The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is the best gift of the United Nations and its main human rights organ, the Human Rights Commission to “We, the Peoples of the World”. But that powerful instrument is often rendered powerless by the behaviour of individuals running the institutions and the states, arguably the most powerful institution conceptualised by human mind so far. In the process, the UN comes under serious criticism and its most important organ which helped give the UDHR was dissolved for “failing to live up to its ideals”. Ironically, the same states and their representatives most instrumental in creating the UN institutions, including the Human Rights Commission first but later vilifying it and leading the campaign for its replacement by the Human Rights Council are now once again attacking it as “hypocritical and self-serving organisation that makes a mockery of human rights” and the most powerful member state feels compelled to walk out of the Council. Where does the world, the UN and “we the peoples” stand in the search for greater freedom from want and fear, better enjoyment of dignity and rights?
Travelling through an extraordinary journey of life, academic pursuits and expeditions of professional and diplomatic mountain climbing, including the Chairmanship of the 56th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights and its 5th Special Session on the Human Rights of the Palestinian People in the Occupied Palestine Territories, Shambhu Ram Simkhada presents a scholarly, diplomatic, advocate and defender perspectives on the contemporary state of human rights and human wrongs in the scale of his own human conscience.
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Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Human Rights: Historical Perspective and Contemporary Development 3. The 56th Session of the Commission on Human Rights 4. Fifth Special Session of the CHR 5. Emerging Issues in the Global Human Rights Agenda
Epilogue: From the Commission to the Council: Human Rights in the United Nations
Shambhu Ram Simkhada is a former Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Ambassador to Switzerland.