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  • Backgrounder posted March 5, 2015 by Steven Groves The U.S. Should Oppose the U.N.’s Attempt to Ban Autonomous Weapons

    As many as 40 nations are currently developing military robotics.[1] Indeed, some weapons already in use may be considered “autonomous” (or may be easily modified to be autonomous). These include Raytheon’s Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), a “rapid-fire, computer-controlled, radar-guided gun system” designed to destroy incoming anti-ship missiles;[2] Israel…

  • Commentary posted November 16, 2012 by Brett D. Schaefer Flawed Council

    On November 12, the United States was elected to a second three-year term on the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC). The Obama administration portrays this as a vindication of its policy of multilateral “engagement.” That approach, it says, has yielded a number of “accomplishments.” Unfortunately, the claim is more spin than reality. In fact, the…

  • Issue Brief posted March 11, 2014 by Steven Groves, Brett D. Schaefer Human Rights Committee’s Review of U.S. Record: Things to Watch For

    On March 13–14, a U.S. delegation will defend America’s human rights record before the Human Rights Committee (HRC), the treaty body that monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The delegation should expect harsh criticism from the HRC, whose members regularly accuse America of committing gross violations of human rights.…

  • Issue Brief posted April 16, 2015 by Steven Groves U.N. Conference Debating a Ban on Autonomous Weapons: Understanding Key Issues

    This week, a ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) is being debated at the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in Geneva. The U.S. delegation has been non-committal on such a ban, and U.S. policy currently permits the Department of Defense (DOD) to pursue the development of LAWS in a responsible manner. At the conference, the United States should…

  • News Releases on February 24, 2006 United Nations Experts Agree: U.N. Resolution on Human Rights Council Does Not Deserve U.S. Support

    Washington, Feb. 24, 2006-Anne Bayefsky, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, and Brett Schaefer, Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs at the Heritage Foundation, today issued the following statement on yesterday's release of the text of a resolution establishing a…

  • Commentary posted September 22, 2010 by Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D. An U.N.-Conscionable Act

    Thanks to a certain immigration law, the Obama administration isn’t very happy with Arizona these days. But did you know the White House has gone so far as to put Arizona “on report”? And to the United Nations, no less. That’s right. Apparently the federal government can’t handle this dispute alone. It needs to elevate it to the world stage, encouraging…

  • Special Report posted April 7, 2016 by Steven Groves A Manual Adapting the Law of Armed Conflict to Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

    On April 11, 2016, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) will hold a week-long meeting on lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) in Geneva.[1] Previous meetings were held in 2014 and 2015 to discuss the legality of LAWS under the law of armed conflict (LOAC) and international human rights law.[2] Some nations that attended these meetings, as well as all…

  • Testimony posted July 30, 2007 by Brett D. Schaefer The United Nations Human Rights Council: A Disastrous First Year and Discouraging Signs for Reform

    Testimony Delivered Before the Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Democracy and Human Rights of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States Senate on July 26, 2006 Mr. Chairman, thank you for providing me with the opportunity to testify on how the new United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) has performed in its first year and…

  • Lecture posted September 19, 2006 by Brett D. Schaefer The United Nations Human Rights Council: Repeating Past Mistakes

    (Delivered September 6, 2006) Since the very birth of the United Nations, protecting and advancing fundamental human rights has been one of the primary objectives of the organization. The drafters of the Charter of the United Nations included a pledge by member states "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the…

  • WebMemo posted May 2, 2008 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.S. Is Right to Shun the U.N. Human Rights Council

    The United Nations General Assembly voted in March 2006 to replace the Commission on Human Rights with the Human Rights Council. The Commission, dominated by human rights abusers who used their influence to block scrutiny or criticism, proved to be a poor champion of human rights. Nearly two years after it was created, the United States' concerns that the Council…

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  • Special Report posted April 7, 2016 by Steven Groves A Manual Adapting the Law of Armed Conflict to Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

    On April 11, 2016, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) will hold a week-long meeting on lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) in Geneva.[1] Previous meetings were held in 2014 and 2015 to discuss the legality of LAWS under the law of armed conflict (LOAC) and international human rights law.[2] Some nations that attended these meetings, as well as all…

  • Issue Brief posted April 16, 2015 by Steven Groves U.N. Conference Debating a Ban on Autonomous Weapons: Understanding Key Issues

    This week, a ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) is being debated at the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in Geneva. The U.S. delegation has been non-committal on such a ban, and U.S. policy currently permits the Department of Defense (DOD) to pursue the development of LAWS in a responsible manner. At the conference, the United States should…

  • Backgrounder posted March 5, 2015 by Steven Groves The U.S. Should Oppose the U.N.’s Attempt to Ban Autonomous Weapons

    As many as 40 nations are currently developing military robotics.[1] Indeed, some weapons already in use may be considered “autonomous” (or may be easily modified to be autonomous). These include Raytheon’s Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), a “rapid-fire, computer-controlled, radar-guided gun system” designed to destroy incoming anti-ship missiles;[2] Israel…

  • Issue Brief posted March 11, 2014 by Steven Groves, Brett D. Schaefer Human Rights Committee’s Review of U.S. Record: Things to Watch For

    On March 13–14, a U.S. delegation will defend America’s human rights record before the Human Rights Committee (HRC), the treaty body that monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The delegation should expect harsh criticism from the HRC, whose members regularly accuse America of committing gross violations of human rights.…

  • Issue Brief posted November 19, 2013 by Brett D. Schaefer U.N. Human Rights Council: A Flawed Body That Should Be Replaced

    The United Nations held elections on November 12 for 14 Human Rights Council (HRC) seats for 2014. Based on the election results, the number of free countries will climb to a slim majority. However, a number of countries with poor human rights records continue to be elected to the body. The lack of meaningful membership standards is a key reason behind the HRC’s poor…

  • Issue Brief posted September 5, 2012 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.N. Human Rights Council Does Not Deserve U.S. Support

    The African Union’s decision to nominate Sudan for the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) elicited justifiable outrage. Pressure from human rights groups and governments led Kenya to announce its own election bid, causing Sudan to withdraw. This was a welcome development; the notion of the genocidal government sitting on the most visible U.N. human rights body was…

  • Backgrounder posted June 23, 2011 by Brett D. Schaefer The U.S. Should Pursue an Alternative to the U.N. Human Rights Council

    Abstract: The U.N. Human Rights Council has failed to consistently fulfill its mandate to hold governments accountable for violating basic human rights and fundamental freedoms and to promote and protect human rights. Two years of U.S. membership on and engagement with the council have not significantly improved its performance. Rather than continuing to expend finite…

  • WebMemo posted March 4, 2011 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves The Motivation for the Referral of Libya to the ICC: Political Pressure or Justice?

    The killings and other atrocities committed in Libya, if confirmed, likely rise to the level of crimes against humanity, which are under International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction in the Rome Statute. But the ICC is supposed to be a court of last resort, becoming involved only if national authorities prove unwilling or unable to pursue the alleged crimes. It has yet…

  • WebMemo posted November 5, 2010 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves U.S. Targeted by Human Rights Abusers at Its Universal Periodic Review

    The United States underwent a three-hour review of its human rights record before the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) on November 5 under that body’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR). As predicted,[1] the farcical nature of the process was immediately apparent as serial human rights violators Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Russia, China, Sudan, and North Korea queued up…

  • WebMemo posted August 26, 2010 by Brett D. Schaefer, Steven Groves The U.S. Universal Periodic Review: Flawed from the Start

    The United States recently released its report to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC). This report will serve as the basis of the U.S.’s first examination under that body’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR).[1] Although the U.S. report gives undue attention and credit to the actions of the Obama Administration, it is largely a factual presentation of current U.S.…

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Find more work on Human Rights Council