Universal Law


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universal law International charter of human

International Declaration of Human Rights and Freedoms
History
After the war crimes committed by the Germans in the holocaust that occurred during World War II, the United nations decided to create  a document guaranteeing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all people, regardless of race, sex, language, or religion. This document was called The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The declaration was voted in on December 10, 1948, which is now celebrated each year as Human Rights Day.  The Declaration says that all human beings are born free and equal and establishes basic rights for all people and rules for the actions of  governments in many areas pertaining to those rights. For example, it says that all people have the right to liberty, religious and political freedom, education, and economic well-being. It bans torture and states that all people have the right to participate in their governments.
The declaration is not a law, unfortunately, and in some cases has had little  actual effect on the member countries of the UN. Governments with poor human rights records, such as China, do not agree with the UNs attempts to promote human rights, saying that such actions interfere with their internal affairs.
The UN has a Commission on Human Rights. Its job is to monitor abuses of the declaration in member countries, hold international meetings on human rights issues and handle complaints about violations to the basic human rights.  
It was in 1993 that  the General Assembly created the position of High Commissioner for Human Rights. The commissioner job is to oversee all of the UNs human rights programs, work to prevent human rights violations, and investigate human rights abuses. It is also in the commissioners power to publicize abuses to human rights taking place in any country. However most publicity about abuses to human rights does not come from the UN but from  rival countries or non-governmental groups like Amnesty International
The UN has also written four international treaties on human rights. These treaties do have the force of law but are very hard to enforce. The treaties deal only with the problems of genocide, racial discrimination, civil and  political rights, and economic and social rights. These four treaties have only been signed by about half of the countries of the world. Notably the United States has only signed the treaty concerning genocide. Other countries have also refused to sign the conventions because of  concerns about the specific terms of the conventions and the loss of authority that such treaties imply.
Recent Human Rights Activities
The UNs most well known recent activities dealing with human rights are the two International Criminal Tribunals held to bring to justice those responsible for the horrible acts of violence committed during the  recent civil wars in the former countries of Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The tribunal for crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia was established by the UNs Security Council in 1993. The council started the Rwanda tribunal in 1994. They are the first  international war crimes trials since the Nrnberg Trials for Nazi war criminals  that followed World War II. Although the tribunals were established by the Security Council, they operated independently of the UN. The trials depend on contributions from countries to keep operating and were often hampered by financial shortages. Another  more serious problem was the inability to arrest suspects in countries that do not recognize the treaties brought in by the UN as valid. The Yugoslav tribunal indicted 75 people for war crimes and genocide, including the top military and political leaders of the Serb forces in Bosnia and a high officer in the Croatian militia in Bosnia but neither Serbia nor the Bosnian Serb forces have turned over suspects. The international military forces in Bosnia have also refused to arrest them. The president of Croatia actually gave an indicted officer a promotion and medals. In 1997 the tribunal had only a handful of low-ranking suspects to actually bring to trial.
Impact
Many critics of the UN claim that the International Declaration Of Human rights has had very little real impact on infringements to any of the rights outlined in it since it does not carry the force of ... more

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Anne Robert Jaques Turgot and His Relevance to the French Revolution

Introduction

Anne Robert Jaques Turgot, baron l' Aulne, was born in Paris on May 10, 1727 to a noble French family of Normandy. Following in the footsteps of his ancestors, who had furnished the state with numerous public officials, Turgot would achieve public renown as Intendent of Limoges and later as Controller General of all France. Although Turgot ended his public career in unfortunate circumstances, being dismissed by Louis XVI for ineffectiveness, his political theories became a major influence in the remaining years of the Old Regime. The depth of Turgot's economic thought was not recognized at the time because it largely went against what the ruling aristocracy wanted to hear. His clairvoyance is much more fully noted in light of the last two centuries. Furthermore, Turgot was one of the King's last controller-generals before the French Revolution ended the monarchy. When his political and economic ideals are considered against this backdrop their importance as well as their contradictory nature become apparent.
Turgot's main contribution to economic theory is his Reflections on the Formation and Distribution of Riches. Apart from this short but highly systematic account of the nature of economic development, Turgot's other relevant writings are sparse and far from cohesive. Since this paper will consider his economics with regard to his political thought, only Turgot's theories on the nature of government influence, free trade, and taxes will be examined. Furthermore, an explanation of Turgot's theory on administration will be provided. In gaining an understanding of Turgot's political and economic thought a powerful example of the problems that manifested themselves in the revolution is provided. Turgot was the model of an enlightened, reform-minded administrator and this may be glimpsed in the liberality of his economic ideas. However, while he certainly advised reforms in administration, they were simply intended so that the King could more effectively centralize political power.

Laissez-Faire and Free Trade:
     
As a young man Turgot was very close to Claude Marie Vincent, the Marquis de Gournay. Vincent was not only a friend but also Turgot's mentor in economics and administration. It is in tribute to Vincent that after his death Turgot developed his ideas on laissez-faire government in a paper called, the "Elegy to Gournay" (1759). Within this paper Turgot condemns the foolishness of mercantilist regulation of industry while expounding the benefits of free domestic and foreign trade following from the presence of free exchange.
     In a detailed analysis of the market process, Turgot writes that self-interest is the prime mover in the market process and that in a free market the individual interest must always coincide with the general interest. It can be assumed that the buyer will purchase from the seller who will give him the lowest price for the most suitable product. Furthermore, sellers will naturally sell their best merchandise at the highest competitive price. Conversely, Turgot says that when governmental restrictions are present, consumers are compelled to buy inferior goods at higher prices. Only by free exchange can sellers be assured the profit needed to match production while at the same time providing the consumer with the best goods at the lowest prices. Governments are present not to interfere with the market but to protect citizens from injustice and to ensure national security against foreign menace.
     Turgot did allow that it was possible for the consumer to get cheated by a fraudulent seller. However, Turgot says that common sense will provide the remedy because it is logical that the cheated consumer will learn from his experience and respond by not returning to the dishonest merchant. Word will spread of the sellers fraudulence and he will fall into discredit and be weeded out of the market. The market has thus solved its own problem through the logical sequence of rational consumers protecting their individual interests. On the other hand to think that government would be able to prevent such malpractice through regulation is foolish. It would certainly not be able to handle every instance of fraud and as it is compelled to regulate more and more the progress of industry would suffer.
     Turgot also touched on the subject of taxation by calling for a single tax on the ... more

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