Human Rights and Foreign Policy by Evan Luard (Auth.)

By Evan Luard (Auth.)

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The steps that would perhaps do more than anything else to improve the protection of human rights in the world today would thus be the creation of regional bodies to perform the same role in Africa and Asia. It would be something if existing organisations such as the OAU and ASEAN were to take more interest in human-rights questions. While this is not a matter on which outside governments can do very much, it could be encouraged by UN bodies (as it was in a recent General Assembly resolution); and again unofficial organisations such as UNA, the ICJ and other such groups have a role to play, through their contacts with sister bodies in those continents, in promoting this development.

There should also be more frequent meetings of the Commission (at least twice a year) so that urgent questions could more easily be raised; or at least the establishment of a small Sub-Commission that could meet at more frequent intervals and in emergencies. Above all there should be much more publicity for the Commission's activities so that the healthy fear that governments are already beginning to have of its reports, manifested in the intensive lobbying they undertake to prevent adverse reports (as by the Argentine Government in recent years), is intensified.

The organisation of conferences, seminars and other activities, the publication of suitable literature and the maintenance of links with corresponding organisations in other countries all have a role to play here. In the final resort better respect for human rights everywhere can only be brought about through changing the attitudes of world public opinion, and so changing the climate of expectations which ultimately influence governments. The willingness of Western governments to play an active role in influencing the human-rights situation in other countries too will ultimately depend on their beliefs about the demands placed upon them by their own public opinion.

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