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The United Nations Security Council in the Age of Human Rights
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Book description

This is the first comprehensive look at the human rights dimensions of the work of the only body within the United Nations system capable of compelling action by its member states. Known popularly for its failure to prevent mass atrocities in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, and Syria, the breadth and depth of the Security Council's work on human rights in recent decades is much broader. This book examines questions including: how is the Security Council dealing with human rights concerns? What does it see as the place of human rights in conflict prevention, peacemaking and peacekeeping? And how does it address the quest for justice in the face of gross violations of human rights? Written by leading practitioners, scholars and experts, this book provides a broad perspective that describes, explains and evaluates the contribution of the Security Council to the promotion of human rights and how it might more effectively achieve its goals.


'For decades the UN Security Council skirted human rights, addressing them sporadically, reluctantly, and typically without reference to binding standards. That began to change with the end of the Cold War, as easing political tensions allowed the Council gradually to act on the fact that upholding the norms against atrocities is intimately connected to its classic mandate of defending international peace and security. Yet even since then, that evolution has been contested, particularly when the Council’s permanent five members fear the topic might come back to haunt them or their close allies. This exceptional volume of essays provides a comprehensive assessment of the Council’s conflicting views on human rights with more nuance, sophistication, and historical memory than anything else around. It helps us to understand how the shifting battles over human rights are being waged in the Council and provides guidance as to how the Council can more effectively defend our rights in the future.'

Kenneth Roth - Executive Director, Human Rights Watch

'Genser and Stagno Ugarte’s authoritative new volume serves as an indispensable guide to understanding the complex UN Security Council and human rights nexus. The editors have assembled a stellar cast of renowned practitioners and academics to provide their candid and personal perspectives. The book, underpinned by meticulous research, offers a unique and penetrating critique of the Council’s progress and failures in preventing and responding to human rights abuses. It also serves as a vital clarion call for a rejuvenated Security Council that places the consideration of human rights at the center of its work.'

Sam Daws - Director, Project on UN and Governance and Reform, Centre for International Studies, Oxford University

'During the last twenty years, the UN Security Council has embraced the protection of individual rights as a matter of international peace and security. That said, progress has been uneven and there have been both great strides forward and terrible setbacks. This timely and important book provides the first comprehensive assessment of how the Security Council works to address major human-rights challenges around the world and recommends ways it can do so more effectively.'

Luis Moreno Ocampo - First Prosecutor, International Criminal Court (2003–2012)

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