Lotte Leicht, Human Rights Watch Director in Brussels, stresses that human rights are internationally recognized. As such, the international community can easily discern who is upholding human rights and who is not, and human rights violators can be held internationally accountable.
Watch an exclusive interview with Lotte Leicht emphasizing her critical remarks made during the panel discussion at the Heinrich Böll Foundation's conference "Values and Interests in Foreign Policy." (2:56 min).
Ms. Leicht describes the EU as paralyzed in regard to upholding human rights and said that it failed a "credibility test." This credibility test pertains to the EU's relationship with its biggest partners, namely the US, Russia, and China. The EU must hold these countries accountable for their human rights violations. The US is particularly guilty. Counts of torture and a failure to recognize social rights as such (economic living conditions, education, etc.) all brand the US as a human rights violator. In order to hold other countries accountable for human rights, the EU must first do so with its allies.
Georgia provides the newest circumstance that will test the EU's ability to uphold human rights. Ms. Leicht suggested that the EU should play a role in investigating war crimes and prosecuting them in the ICC.
Although often not fully implemented, EU treaties are indeed important, as they establish recognized standards for human rights around the world.
Lotte Leicht is the Director of Human Rights Watch in Brussles.
David Neil Lebhar holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Davidson College and is currently an editorial intern at atlantic-community.org.
Realted Materials from the Atlantic Community:
- Ariela Blätter: Bashir's Prosecution Will Not Ruin the Chances for Peace in Darfur
- Judy Fu: End the Isolation of Secessionist Movements
- Ralf Fücks: Georgia: The Right Conflict, the Right Time?