Gareth Evans in Project Syndicate:
This century has not been kind to human-rights optimists, with 2022 being no exception. Many gains in the recognition and protection of the universal rights recognized in the post-World War II and post-Cold War years have stalled or been eroded. Russia’s criminal behavior in Ukraine is but the most recent example of a broader trend – made even more shocking by Russia’s status as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, which exists to uphold the very principles of international law that the Kremlin is now so brazenly violating.
Looking back, the high-water mark for human rights in the last two decades may have been the 2005 UN World Summit, when more than 150 heads of state and government unanimously embraced, as a universal principle, the concept of a “responsibility to protect” (R2P) populations against genocide and other mass atrocity crimes. We have had little to celebrate since then, as many recent surveys demonstrate.