Humanitarian Good Offices in International Law: The Good Offices of the United Nations Secretary General in the Field of Human Rights : the 1981 Reid Lectures Delivered at Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada

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Brill Academic Pub, 1983 - 220 pages
This book, with its annex of 13 instruments and documents, presents a comprehensive insight into the practical dimensions and possibilities of the good offices' function in humanitarian matters, in particular in connection with the role of the United Nations Secretary-General. The Charter of the UN does not mention the 'good offices' of the Secretary-General as a part of his mandate. But, in fact, he has used his good offices on a number of occasions, as an important aspect of his functions either on his own initiative or upon request of the General Assembly and other UN bodies, and particularly in connection with human rights and humanitarian considerations. According to the author, four bases may be cited for the Secretary-General's exercises of good offices in the field of human rights: a specific mandate, his general mandate to foster international cooperation furthering human rights, his inherent or implied powers to consult with governments in situations where the competence of the UN is uncertain or contested, with a view to resolving problems potentially falling within Article 99 of the Charter (violations of human rights so grave as to threaten international peace). Proposals for the creation of a high commissioner for human rights have given some prominence to good offices as among the Secretary-General's functions not without the criticism, however, that this could permit his interference in domestic affairs of states in violation of the Charter. But if the good offices were to be a transfer from the Secretary-General of not more, and perhaps less, than those already long exercised by him, such apprehensions would seem groundless. The book offers a number of case studies illustrative of the exercise of the good offices function.

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