Washington Law Review


Evaluating accomplishments and prospects in the area of international human rights law recalls the oft-used rhetorical question about whether the glass is half empty or half full. As far as human rights are concerned, if the question is "how much has been achieved," the answer must be "a great deal." If the question is "how much remains to be achieved," the answer will be the same: "a great deal." Has a great deal more been achieved than remains to be accomplished? Yes and no; it all depends where we start and what we consider to be achievements. Tonight I propose to examine these questions and to introduce you to international human rights law and the institutions that apply it. This cannot, of course, be done in any great depth in a relatively short lecture. Let me, therefore, apologize in advance for what must of necessity be a superficial treatment of a topic that would require many more hours to exhaust, by which time you and I would be sound asleep. [This article is the text of a lecture given at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, on April 30, 1987.]

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