Definitions

What is the real purpose of the Helms Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act?

In 1973, the United States Supreme Court decided, in Roe v. Wade, to strike down all laws protecting unborn children from abortion throughout the country. That same year, Congress moved to contain…

definitions

What is the “unfinished business” of the ICPD?

Twenty-five years ago, national leaders, UN representatives, and members of civil society met in Cairo, Egypt for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).  The resulting Programme of Action…

definitions

What is the Universal Periodic Review?

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a relatively new UN human rights mechanism. In its ten-year tenure it has provided a forum for nations to review each other’s human rights records, with input from civil society.

definitions

What Went Wrong with the Human Rights System?

The recent formation of the U.S. Commission on Unalienable Rights is a positive sign in the United States. It shows that there is an increasing awareness that the UN human rights system has gone badly awry. Indeed, something has gone awfully wrong in international human rights discourse.

definitions

What does a right to family planning mean?

For more than half a century, advocates have asserted that couples have a human right to family planning— the knowledge and means to determine the timing and spacing of their…

definitions

Why Confusion About Family Planning Terminology Could Be Costing Us Billions

At international institutions, there is always a politically sensitive, if not controversial, nature to discussions of sex, reproduction, and the family. Even so, since 1968, some nations have framed such…

definitions

What is an International Norm? How is it Created and Why Does it Matter?

International debates often center around the concept of “international norms.” The liberal global order is sometimes described as being based on “rules” and “norms.” But what exactly is meant by…

definitions

Lives Saved — Bad Metrics, Bad Faith

Is saving a life the same as averting a death? Not exactly—one involves leaving a survivor, while the other deals with theoretical probabilities. But that subtle distinction has huge implications…

definitions