Encyclopedia of Human Rights Issues since 1945

Encyclopedia of Human Rights Issues since 1945

Encyclopedia of Human Rights Issues since 1945

Encyclopedia of Human Rights Issues since 1945

Excerpt

Preparing this volume was both rewarding and difficult. Rewarding, because it gave me a new appreciation for the breadth, richness, and complexity of the human rights movement as it has developed since 1945. Rewarding because it brought home in clear and persuasive terms, the reasons why human rights have provoked such strong and moving passions in people, and why governments have, time and time again, sought to disguise the true meaning of those rights or to employ force and brutality to mute, if not eliminate, their expression. First, international recognition of those rights hold the most profound social and moral promise that people have been offered in modern times. Second, that promise bears with it the potential to revolutionize the entire structure of interpersonal, intersocietal, and international relations. Third, because the state is at once the institution that must guarantee the promotion and protection of those rights as well as the institution most threatened by their full exercise, a large gap has developed between the promise and the reality of people's lives. The gap and the tension the gap occasions are present throughout the book.

Preparing the work was demanding because particular issues had to be placed in the context of the factors mentioned above, on account of the need to cover the complexity of human rights issues in the limited space available, and because of the need to go beyond the narrow confines of the issues generally emphasized by most governments, opinion shapers, and scholars. It was also difficult because, in some instances, the potential for misunderstanding could undermine the good that this volume hopes to serve: to help educate individuals about their moral and legal entitlements, the widespread abuse of those entitlements, and the difference the full enjoyment of those entitlements would make in their daily lives.

I would like to thank the International Studies Library at Harvard University, the staff of the Boston University Law Library, the International . . .

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