The Sovereignty of Human Rights

The Sovereignty of Human Rights

The Sovereignty of Human Rights

The Sovereignty of Human Rights

Synopsis

The Sovereignty of Human Rights advances a legal theory of international human rights that defines their nature and purpose in relation to the structure and operation of international law. Professor Macklem argues that the mission of international human rights law is to mitigate adverse consequences produced by the international legal deployment of sovereignty to structure global politics into an international legal order. The book contrasts this legal conception of international human rights with moral conceptions that conceive of human rights as instruments that protect universal features of what it means to be a human being. The book also takes issue with political conceptions of international human rights that focus on the function or role that human rights plays in global political discourse. It demonstrates that human rights traditionally thought to lie at the margins of international human rights law - minority rights, indigenous rights, the right of self-determination, social rights, labor rights, and the right to development - are central to the normative architecture of the field.

Excerpt

Human rights are the vocabulary of justice for our globalizing world. They frame our moral conceptions of obligations to friends and strangers, they shape our political judgments about the nature and exercise of economic and political power, and they help us distinguish legal acts from arbitrary violence and coercion. Human rights frame the moral, shape the political, and distinguish the legal in places as local and diverse as the family, the school, the workplace, the community, the nation, and the State. But their true significance lies in their status as international legal entitlements that call for radical revision of the ways in which international law organizes global politics into an international legal order.

What it means to speak of human rights in this way is the subject of this book. I offer a legal theory of human rights in international law that defines their nature and purpose in terms of their capacity to monitor the structure and operation of the international legal order. On this account, human rights require the international legal order to attend to pathologies of its own making. They monitor the distribution and exercise of sovereign power to which international law extends legal validity. They impose obligations on sovereign and other legal actors to exercise the authority they receive from international law in ways that respect the rights of all. They mobilize critical judgment on international law’s participation in the perpetuation of global economic inequality. They generate international legal duties on all of us to improve the social and economic conditions of impoverished people around the world.

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.