Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Global Governance Monitor

The Council on Foreign Relations has just added a human rights section to its interactive Global Governance Monitor website.  A variety of tools and resources are provided, including an introductory video; a timeline with coverage of significant events from the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 to Secretary of State Clinton's December 2011 speech on LGBT rights; a series of issue briefs on human rights norms, enforcement, and development; a database of documents, international organizations, NGOs, and enforcement mechanisms (the "matrix"); an interactive map; and a list of resources.

 This is nitpicking, perhaps, but the interactive map shows the United States to be among the states that have neither signed nor ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.  This is incorrect.  The Clinton administration signed the Statute on December 31, 2000.  On May 6, 2002, the Bush administration tendered a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan indicating that the United States did not intend to become a party to the agreement, a fact that was designed to release the United States from any obligations it might bear under customary international law as a signatory.  This has been described as "unsigning" the Rome Statute--and it may have had the effect that unsigning would have if it were possible--but it is more accurately described as a stipulation attached to the U.S. signature.

On the whole, the human rights section on the Global Governance Monitor is very helpful, both as a teaching tool and as a research guide.  All parts of the site include links to key institutions and documents, a feature that allows users to dig very deep into the subject.