chapter
11 Pages

Introduction

The prevention of violations of human rights must become the dominant protection strategy of the twenty-first century, nationally, regionally, and globally. While a few preventive human rights arrangements exist today (see Table I.1) the need for more effective preventive arrangements is acutely felt. The key lies in strong national protection systems backed up by regional and international organs and an international criminal justice system. Violence against women is the most pervasive violation of human

rights in the world today, affecting more than half of the world’s population. So it is imperative to heighten preventive strategies for the protection of women. The genocide in Rwanda in 1994 took the lives of 800,000 people in a few months-genocide must be prevented in the future. Torture takes place in numerous countries the world over and is systematic in some of them. Its consequences are dehumanizing for the victims, for the perpetrators, and for the world at large. Preventive strategies against torture have so far built on international legislation and the idea of periodic visits to prisons and places of detention. More needs to be done to prevent torture and other gross violations of human rights. Let us take the problem of trafficking and exploitation of human

beings. It is reliably estimated that about 1 million young women are trafficked into prostitution or servitude every year in numerous parts of the world. Sexual exploitation of children is rampant. How can supposedly civilized humanity allow this to continue? Is there not a need for international mobilization to prevent these pernicious practices and to protect the dignity and rights of the victims-and also to protect the dignity of humanity at large? The New York Times correspondent Nicholas D. Kristof has written

searing articles on the problems of trafficking and exploitation. In an article in the International Herald Tribune on 8 May 2009, he wrote

described a girls and took every cent they earned. Kristof noted that while prostitution in the United States was not as brutal as in other countries, “the scene on American streets is still appalling-and it continues largely because neither the authorities nor society as a whole show much interest in 14-year-old girls pimped on the streets.”1