International Human Rights

International Human Rights

International Human Rights

International Human Rights

Synopsis

International Human Rights studies the ways in which states and other international actors have addressed human rights since the end of World War II. This unique textbook features substantial attention to the domestic politics of human rights, as well as an extensive emphasis on theory.

The fourth edition is substantially rewritten and reorganized to enhance usability, with new material is added to bring the text up to date. The sections covering multilateral, bilateral, and transnational action have been broken into seven short chapters, and new case studies provide context and points of comparison. Additionally, nine "problems" have been added to the text, which along with the chapter-ending discussion questions, frame alternative interpretations, highlight controversies, and ultimately aim to provoke further thought and discussion.

Excerpt

This is a book about the international relations of human rights since the end of World War II; that is, the ways in which states and other international actors have addressed human rights. The topic, although broad, is narrower than some readers might expect.

Life, liberty, security, subsistence, and other things to which we have human rights may be denied by an extensive array of individuals and organizations. “Human rights,” however, are usually taken to have a special reference to the ways in which states treat their own citizens. For example, domestically, we distinguish muggings and private assaults, which are not typically considered human rights violations, from police brutality and torture, which are. Internationally, we distinguish terrorism, war, and war crimes from human rights abuses, even though all lead to denials of life and security. Although the boundaries are not always clear, the distinction is part of our ordinary language and focuses our attention on an important set of political problems.

No single book can cover all aspects of the politics of human rights. My concern is international human rights policies, a vital and now well-established area of policy and inquiry. This does not imply that international action is the principal determinant of whether human rights are respected or violated. In fact, much of this book demonstrates the limits of international action. And one of its distinctive features, as opposed to most other discussions of international human rights, is its substantial attention to the domestic politics of human rights. Chapter 4 provides a relatively detailed look at human rights violations in the Southern Cone of South America in the 1970s and 1980s. Later chapters provide briefer domestic case studies of South Africa, Central America, China, and the former Yugoslavia.

Another distinctive feature of this book, along with the other volumes in the Dilemmas in World Politics series, is a relatively extensive emphasis on theory, which provides the heart of Part 1. Chapter 2 addresses philosophical issues of the nature, substance, and source of human rights; the place of human rights in the . . .

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