5 Bodies of International Law

In order to maintain global peace and stability, certain standards must be maintained on the international stage. To accomplish this, leaders from the global community have developed international laws that all nations must adhere to on a domestic and global level. In order to facilitate the creation, implementation, and enforcement of these laws, several international organizations have risen up in recent years to take on the task of drafting reasonable international legislature and policing those who do not abide by it.

United Nations

Headquartered in New York, the United Nations (UN) is an international organization that was formed with the purpose of fostering economic, social and political cooperation among its 193 nation state members. The members of the United Nations collaborate to influence national leaders to participate in treaties and partnerships that encourage international peace and standardized human rights practices that are backed by international laws.

In matters of international law, such as war crimes and human rights violations, the main judicial faction of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), stands as the highest court of international law in the world. Through this branch, the United Nations can be described as the benchmark for establishing many of the individual precedents that comprise international law. No two judges of the ICJ may be of the same nationality, as the court is tasked with representing the “main forms of civilization and of the principal legal systems of the world.” Additionally, to further establish guidelines for cultural, social, economic, civil and political rights, the United Nations developed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted in 1948 and set the standard for global human rights. Through this, the United Nations takes an active role in working with countries to stop inhumane practices.

The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation is an international nonprofit formed to improve the lives of people throughout greater Asia through the creation of international laws that focus on critical social, political and economic issues. To accomplish this goal, the Asia Foundation has divided their efforts into five objectives: strengthen regional governance, empower women in developing nations, expand on current economic opportunities, improve environmental stability, and encourage international cooperation throughout Asia. The Foundation is based in San Francisco, California and has branch offices in 18 different Asian countries.

Since being formed in 1954, the Foundation has provided leaders within the region with an unbiased outlet to discuss foreign policy–particularly the influence of policy changes made by the United States. By bringing together the collective communities and governments of Asia to create and enact policies that focus on resolving current regional issues, this organization has become a catalyst for the reform of flawed policies internationally and the advancement of Asia, both socially and politically.

United States Institute of Peace

Since being created by Congress in 1984, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has worked to avert violent conflict in various regions throughout the world. The organization specializes in offering analytical, educational and logistical resources to international lawmakers, helping to facilitate the process of creating and enacting vital international laws and policies. For instance, the USIP has been successful in advising on the development of international laws that encourage increased police response to cases of terrorism abroad.

By providing a space for young leaders across the world to collaborate through the Generation Change Fellows Program, the USIP has transformed scores of communities by connecting future and aspiring government officials with foreign leaders that can be responsible for developing future international laws. The program, which is currently active in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Jordan, and Yemen, sets the stage for individuals to take the reins as positive agents of change on local and international levels. Through the large-scale Fellows Program as well as other short-term initiatives, the USIP helps to properly train aspiring international politicians to facilitate the development of international laws and ensure that policy makers in various regions understand the key aspects of drafting effective foreign policy.

Center for International Policy

In response to the Vietnam War, the Center for International Policy was formed as a think tank that focuses on promoting U.S. foreign policy and encouraging international cooperation, demilitarization and more respect for human rights. The Center focuses on advocating policies in a way that is transparent and functions by providing analysis and policy recommendations to key government decision makers to help them better understand the implications of drafting certain international policies. The Center for International Policy has established different programs that help influence international law, including:

  • The Americas Program: This program is dedicated to the analysis and delivery of information for academics, protesters, activists, and citizens who may be interested in learning more about U.S. foreign policy within Latin America. With this information in hand, the individuals are more effective at influencing these U.S. foreign policy measures from within their home nations.
  • The Arms & Security Project: In this project, members of the Center work to promote the reform of United States policies related to nuclear weapons, military spending, and any aspect of the arms trade.
  • The Avoided Deforestation (AD) Partners: The AD Partners program focuses entirely on advancing international policies that aim to protect tropical forests and reduce deforestation.
  • The Cuba Project: Given the more stable relationship between the United States and Cuba, this project has been developed to help guide Cuba towards using the most ethically practical methods for attaining sustainable development through sensible international trade policies.
  • The Global Progressive Hub: This program aims to spread values that will lead to the implementation of policies and laws that encourage peace and sustainability throughout the world.
  • Mighty: This particular program campaigns to protect the environment by focusing on larger issues, such as the conservation of threatened landscapes, like tropical rainforests and oceans, and lobbying for the protection of natural resources.
  • Security Assistance Monitor: The Security Assistance Monitor program works to keep policymakers, scholars, and large organizations up to date on current issues that involve foreign security assistance. This guidance assists those drafting foreign policies and international laws with developing effective national defense-oriented foreign policies.
  • Win Without War: This program is designed to promote a United States security strategy that stands up against potential corruption within America’s security policy platforms.

World Bank

The World Bank is one of the five institutions that collectively form The World Bank Group, a group that operates in conjunction with the United Nations. As an international organization, the World Bank is committed to stimulating economic advancement in developing countries by offering loans or grants that can be used to fund capital programs within these nations, such as reconstruction after a catastrophe. These financial contributions can help to improve a particular nation’s economic stability, and, therefore, increase that country’s participation, time and resources for adhering to specific international laws. While the World Bank is not directly responsible for developing international policies, they do play a significant role in influencing international legislation by advising developing countries on how to conduct valid research that will enable them to draft policies that can effectively further their nation’s interests. The World Bank can also provide analytical support in addition to financing options for nations that request support.

Recently, the World Bank has been working to push forward international policies that encourage environmental, social and legal safeguards that will positively contribute to the realization of universal primary education, gender equality, the reduction in child mortality, the improvement of maternal health and the elimination of extreme global poverty and hunger. The World Bank is also pushing for international laws that support the development of global environmental sustainability, as well as the total eradication of epidemics like malaria.

Many nations are dealing with widespread dilemmas like war and massive economic instability. It is the responsibility of international law organizations to step in and secure the safety and security of the people living within those countries. These organizations require experienced international relations professionals to help further these initiatives, offering the opportunity for those interested in or within the field to advance their career.

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About the Asia Foundation, The Asia Foundation

About USIP, United States Institute of Peace

Generation Change Fellows Program, United States Institute of Peace

About The World Bank, The World Bank

About the United Nations, United Nations Org

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