Human rights have traditionally been understood as protecting individual freedom against intrusion by the State. In this book, Sandra Fredman argues that this understanding requires radical revision. Human rights are based on a far richer view of freedom, which goes beyond being let alone, and instead pays attention to individuals' ability to exercise their rights. This view fundamentally shifts the focus of human rights. As well as restraining the State, human rights require the State to act positively to remove barriers and facilitate the exercise of freedom. This in turn breaks down traditional distinctions between civil and political rights and socio-economic rights. Instead, all rights give rise to a range of duties, both negative and positive. However, because positive duties have for so long been regarded as a question of policy or aspiration, little sustained attention has been given to their role in actualising human rights. Drawing on comparative experience from India, South Africa, the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Union, Canada and the UK, this book aims to create a theoretical and applied framework for understanding positive human rights duties. Part I elaborates the values of freedom, equality, and solidarity underpinning a positive approach to human rights duties, and argues that the dichotomy between democracy and human rights is misplaced. Instead, positive human rights duties should strengthen rather than substitute for democracy, particularly in the face of globalization and privatization. Part II considers justiciability, fashioning a democratic role for the courts based on their potential to stimulate deliberative democracy in the wider environment. Part III applies this framework to key positive duties, particularly substantive equality and positive duties to provide, traditionally associated with the Welfare State or socio-economic rights.
Human rights are increasingly described as being in crisis. But are human rights really on the verge of disappearing? Human Rights Transformation in Practice argues that it is certainly the case that human rights organizations in many parts of the world are under threat, but that the ideals of justice, fairness, and equality inherent in human rights remain appealing globally—and that recognizing the continuing importance and strength of human rights requires looking for them in different places. These places are not simply the Human Rights Council or regular meetings of monitoring committees but also the offices of small NGOs and the streets of poor cities. In Human Rights Transformation in Practice, editors Tine Destrooper and Sally Engle Merry collect various approaches to the questions of how human rights travel and how they are transformed, offering a corrective to those perspectives locating human rights only in formal institutions and laws. Contributors to the volume empirically examine several hypotheses about the factors that impact the vernacularization and localization of human rights: how human rights ideals become formalized in local legal systems, sometimes become customary norms, and, at other times, fail to take hold. Case studies explore the ways in which local struggles may inspire the further development of human rights norms at the transnational level. Through these analyses, the essays in Human Rights Transformation in Practice consider how the vernacularization and localization processes may be shaped by different causes of human rights violations, the perceived nature of violations, and the existence of networks and formal avenues for information-sharing. Contributors: Sara L. M. Davis, Ellen Desmet, Tine Destrooper, Mark Goodale, Ken MacLean, Samuel Martínez, Sally Engle Merry, Charmain Mohamed, Vasuki Nesiah, Arne Vandenbogaerde, Wouter Vandenhole, Johannes M. Waldmüller.
This work offers a multidisciplinary approach to the study of fact-finding, including rigorous and critical analysis of the field of practice, as well as providing a range of accounts of what actually happens. It deepens the study and practice of human rights investigations, and fosters fact-finding as a discretely studied topic, while mapping crucial transformations in the field.
This edited volume examines the development and challenges of governance, democracy, and human rights in Africa. It analyzes the emerging challenges for strengthening good governance in the region and explores issues related to civil, political, economic, cultural, and social rights highlighting group rights including women, girls, and other minority groups. The project presents a useful study of the democratization processes and normative developments in Africa exploring challenges in the form of corruption, conflict, political violence, and their subsequent impact on populations. The contributors appraise the implementation gap between law and practice and the need for institutional reform to build strong and robust mechanisms at the domestic, regional, and international levels.
Human rights are traditionally understood as protecting individual freedom against intrusion by the State. This title argues instead that human rights are based on a richer view of freedom, going beyond absence of coercion and focussing on the ability to exercise freedom.
This book tells a story of Taiwan’s transformation from an authoritarian regime to a democratic system where human rights are protected as required by international human rights treaties. There were difficult times for human rights protection during the martial law era; however, there has also been remarkable transformation progress in human rights protection thereafter. The book reflects the transformation in Taiwan and elaborates whether or not it is facilitated or hampered by its Confucian tradition. There are a number of institutional arrangements, including the Constitutional Court, the Control Yuan, and the yet-to-be-created National Human Rights Commission, which could play or have already played certain key roles in human rights protections. Taiwan’s voluntarily acceptance of human rights treaties through its implementation legislation and through the Constitutional Court’s introduction of such treaties into its constitutional interpretation are also fully expounded in the book. Taiwan’s NGOs are very active and have played critical roles in enhancing human rights practices. In the areas of civil and political rights, difficult human rights issues concerning the death penalty remain unresolved. But regarding the rights and freedoms in the spheres of personal liberty, expression, privacy, and fair trial (including lay participation in criminal trials), there are in-depth discussions on the respective developments in Taiwan that readers will find interesting. In the areas of economic, social, and cultural rights, the focuses of the book are on the achievements as well as the problems in the realization of the rights to health, a clean environment, adequate housing, and food. The protections of vulnerable groups, including indigenous people, women, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) individuals, the disabled, and foreigners in Taiwan, are also the areas where Taiwan has made recognizable achievements, but still encounters problems. The comprehensive coverage of this book should be able to give readers a well-rounded picture of Taiwan’s human rights performance. Readers will find appealing the story of the effort to achieve high standards of human rights protection in a jurisdiction barred from joining international human rights conventions. This book won the American Society of International Law 2021 Certificate of Merit in a Specialized Area of International Law.
In the third edition of his classic work, revised extensively and updated to include recent developments on the international scene, Jack Donnelly explains and defends a richly interdisciplinary account of human rights as universal rights. He shows that any conception of human rights—and the idea of human rights itself—is historically specific and contingent. Since publication of the first edition in 1989, Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice has justified Donnelly’s claim that "conceptual clarity, the fruit of sound theory, can facilitate action. At the very least it can help to unmask the arguments of dictators and their allies."
Against the recent backdrop of sociopolitical crisis, radical thinking and activism to challenge the oppressive operation of power has increased. Such thinkers and activists have aimed for radical social transformation in the sense of challenging dominant ways of viewing the world, including the neoliberal illusion of improving the welfare of all while advancing the interests of only some. However, a question mark has remained over the utility of human rights in this activity and the capability of rights to challenge, as opposed to reinforce, discourses such as liberalism, capitalism, internationalism and statism. It is at this point that the present work aims to intervene. Drawing upon critical legal theory, radical democratic thinking and feminist perspectives, Human Rights and Radical Social Transformation seeks to reassess the radical possibilities for human rights and explore how rights may be re-engaged as a tool to facilitate radical social change via the concept of 'human rights to come'. This idea proposes a reconceptualisation of human rights in theory and practice which foregrounds human rights as inherently futural and capable of sustaining a critical relation to power and alterity in radical politics.
Among several contesting views about the purpose of development and how progress should be evaluated, human rights and capabilities (or human development) stand out as two approaches that are concerned first and foremost with the well-being of individuals, their freedom, dignity and empowerment. These two approaches contrast sharply with the dominant development frameworks that emphasize economic growth as the essential objective. Though human rights and capabilities share these common commitment to human priorities, they are distinct concepts and fields that have developed separately. The aim of this volume is to explore the relationship between them in order to enhance the understanding of both as theoretical paradigms, as public policy frameworks and as approaches to development. The book includes contributions from some of the leading scholars in the two fields of capabilities approach and human rights. It covers the essential aspects of this relationship: addressing the complementarities between human rights and capabilities as theoretical concepts; how the concept of capabilities can contribute to resolving some key theoretical issues in human rights; how the social science analysis and methods of the capabilities approach can clarify human rights concepts and strengthen human rights advocacy; and how human rights norms can strengthen public policy and mobilize collective action to demand greater accountability in placing human priorities first in public policy. Human Rights and the Capabilities Approach raises many questions for further inter-disciplinary conversation and further research. This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, and has been expanded with two additional articles from this journal and a new foreword by Professor Amartya Sen.
When Business Harms Human Rights uses reported narrations to discuss and analyze the experiences of individuals and communities from around the world, and examines the impact that business activities has had on their lives. The volume is situated within the broader subject area of business and human rights, and uses various methodologies to share the perspectives of affected individuals and communities. The narratives collected here follow rights holders in their attempts to secure remedies, and examine the impact of the emerging legal regime of business and human rights.
As an instrument which addresses the circumstances which affect women's lives and enjoyment of rights in a diverse world, the CEDAW is slowly but surely making its mark on the development of international and national law. Using national case studies from South Asia, Southern Africa, Australia, Canada and Northern Europe, Women's Human Rights examines the potential and actual added value of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in comparison and interaction with other equality and anti-discrimination mechanisms. The studies demonstrate how state and non-state actors have invoked, adopted or resisted the CEDAW and related instruments in different legal, political, economic and socio-cultural contexts, and how the various international, regional and national regimes have drawn inspiration and learned from each other.
Soft law increasingly shapes and impacts the content of international law in multiple ways, from being a first step in a norm-making process to providing detailed rules and technical standards required for the interpretation and the implementation of treaties. This is especially true in the area of human rights. While relatively few human rights treaties have been adopted at the UN level in the last two decades, the number of declarations, resolutions, conclusions, and principles has grown significantly. In some areas, soft law has come to fill a void in the absence of treaty law, exerting a degree of normative force exceeding its non-binding character. In others areas, soft law has become a battleground for interpretative struggles to expand and limit human rights protection in the context of existing regimes. Despite these developments, little attention has been paid to soft law within human rights legal scholarship. Building on a thorough analysis of relevant case studies, this volume systematically explores the roles of soft law in both established and emerging human rights regimes. The book argues that a better understanding of how soft law shapes and affects different branches of international human rights law not only provides a more dynamic picture of the current state of international human rights, but also helps to unsettle and critically question certain political and doctrinal beliefs. Following introductory chapters that lay out the general conceptual framework, the book is divided in two parts. The first part focuses on cases that examine the role of soft law within human rights regimes where there are established hard law standards, its progressive and regressive effects, and the role that different actors play in the incubation process. The second part focuses on the role of soft law in emerging areas of international law where there is no substantial treaty codification of norms. These chapters examine the relationship between soft and hard law, the role of different actors in formulating new soft law, and the potential for eventual codification.