the sovereignty of individual nations. So, no.

dlfreak said...

I recently thought of an affirmative example that I think would be interesting to use. Remember Russia during the Second World War? While it does not apply to the UN in particular, it might be a good idea to bring up the fact that Stalin killed nearly as many people as Hitler did, but very little was done about it because all the atrocities occurred within the bounds of the Soviet Union, and in other words, national sovereignty was valued above human rights. Just some food for thought.

Jim Anderson said...

dlfreak, there are probably other reasons: it's not so easy to intervene in a nation that has a strong military. It's not necessarily respect for sovereignty so much as fear of a bloodbath.

jane said...

well for aff - you can show examples (but unlike above you better link them to the UN specifically) where valuing NS made it imposible to protect HR.

I like the SC idea for neg. couldn't you also add to it that while HR do need protection, since their foundation and continuation are dependent on NS the UN must value THAT above - as it is the end goal/method whereas HR is merely instrumental. Why form a social contract? because rights are incapable of sustaining themselves, only NS is- dang it. that makes NS instrumental.

Jim Anderson said...

jane, which brings us back to balance, which I am starting to think is one of the soundest Neg strategies. You could argue that each is mutually codependent. No full protection of rights without NS, and no legitimate NS without rights protection.

Anonymous said...

but what if the two were conflicting? What if the UN were forced to have to choose between one or the other? You couldn't really be neutral on it because then there's just inaction and nothing's done about the situation. Frankly, i don't really like that approach. But then again, im just a novice =)

Jim Anderson said...

Of course they'll come into conflict--but we're talking general principles here, not only "in conflict" scenarios (when that's the case, the resolution always says, "When in conflict...").

Anonymous said...

but wouldn't those general principles then have to be applied?

Anonymous said...

i am looking for a good ending quote that has some reference to human rights. thanks

Anonymous said...

Above all nations is humanity.
Goldwin Smith - british/canadian historian.

what does "protect" entail?

Jim Anderson said...

Darn good question. It goes beyond merely promoting in word or deed, I'd argue, and requires action, via force or otherwise, to ensure that rights aren't being violated. The resolution implies that "serious" protection somehow threatens sovereignty.

dlfreak said...

Addressing an earlier conversation on using Locke's SC for neg, it might be a good idea to consider Rousseau as well. In his SC, Rousseau stresses a great deal the importance of national sovereignty. Unfortunately, the main problem I'm running into with Rousseau right now is the fact that his SC is mainly designed for small states. Any ideas for ways around this?
Also, look into Kant's Perpetual Peace for Neg. He supports a "league of nations," but also stresses noninterference. Good to use against Aff, because I can see some affirmatives using Kant as well. ;]

~DL

dlfreak said...

The negative would find it very useful to research some of the UN's own resolutions, such as these by the General Assembly.
http://www.un.org/Depts/dpa/ead/ga_resolutions.html
Extremely helpful for any status quo arguments.
(apologies for posting so much)

~DL

Jim Anderson said...

Never apologize for furthering the conversation. Any takers on the Rousseau arg? I'm not a big fan (or scholar) of Jean-Jacques.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible for the neg to argue that human rights are relative nation to nation, so the UN would be wasting its time trying to maintain human rights when they could be concentrating on more attainable goals like national sovereignty?

Jim Anderson said...

The resolution does say "global human rights," so you'll have to rebut Aff evidence that the UN Declaration defines just such a thing (unless the Aff goofs and presumes it without making it explicit). What would you say, though, to an Aff that shot back, "Well, national sovereignty is relative from nation to nation, too?" After all, Iraq pre-Gulf War I thought it was legitimately sovereign over Kuwait. And now, the Kurds want sovereignty in Iraq, but they're not getting it.

Anonymous said...

In response to earlier comments, I do not see why human rights are national sovereignty. National sovereignty is only dictating that a government is free from external control. Therefore, the government are still free to allow human rights in that country even without national sovereignty.

Anonymous said...

apologies, the first sentence should read "why human rights stem from" or "are sustained by"

Anonymous said...

could i say that for a nation to have national sovereignty it must have a stable government? And if it did have a stable govenment then it would be able to protect it's citizens from say genecide (i haven't done a lot of research, but does Darfur have a stable government?) your helps appreciated!!!

Jim Anderson said...

You know, if you Anonymouses would give yourselves a nickname, I could be sure that it's not all the same person commenting. Pick "Other," and make up a name, it doesn't matter what so long as we won't confuse you with another Anonymous :)

Now, to Anonymous1/2: national sovereignty is negatively defined by noninterference, but also positively defined as control over a territory. That's where HR protections come into play via the social contract. Respect for NS also keeps outside aggressors and oppressors at bay--if Saddam had respected Kuwait's sovereignty, no Gulf War I.

Anonymous3, a stable government sometimes commits rights violations, even genocide. Stalin and Mao were in charge of institutionalized atrocity. However, you might argue that on balance, instability is presents greater risks of a bloodbath.

Anonymous said...

If a stable government is not necessarily sovereign, it would seem as if you're ignoring national sovereignty in your second sentence about a stable government protecting its citizens from genocide. Anyways, there have been numerous stable govts committing genocide.

Anonymous said...

Hello (this a new anonymous), but i had one idea i was wondering about. I was thinking that for the frame work of the debate one could argue that it is society as a whole that is doing the valueing and not necessarly the UN. This position could greatly help the Aff since it is a much easier arguement to make that Society as a whold should value protection of GHRs over NS, since if GHRs are protected then there is no real gain from protecting NS, one could even argue that NS was "bad" by saying it led to conflicts and wars. This would therefore avoid the problems of arguing the aff with the UN, since the UN needs to value NS much more than society as a whole does. Comments ??

Anonymous said...

When i say NS is "bad" i think what i mean is that if society as a whole placed less value on respecting NS then NS holds less value, no one would care as much about it and then no one would care as much about defending their own NS, and that would lead to a decrease in national conflicts and wars

Jim Anderson said...

New anonymous, I definitely think "who's doing the valuing?" is an important question for the round. If we consider, say, what Americans ought to value, versus what humans in general ought to value, we may not come to the same conclusion, according to some points of view.

As an alternative to NS being bad because it leads to ethnocentrism, it can also be good because it leads to law-abiding citizens--their respect for the sovereign authority is important to the rule of law. Cosmopolitanism doesn't seem to square with the provincial perspective of actual humans--it's hard for your average person to care about the lives of strangers, especially strangers half a globe away.

Travis Boren said...

I cried when I read this resolution. LD is supposed to be timeless debate. This sets a timeframe because of it being the UN. It also makes people focus on places like Darfur which I'm sick and tired of hearing about. The word "obligation" repeated twice throughout the resolution was the last straw. It limits the resolution specificly on duty instead of allowing for clash that would now be considered untopical.

I plan on bringing a history lesson into this resolution. Let's look at when the UN was formed. Why was it formed? It was formed to prevent actions like those that Hitler did from happening again. This can be twisted to be used for both aff and neg. Aff you say it was to protect human rights and neg you say it was to stop someone conquering the world.

Jim Anderson said...

Ah, Travis, but watch out for the genetic fallacy. Just because something was originally intended to fulfill a task doesn't preclude it from evolving.

Also, I share your lamentation for the generalist resolutions of yore. LD topics are more and more policyesque all the time.

Anonymous said...

Do you guys have real jobs? you know ones like in office buildings and such? Or do you just sit back in your hippy liberal washington state duplexes arbitrarily writing back and forth about high school debate?

Anonymous said...

lake houses suck!

Jim Anderson said...

It's not often that I delete comments, but the most recent anonymous trolling is outta here, off-topic, boorish, and mostly dull. Would've gotten it sooner, but I was too busy with my day job. (I'm saving the funny one, above.)

Now that I'm back at my lake house duplex, we can all return to sipping lattes and debating the categorical imperative.

project pat said...

Hey, I was wondering if saying that the resolution promotes imperialism, is a good approach for the negative.... Anyone have an answer?

Anonymous said...

jim anderson is lame!

Anonymous said...

i hate the un. and ld. and forensics for that matter.

Anonymous said...

jim anderson is a momma's boy!

Anonymous said...

poop.

Anonymous said...

Hey, why don't you go read some Emerson!

Anonymous said...

Argh! Argh! Argh! Ugha! Ugha! Ugha! Hah! Hah! Hah!

Anonymous said...

Jim, the first step to self-help is admitting you have a problem.

Anonymous said...

categorical imperative my ass!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah. so. I'm a NEW Anonymous. Soooooo... anyway... does anyone know of some good examples of when the UN interfered and everything turned out great? and then when it failed? (like, chechnya, rwanda, etc...)

imtooosexytobeadebater said...

do you think a "humans are intrinsically important" argument sounds weird (for the aff)? i really can't think of anything... the aff is actually really hard for this topic.

Anonymous said...

okay... the aff is really really hard! you can't really do anything without adding a clause onto the resolution!! GRRRRRR... so i guess you have to prove that human rights should naturally be valued above national sovereignty, no matter the situation. but that "humans are intrinsically important" thing just sounds retarded. ppppplllleeeeasssseeee? help??? i am so lost. kbye...

imtooosexytobeadebater said...

Is there any philosopher who believed that humans (individuals) should be valued above the state? just someone i could use for my lame "humans are intrinsically important" argument...

Jim Anderson said...

tooo,

There are plenty of philosophers who value individuals above the state--that's the basis of libertarianism. Nozick and Hayek are two prominent examples.

Kofi Annan is the former Secretary General most famous for wanting the UN to adopt a more individual view of sovereignty above NS.

If you check out some of the links above, you'll find other justification for valuing GHR above NS. I think your "humans are intrinsically important" argument could fly, if explained thusly: NS is a means to an end. GHR are ends in themselves. We value ends above means. (The moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant would come into play here.)

What do you think?

imtooosexytobeadebater said...

hmmm... that sounds good, except... if national sovereignty is a means by which we achieve human rights, then doesn't that mean that human rights are dependent on national sovereignty? which would support the neg. (ex. you can't have human rights without having a sovereign government to protect them, so we should value national sovereignty so that we can have human rights)

Jim Anderson said...

tooo, the wording of your response is the clue to the answer to your question. You write:

... if national sovereignty is a means by which we achieve human rights, then doesn't that mean that human rights are dependent on national sovereignty?

Because NS is a means--not the means--to achieving HR, that means that HR are not dependent on NS.

If NS were the only means, the debate would merely turn on which we value more: ends or means.

imtooosexytobeadebater said...

yay, well that sounds good for neg. sorry but i have another little question about the neg. i was just wondering... the resolution implies that one (NS or HR) can be valued over the other, so wouldn't a balance neg stance be saying that the resolution is flawed? (because both should be valued equally) is there a way to argue that i'm still debating the resolution with a balance neg? i know that's a kritik (or critique, whatever it is) but i don't know if technically we're supposed to debate like that. is there a way to argue that i'm really debating the resolution, not just making up my own?

Jim Anderson said...

tooo,

Another good question. I'd answer it with a clear "no." Remember, the question isn't whether we can value one over the other, but whether we ought to.

An analogy: if someone says, "When it comes to cars, you should value affordability over performance," and you agree, you'll buy a Kia. If you take a "balance neg," you'll try to weigh both equally, and take, say, a Honda. If you value performance above affordability, you'll go for a Lexus.

Hope that helps clear things up.

yang_13 said...

i was wondering, how whould you contsruct neg balance case? use CV:utilitarianism
Criterion:global welfare, than what? plz help, i have nat quals friday


by the way, if you are interested, would you mind reading my aff and neg cases and give feedback? thx

AFF
“Between 1975 and 1979, Cambodian Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot orchestrated a systematic program of starvation, overwork, and executions, targeted largely at ethnic minorities in Cambodia, which left approximately two million dead. In 1994, approximately 800,000 Rwandans of Tutsi descent were killed by Rwandan Hutu militias using machetes and hoes, at a rate as high as 10,000 per day. Between 1992 and 1995, approximately 200,000 Bosnian-Muslims were slaughtered by the Serbian forces of Slobodan Milosevic in mass killings and various other acts of ‘ethic cleansing.’”

Because I believe that national sovereignty often fails to protect human rights, I affirm the resolution The United Nation’s obligation to protect global human rights ought to be valued above its obligation to respect national sovereignty.

To clarify this round, I give definitions from the American Heritage Dictionary, Black’s Law Dictionary, and other legal sources

1. Global Human Rights- The basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled, often held to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality under the law
2. National Sovereignty- the ability of governments to exercise unilateral control over their policies and issues that are important to them, and to operate without outside influence in their internal affairs.

Because the resolution specifically states whether global human rights ought to be held above national sovereignty, my core value is protection of the quality of life because I believe that the mere protection of basic human rights is not enough because it can be arguable that, stated by Eve Curie,
“that peace at any price is no peace at all. That life at any price has no value whatever; that life is nothing without the privileges, the prides, the rights, the joys, which make it worth living. That there is something more atrocious than war or than death and that is to live in fear.
My criterion is Locke’s Social Contract, stating that a nation loses its legitimacy and its right to national sovereignty when it abuses its citizen’s human rights.

1. The first and foremost priority of a state is to protect its citizen’s basic human rights. If that state is unable or unwilling to do that, the International Community must intervene.

a. national sovereignty often is a cloak covering human rights abuses

“As Kofi Annan observed with Africa, it was not ordinary Africans who complained of the universality of human rights, but rather their leaders who did so. Also countries like China who still challenge universal human rights muster and expend enormous amount of diplomatic capital just to defend themselves and minimize the veil of negative publicity that today shrouds such challenge.”

Although the UN was founded on the principles of sovereignty as evident in the UN charter, national sovereignty cannot be an excuse for abusing human rights. A state nor a nation cannot hide under the cloak of sovereignty and prevent intervention by outside forces while it is evident that the state has failed its foremost priority, protection of human rights

b. Lockean Theory supports intervention when State fails to protect basic human rights

When we enter into a society, we enter into a social contract in which certain rights are given up in return of the protection of basic human rights. Therefore, when a nation fails to protect these rights, it is our innate responsibility to revolt and thus the only time national sovereignty and human rights would ever come into conflict would be if a nation is violating its citizen’s human rights. In violating that citizen’s rights, the nation therefore violates the compact and forfeits its right to national sovereignty, and the human rights of the citizen must be restored through intervention by other countries.

2. Genocide in Sudan demands actions
Since 2003, the Sudanese government and its notorious Janjaweed militia have conducted a brutal campaign of mass killings and “ethnic cleansing” in the Darfur region. A 2005 survey (these surveys are estimates, due to formidable obstacles put forth by none other than the Sudanese Government) place the death count caused by direct violence between 74,000 to 172,000, by malnutrition and preventable diseases in refugee camps at 109,000, and 25,000 in inaccessible regions, with 14 deaths in an hour. In addition, more than 1.8 million people have been forced to flee their homes.

Sovereignty entails responsibility to protect, not justification to abuse. Just because the UN was founded with the underlying principle of sovereignty does not mean oppressive rulers can abuse human rights. And just as Locke’s Theory states, when a state violates its sacred contract concerning human rights, it has forfeited its right to sovereignty.

3. Rawl’s Theory of Justice supports Quality of Life
Rawl’s theory demands equality. Equal opportunity to pursue life’s desires, equal liberty to decide one’s future, and equal compensation for being human. By valuing quality of life over national sovereignty, the world achieves equality, leading to basic human rights because in a sovereign state, one group, the minority, will always be inferior and unequal to the majority. Through Rawl’s theory of justice, we can achieve true quality of life, and through quality of life and basic human rights, can we achieve greater prosperity and progress.

NEG
“Cuius regio, eius religio”
Because I agree with this statement established at the Peace of Augsburg, 1555, which means “whoever governs, decides religion”, I stand to negate the resolution The United Nation’s obligation to protect global human rights ought to be valued above its obligation to respect national sovereignty
Therefore, my core value is SELF-DETERMINATION. To support my CV, I use the criterion of STATE SOVEREIGNTY.
1. SOVEREIGNTY BETTER PROTECTS HUMAN RIGHTS
a. There are no universal human rights
Although the common perception remains that the world is bounded by the Western Enlightenment tradition of individualism, we often fail to realize that what we value is often different or the complete contrary to what others value. It is often noted that Africans and Asians value their group and communal identity more than their individuality (as shown in communism). In addition, what we see “barbaric” might seem perfectly acceptable, a perfect example being women in the Middle East. They must cover every part of their body, showing only their eyes. To us, this is absolutely barbaric, cruel and inhuman, a complete antithesis of our liberal origins. But to those Middle Eastern women, there is nothing wrong.
b. “Human Rights” intervention can conceal other motives
“There are clear rescue and emergency relief situations, but there may also be cases of economic interest, strategic considerations, plain-faced expansionism, and ‘benevolent imperialism.’ We worry that, under the cover of ‘human rights,’ an absolutely ambiguous term, states will come to coerce and dominate their neighbors.” T. Modibo Ocran (Prof of Law, U of Akron)
This sovereignty issue can be additionally exemplified by looking at the history of the United States and the Philippines. During that time, expansionistic attitudes shaped American foreign policy. If we can conquer and bring our “advanced American culture” into the vast expanse of the American West in the matter of a few decades, then why not spread this “advanced American culture” into other parts of the world? Wouldn’t this task be equally easy? But as history shows, “Americanizing” the Philippines was more pragmatic than expected. Although the Filipinos admired the ideals of the United States and Lockean Theory, they essentially wanted a government free of US influence. Therefore, in order to accomplish our goals, which were more economic than humanitarian, we forced our “advanced American Culture” through war.
This example along with my previous examples clearly shows the US’ and essentially the West’s inflexibility and ignorance about other parts of the world not affected by Lockean Theory and the Enlightenment. Rather than respecting this discrepancy, we term it “barbaric” and force our ideals through any means possible. Although our intentions sometimes transmit from good will – hoping to improve their lives – we often fail to see that sovereignty often protects human rights much better than an international policing agent such as the UN.
2. The UN Charter strictly forbids breach in State Sovereignty
The 3 underlying principles of the UN in accordance with the purposes of freedom, equal rights, and self-determination are:
1. The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
2. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.
3. Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter.
One of the main reasons that Wilson’s League of Nations and the Treaty of Versailles failed to pass through Congress post WWI was the fundamental idea of sovereignty. According to article 10 of the League covenant, sovereignty was essentially an ideal of the past, a cliché. Therefore, in order for the UN to be a success and not a failure, and with American support, national sovereignty must be respected above all other obligations.
If Americans value sovereignty with so much vengeance that they decided to not ratify the Treaty of Versailles, not join the League of Nations, and possibly prevent WWI, then doesn’t this action shed light on the importance of sovereignty? All nations of the world are essentially like the US, they DO NOT want external interference with domestic affiliations. Therefore, it can be concluded that national sovereignty must take precedence over the ambiguous term “global human rights.”