- 北東アジア研究 (ISSN:13463810)
- vol.5, pp.109-120, 2003-03
The United Nations has made a significant contribution to international security by promoting alternative visions of security and keeping a wide variety of fundamental global issues on political agenda. Human rights have been high on the agenda since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which still stands as the foundation of all attempts to fight against human rights abuses. Similarly, the United Nations kept environment on the international political agenda ever after the Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972 ended. At the same time a whole new vocabulary has been created to deal with environmental and human security threats. However, there are limits to what the United Nations system and its supporters can do since many of its member states are less than enthusiastic about placing priority on human rights or environmental concerns in their domestic and foreign policies. Unfortunately, all too many countries waste resources promoting their narrow and selfish short-term interests and satisfying their nationalist sentiments instead of promoting long-term solutions to pressing global problems. The so-called green political agenda has been adopted quite unevenly in the world in geographic terms and within most societies there can be found deep divisions in terms of degrees of human rights or environmental concern. This article analyses the situation of human rights and human security and how these concerns are addressed in the foreign policies of the United States, European countries and various countries in the Northeast Asia region. The terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 had a deep impact on international relations in all parts of the world after the United States made its war against terror its first priority and in international politics there seems to be an upsurge of unilateralism, militarism and nationalism. However, at the same co-operation to strengthen the international law and make it more effective against human rights violations has continued and there have been important results such as establishment of the International Criminal Court and fight against torture. For the time being the human rights policies of such countries as Japan, the United States, Russia and the countries of the European Union have grown all the time more dissimilar to each other, reflecting deep ideological and sociological differences as well as differences in policy priorities.