Backgrounder posted June 26, 2014
Accession to Convention on the Law of the Sea Unnecessary to Advance Arctic Interests
Much has been said in recent years about a “race” or “scramble” to secure resources in the Arctic Ocean as polar ice recedes, inevitably leading to conflict in the region. But reality paints a very different picture. Over the past decades, Arctic nations have worked together to advance their shared goals for the region, and relations among the United States and other…
Issue Brief posted April 30, 2014
Palestinian Intent to Accede to 15 Treaties and U.S. Response
President Mahmoud Abbas announced on April 1 that the Palestinian Authority (PA) will seek to join 15 international conventions and treaties. This is a new facet of the existing Palestinian policy of seeking international recognition by other governments and membership in international organizations to bolster claims of statehood absent a negotiated peace treaty with…
Backgrounder posted April 24, 2014
A National Strategy for the South China Sea
On December 5, a Chinese warship nearly collided with the USS Cowpens, a guided-missile cruiser operating lawfully in the South China Sea (SCS). This was only the most recent incident highlighting the unsustainable situation in the SCS.
In a throwback to the time of John Selden’s Mare Clausum, China has claimed sovereign rights to the entirety of the SCS within a…
Issue Brief posted March 11, 2014
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.…
Backgrounder posted November 15, 2013
U.S. National Human Rights Institution: A Bad Idea
For several years elements of the international human rights community have advocated that the United States should establish a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) to promote and monitor implementation of international human rights treaties, norms, and standards in the United States. However, creating a NHRI is a bad idea.
Human rights activists would use a NHRI to…
Issue Brief posted September 11, 2013
Syria Policy Should Be Driven by U.S. Interests, Not the U.N.
There are good reasons why Americans, under the current circumstances, should question a military intervention in Syria. But President Obama has muddied the waters further by giving as much weight to international law as he did to U.S. interests in presenting his case for military intervention, frequently expressing the need to enforce an “international norm”…
Backgrounder posted June 24, 2013
Ratifying the Disabilities Convention Will Not Help Americans with Disabilities at Home or Abroad
The United States should ratify a treaty only if it advances its interests. In the context of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), U.S. interests may be characterized in both domestic and international terms: Would ratifying the CRPD benefit the lives of Americans with disabilities living in the United States? Would ratifying the CRPD…
Issue Brief posted May 16, 2013
U.N. Human Rights Experts: More Transparency and Accountability Required
Recent statements by United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Richard Falk rekindled a debate over how such experts should be held accountable when their behavior violates the conduct expected of them. Moreover, the scrutiny elicited by Falk’s statements has exposed the fact that funding for special procedures deserves more transparency, especially regarding…
Backgrounder posted April 10, 2013
Drone Strikes: The Legality of U.S. Targeting Terrorists Abroad
The debate over the circumstances in which lethal force may be used against terrorist organizations operating from foreign territory is not new. Nor is it a new reality that the United States must confront armed, non-state actors that threaten its national security and the lives of its people.
Lethal force, including targeted drone strikes, may lawfully be used against an…
Backgrounder posted December 4, 2012
The U.S. Can Mine the Deep Seabed Without Joining the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea
The United States can mine the deep seabed without acceding to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). For more than 30 years, through domestic law and bilateral agreements, the U.S. has established a legal framework for deep seabed mining. In fact, U.S. accession would penalize U.S. companies by subjecting them to the whims of an…
Testimony posted November 27, 2012
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Treaty Doc. 112-7)
Testimony before theUnited States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
July 12, 2012
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee:
Thank you for inviting me to testify before you today regarding the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD or Convention).
I had the opportunity to testify before this Committee a…