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In contrast, the democratic traditions of Western countries focused on "negative rights"—things that the state was not allowed to do source. The Soviets, and several other communist countries effectively under Soviet rule, didn't support the adoption of the UDHR in For basically the rest of the 20th century, the United States and the Soviet Union were at each other's throats over these issues.

The Cold War pitted the countries' two ideologies against each other, and the U.

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The participating states of the CSCE have rather adopted documents that articulate the political commitments they make to each other, including commitments to protect Human Rights. Because they are adopted by consensus, these political commitments do not permit states to attach reservations or exceptions. It never has been. Despite the official adoption of the position that human rights issues are an international concern and not solely a domestic issue, many CSCE participating states continued to object to criticism from the outside on the grounds that such criticism constitute an improper interference with their internal affairs [25].

An important addition was the final section of the Helsinki Act, which provided that there should be a number of follow-up meetings to examine, whether the participating states had implemented the commitments made in or not. Human Rights dominated the agenda of this, with Bentes words, tense and acrimonious review of compliance with the Final Act. Another follow-up conference began in Vienna in November While the Soviet Union was jet somewhat more willing to discuss human rights issues, progress was still very slow and the talks dragged on for more than two years, before the result was a significant change and improvement of the Human Rights regime.


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Due to the fact, that an international regime is often seen as an intervening variable, a steady increase in family reunification with the creation and expansion of the CSCE process was rather surprising [28]. In the beginning of the Helsinki process, Western states sought to link agreements on issues related to security to issues related to Human Rights. By connecting Human Rights and security concerns, the Western states made it more attractive for communist governments to adhere internally to Human Rights norms.

Again, by linking Human Rights to peace and friendly relations, the participating states transformed Human Rights from a marginal item on the European political agenda into a subject of central importance to it. Henceforth the Final Act made it politically legitimate to link the protection of Human Rights with arms control and the liberalization of trade relations [29]. Within Basket III, Western concerns for human contacts and free flow of information are linked to the cultural and educational exchange, which are of interest to both the East and the West.


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  • It is this linkage that was the main goal of the Western nations. Thus, throughout the negotiations on the original document and in all follow-up meetings progress on the issues of security and trade, which were of interest to the Soviets, were made dependent on progress in Human Rights [30].

    Especially freedom of movement received a good deal of attention in CSCE negotiations. Within the East itself, Helsinki groups, named after the Final Act, became important players in the socialist regimes [32]. Human Rights are, after all, institutional developments.

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    The Soviet Union and the Creation of the International Human Rights System

    The growth of citizen Human Rights organizations show that the focus of national leaders on Human Rights and significant political changes in the most abusive nations have increased [33]. Human Rights constitute an intellectual and legal problem as well as a political issue of extraordinary concern. During the s, there appears to be a growing consensus in the Western world and in certain socialist societies that Human Rights are definable, should exist and may be an achievable objective [34]. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in the final years of Stalinist rule, a time when mass repression was still institutionalized, seemed for many to be a hypocritical gesture [35].

    Moreover, the credibility of Soviet foreign policy suffered from its transparently ideological and opportunistic motives. Soviet commitment to the Helsinki process was called into question by its appalling domestic Human Rights record [36]. But the Human Rights issue has, nevertheless acquired greater prestige and respect in the international arena.


    1. How Human Rights Were Used to Hurt the USSR and Blunt the Left;
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    It became a concern of many politicians with a mass constituency. Human Rights around the World November, , p. Transnational Agenda Settings. Add to cart. Index 1. Introduction 2.

    Human Rights in the Soviet Union

    The changing face of Human Rights during the Cold War 5. Conclusion 6. Literature 1. Pressure Groups and their influence on governments Human Rights are, after all, institutional developments. Sign in to write a comment.

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