STUDENT REPLY #1 Kurtis Corbett
The rule of law and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “If man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression human rights should be protected by the rule of law.” (Rule of Law Drives Promotion, Protection of Human Rights, Deputy Secretary-General | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases, n.d.)
The rule of law, based on human rights, underpins peace and security. At the international level, the Charter provides the basis for friendly relations between States as sovereign equals. At the national level, justice and the rule of law can prevent and mitigate violence and conflict by providing peaceful channels for the resolution of grievances. (Rule of Law Drives Promotion, Protection of Human Rights, Deputy Secretary-General | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases, n.d.)
During my research and readings for this discussion, one key word continued to appear, “Accountability” we cannot enforce the rule of law on human rights without organizations and individuals being held accountable for their actions. In my community, The ACLU Human Rights Program (HRP) is dedicated to holding the United States accountable to international human rights laws and standards as well as the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. (American Civil Liberties Union, n.d.) Internationally, human rights are protected by laws established more than 200 years ago. a central goal of U.S. foreign policy has been the promotion of respect for human rights, as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
International justice means ensuring accountability for some of the most serious crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and enforced disappearances. There are many reasons why victims of these crimes are denied justice. They include a lack of political will to investigate crimes and prosecute those responsible, weak criminal justice systems, and the marginalization of victims in society. As a result, perpetrators may not be held to account and may even continue to hold positions in which they can commit violations or prevent accountability; victims are left to suffer; and few efforts are made to establish the truth or take steps to ensure that the crimes are never repeated. In these cases, international justice mechanisms can step in to ensure that crimes are properly investigated, that perpetrators are brought to justice, and victims receive reparation to address the harm done. (Amnesty International, 2021)
These concepts of Human Rights locally in the United States and foreign policy all come back to accountability. The United States has established rights to its people via the United States Constitution. The United States has also established foreign policies to ensure the protections for people abroad and with the assistance of the United Nations, defining human rights and protections for citizens all over the world. My personal perception of international justice is accountability for leaders who commit crimes against their citizens. The United Nations serves as a international justice system to enforce sanctions and restrictions against leaders who violate the human rights. The balance of power allows regulations for leaders around the world to be held accountable for their actions. In 2002, the International Criminal Court was established to investigate and prosecute people suspected of committing genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.
American Civil Liberties Union. (n.d.). About the ACLU’s Human Rights Program.
Amnesty International. (2021, June 1). International Justice.
Rule of Law Drives Promotion, Protection of Human Rights, Deputy Secretary-General | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases. (n.d.). UN.
United Nations. (n.d.). Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
STUDENT REPLY #2 Cara Jones
Human rights are freedoms inherent to all beings (human), regardless of race, sex, religion, or any other status. The rule of law is a set of principles for ensuring an orderly and just society. The two are interlinked and mutually reinforcing and are two sides of the same principle – the freedom to live in dignity (United Nations, n.d.).
Human rights not only benefit but empower those who hold them. They are enforced to give us a sense of morality and security that helps us to function on a daily basis and allows us to create a world in which we enjoy (Donnelly, 2013, p. 12). Furthermore, human rights embody key values such as equality and fairness, and are an important means of protection, especially to those who are faced with discrimination or abuse.
The rule of law is the instrument that turns human rights from a principle into a reality. This system of laws delivers accountability from the government as well as private entities, a law that is clearly documented and applied evenly, and ensures that the processes by which the law is adopted, administered, and enforced are fair and efficient (Worldjusticeproject.org). For these reasons, we have been provided with a universal declaration drafted by representatives from all regions of the world, which sets out fundamental human rights to be universally protected (United Nations, 1948). My personal perception of this is that everyone is entitled to freely speak, think, and act (within legal boundaries), without fear of persecution. “Recognition of the inherent dignity of the equal and unalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world” (Donnelly, 2013, p. 28).
United Nations. (n.d.). United Nations and the rule of law. Retrieved from
Donnelly, J. (2013). Universal human rights in theory and practice (3rd ed.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press
Worldjusticeproject.org. Retrieved from
United Nations. (1948). The universal declaration of human rights. Retrieved from
The ACLU is an excellent example of a nonprofit that is working towards human rights. What programs or specific issues is the ACLU in your area working to address?
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