What is it about?

This article traces the UN Security Council’s evolving relationship with human rights over the past 75 years. At its founding, human rights were seldom addressed by the Security Council. Today, protecting human rights is an important part of several Security Council practices: 1) commissions of inquiry; 2) the creation of and referral to international courts and tribunals; 3) humanitarian intervention; and 4) UN peace operations.

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Why is it important?

I show that protecting human rights is essential to the Council’s ability to maintain international peace and security but that power and interests continue to dominate Security Council decision-making leading to inconsistent human rights practices.


During this 75th anniversary year of the United Nations, it is important to take stock of the UN Security Council including its successes and failures. The Council's complex relationship to human rights is often misunderstood. My article shows that when power, purpose, and principle align, the Security Council will use human rights as an instrument of peace and security.

Dr. Carrie Booth Walling
Albion College

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This page is a summary of: The United Nations Security Council and Human Rights, Global Governance A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations, June 2020, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/19426720-02602011.
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