Do you want to know where the best protection for human rights is in the world today? It’s here in this picture:
This is a picture of the European Court of Human Rights. It is in Strasbourg, France. There is a large courtroom inside one of those cylinders where judges from 47 countries hear cases that arise from the European Convention on Human Rights.
It’s an amazing sight to see. Judges from 47 different countries walking into the court chamber in their robes, and yet all of them are not beholden to any country, but to the fair and just interpretation of the Bill of Rights embodied within the European Convention on Human Rights that applies in those 47 countries.
So often people think of the United Nations as the ultimate plan for the protection of human rights, but this is not so. The work of the United Nations is phenomenal. I highly admire the people within the human rights system of the United Nations who put their lives on the line to uphold human rights. I want to be perfectly clear that I am not suggesting that we eliminate this system, rather what I would like for people to realize, is that the European Court of Human Rights, and the other regional courts that are blossoming, are the “next steps” to the “full realization” of human rights.
Unfortunately, too often we human beings want to maintain what we have even when we can do better. There are great leaders, however, like Rene Cassin, a French war hero, one of the drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and a judge on the European Court of Human Rights, who recognize the continuum that leads to fundamental human rights enforceable in the courts of all countries.
At the end of the day, we will have peace and prosperity within a global community, not because we go to the United Nations, but because wherever we are on Earth, when rights are violated, we began at our local courthouse, and then, if necessary, proceed through our national courts, regional courts, and in very rare instances to an International Court Human Rights.
This is the vision of Unite for Rights, and the plan for peace and prosperity within a global community. As René Cassin told the Nobel Peace Prize Committee when he won the award: “It works.”