Human Rights and
International Democratic Solidarity

documents

May 14, 2009

On Diplomatic Commitment to Human Rights

Committed diplomacy is a problematic concept. Even though its exact definition is elusive, it is a practice that is backed by sufficient historical evidence to be recognized internationally. However, that does not subtract from the fact that the acts of diplomats committed to human rights beyond their call of duty are a scarce minority.
By Pablo Brum y Mariana Dambolena
 

Committed diplomacy is a problematic concept. Even though its exact definition is elusive, it is a practice that is backed by sufficient historical evidence to be recognized internationally. However, that does not subtract from the fact that the acts of diplomats committed to human rights beyond their call of duty are a scarce minority. As Theo van Boven, a United Nations human rights official in the 1970s said: “The diplomatic world is very unique. Each person is preoccupied with their own business; some are committed with what they are doing, but many could not care less if they were working with human rights or potatoes.” The concept of going beyond formal duty and applying a humanist perspective –not a legalist or a realist one- to international relations is nestled in the oldest traditions of that discipline. While committed diplomacy as a practice emerged in the twentieth century, a product of extreme and massive acts of violence experienced within it, the idea that there is a place for democratic solidarity in international politics precedes those events. As these examples seek to prove, the diplomatic field can obtain concrete results, which enable the recognition, assistance and even the freedom of victims of dictatorial persecution.

Pablo Brum is Associated Researcher of the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL). He holds a BA on International Studies at Universidad ORT, Uruguay. Among his publications at CADAL are “An Evaluation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights”; and “Rogue States: A Timely Concept and Its Application to Latin America”.

Mariana Dambolena is Associated Researcher of the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL). She holds a BA on International Studies at Universidad ORT, Uruguay. Among her publications at CADAL are: “Mayoría de países latinoamericanos condenan a Israel en la ONU”; and “Una dictadura da cátedra en el Consejo de Derechos Humanos”.

Pablo Brum y Mariana Dambolena

Pablo Brum es Investigador Asociado del Centro para la Apertura y el Desarrollo de América Latina (CADAL). Es licenciado en Estudios Internacionales por la Universidad ORT, Uruguay. Entre sus publicaciones en CADAL se encuentran: “El Examen Periódico Universal: Oportunidad inesperada en el Consejo de Derechos Humanos”, “Evaluando a la Alta Comisionada de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas”; y “Rogue States: Acerca de un concepto interesante y su aplicación a América Latina”.

Mariana Dambolena es Investigadora Asociada del Centro para la Apertura y el Desarrollo de América Latina (CADAL). Es licenciada en Estudios Internacionales por la Universidad ORT, Uruguay. Entre sus publicaciones en CADAL se encuentran: “El Examen Periódico Universal de la Argentina en el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU”, “Mayoría de países latinoamericanos condenan a Israel en la ONU”; y “Una dictadura da cátedra en el Consejo de Derechos Humanos”.