Human Rights: New Perspectives, New Realities

Human Rights: New Perspectives, New Realities

Human Rights: New Perspectives, New Realities

Human Rights: New Perspectives, New Realities

Synopsis

This collection reflects two decades of developments in human rights scholarship, revisiting the debate between universalists and cultural relativists and also engaging new notions of third generation rights.

Excerpt

In our first book on human rights, we took issue with the concept of the universality of human rights and discussed the theoretical perspective of rights within the context of socioeconomic, cultural, and ideological factors. Indeed, we questioned whether doctrines of human rights as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were even relevant to societies with a non-Western cultural tradition or a socialist ideology. To us, economic, cultural, and collective rights had as much validity and legitimacy as individual civil and political rights. That volume, particularly our chapter “Human Rights: A Western Construct with Limited Applicability, ” had a profound impact on the conversation surrounding human rights and in 1986 was selected by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights as a primary reference on the subject.

Some years later, our second volume used the theoretical tools developed earlier and analyzed human rights within specific Western, socialist, and third world states, stressing the similarities and differences among them. In reflecting on the position of human rights we concluded that a universal conception of human rights was clearly lacking, that all nations sometimes violated their own principles, and that human rights tend to be interpreted differently by Westerners in states that are radical in their political approach. In addition, we stressed the fact that rights are limited when leadership or institutions are seen as threatened and that often the most basic rights of populations are violated.

In the ensuing years since these volumes were published significant developments have taken place, both theoretically and politically, with regard to human rights. The controversy between civil and political . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.