By Otto Spijkers
On Wednesday 12 October 2011 I will defend my dissertation at the Academy Building of Leiden Univeristy, located at Rapenburg 67-73, Leiden. The book The United Nations, the Evolution of Global Values and International Law describes how moral values have determined the founding of the United Nations Organization in 1945 and the evolution of its purposes, principles and policies since then. It will be published by Intersentia in the School of Human Rights Research Series.
A detailed examination of the proceedings of the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco demonstrates that the drafting of the United Nations Charter was significantly influenced by global moral values, i.e. globally shared beliefs distinguishing right from wrong, good from bad, and the current from a preferable state-of-the-world. A common desire to eradicate war, poverty, inhuman treatment, and to halt the exploitation of peoples, has led to an affirmation of the values of peace and security, social progress and development, human dignity and the self-determination of all peoples. All these values ended up in the UN Charter. The book further analyzes how the United Nations, and especially its General Assembly, has continued to influence the maturing of global morality through contributions to the values-debate, and to the translation of these values into the language of international law, including the law on the use of force, sustainable development, human rights and the right to self-determination.