The United Nations (UN): a promotor and protector of human rights? Most of my students snort at the suggestion. Their scepticism is understandable. They see a world in which wars rage on, refugees search for shelter by the millions, police violence often goes unpunished, political opponents are arrested, and countries unilaterally attack other countries without repercussions. The UN may serve as a forum for political debates but it does nothing for the realisation of human rights on the ground, they argue. Are they right?