The Globalization of Human Rights

The Globalization of Human Rights

The Globalization of Human Rights

The Globalization of Human Rights

Synopsis

International efforts to construct a set of standardised human rights guidelines are based upon the identification of agreed key values regarding the relationships between individuals and the institutions governing them, which are viewed as critical to the well-being of humanity and the character of being human. This publication considers these issues of justice at the national, regional, and international levels by analysing civil, political, economic and social rights aspects.

Excerpt

Reflecting on the costly conflicts and international interventions in Kosovo and East Timor, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan recently declared: “State sovereignty, in its most basic sense, is being redefined… States are now widely understood,” he went on to say, “to be instruments at the service of their peoples, and not vice versa… [while] individual sovereignty – by which I mean the fundamental freedom of each individual, enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and subsequent international treaties – has been enhanced by a renewed and spreading consciousness of individual rights.”

The Secretary-General is clearly identifying a powerful stream in the rethinking of legitimate international order. He also highlights a serious tension between increasingly influential global principles, on the one hand, and the practical difficulty, on the other hand, of implementing them in the face of states reluctant either to abide by the principles of human rights or to commit the resources needed to give those principles impartial and general effect when they are violated. But before these practical dilemmas arise, there are conceptual challenges that should be addressed first.

Is there a sufficient consensus on the content of “individual sovereignty”? What is, what should be, the relation between civil and political individual sovereign rights and social and economic individual sovereign rights? Can individuals suffer desperate material deprivation and still be fully sovereign? Do states across various regions and in different stages . . .

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