Thursday, April 23, 2020

Sripati: Constitution-Making under UN Auspices: Fostering Dependency in Sovereign Lands

Vijayashri Sripati has published Constitution-Making under UN Auspices: Fostering Dependency in Sovereign Lands (Oxford Univ. Press 2020). Here's the abstract:
This book raises very interesting and important questions about the legitimacy of the contemporary use of United Nations Constitutional Assistance (UNCA) (1989-2018) which birthed in 1949, as trusteeship and was, for this reason, rejected in 1960. Conceptual confusions have turned scholars' and policymakers' attention away from the Western liberal constitution that UNCA internationalizes. The Constitution's salience makes UNCA the most significant post-1989 development—-one that promotes the 'rule of law,' provides the basis for UN/ international territorial administration, and shapes all other developments. During colonialism, foreign states and international organizations starting from the League of Nations, followed by the United Nations, internationalized the Constitution in response to the colonies' supposed incapacities, and ostensibly to promote free markets, rule of law, good governance and civilized standards concerning women, with a view to 'civilize' them, and thereby morph them into sovereign states. Post 1960, UNCA has worked essentially to secure debt-relief for poor debtor sovereign states. But it does so, ostensibly to promote the same ends with a view to 'modernize' them, thus 'strengthening' their supposedly weakened sovereignty, which means, sovereign states experience political domination and control just as they did when they were colonies. This book concludes that UNCA which continues as trusteeship, makes a new addition to the 'standards of civilization': transparent, inclusive and participatory constitution-making. UNCA violates developing states' right to self-determination. This book provides a new constitutional dimension of trusteeship, one that creates and perpetuates global inequality.