Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy, 75 Years After the UDHR

December 10 will mark 75 years since the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the process spearheaded by Eleanor Roosevelt that established the foundation of the modern international human rights framework.  To commemorate this milestone, the Quincy Institute held a virtual panel taking stock of how U.S. foreign policy intersects with human rights. It examined divergent perspectives on the role of U.S. military power deployed in the name of human rights, American support or engagement with rights-abusing regimes, the use of coercive economic sanctions in response to rights violations, and other tools of statecraft in the service of creating a world in which all people enjoy fundamental human rights. The conversation included Kenneth Roth, former Executive Director of Human Rights Watch for nearly three decades, and Aslı Bâli, Yale Law School Professor and Quincy Institute Non-Resident Fellow. Elizabeth Beavers, Vice President of Public Affairs at the Quincy Institute, moderated the discussion.


Kenneth Roth

Kenneth Roth is the Charles and Marie Robertson Visiting Professor at the Princeton School for Public and International Affairs. Until August 2022, he served for nearly three decades as the executive director of Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s leading international human rights organizations, which operates in some 100 countries. A graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University, Roth has conducted numerous human rights investigative and advocacy missions around the world. He is quoted widely in the media and has written hundreds of articles on a wide range of human rights issues, devoting special attention to the world’s most dire situations, the conduct of war, the foreign policies of the major powers, and the work of the United Nations.

Aslı Bâli

Aslı Bâli is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Quincy Institute and Professor at Yale Law School. Previously, she taught law at the UCLA School of Law, where she served as the founding Faculty Director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights and the Director of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies. Bâli’s research focuses on two broad areas: public international law—including human rights law and the law of the international security order—and comparative constitutional law, with a focus on the Middle East. Her scholarship has appeared in the American Journal of International Law Unbound, Cornell International Law Journal, International Journal of Constitutional Law, University of Chicago Law Review, and UCLA Law Review.

Elizabeth Beavers (Moderator)

Elizabeth Beavers is the Vice President for Public Affairs at the Quincy Institute and a national security legal scholar. In 2019, she launched a consultancy that has worked behind the scenes to strengthen leading national advocacy organizations in their work to lobby lawmakers, organize and train grassroots activists, and change the public narrative on matters of peace and security. Elizabeth also teaches remotely as an adjunct professor of counterterrorism law at the University of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce School of Law.