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.
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 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.
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.
This biography tells the story of Theo van Boven’s dynamic and courageous leadership to develop UN protection. Van Boven has been a life-long scholar and practitioner of human rights. He served in the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented The Netherlands in the UN Commission on Human Rights, served as an expert in its Sub-Commission on Human Rights, and also on the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. He was the Director of the UN Human Rights secretariat from 1977 to 1982, and later served as Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, and as UN Special Rapporteur against Torture. As Director of the UN Human Rights secretariat, Professor van Boven built up the protection capacity of the United Nations piece by piece and thereby transformed the UN's role. He initiated every protection mechanism in use at the United Nations today. He was thus the father of the contemporary system of United Nations protection. This book is a priceless study of leadership and strategy. If one is to be able to deepen the protection capacity of the UN in the future, it is crucial to understand how the foundations were laid. This book, based on the personal papers of Professor van Boven and of the author, who was his Special Assistant, tells the story of his remarkable leadership of the UN Human Rights secretariat.
This text provides an introduction to discrimination law. Drawing on a wide variety of philosophical and legal sources, the concepts of equality and anti-discrimination law are introduced in their social and historical context.
Human rights have transformed the way in which we conceive the place of the individual within the community and in relation to the state in a vast array of disciplines, including law, philosophy, politics, sociology, geography. The published output on human rights over the last five decades has been enormous, but has remained tightly bound to a notion of human rights as dialectically linking the individual and the state. Because of human rights’ dogged focus on the state and its actions, they have very seldom attracted the attention of legal pluralists. Indeed, some may have viewed the two as simply incompatible or relating to wholly distinct phenomena. This collection of essays is the first to bring together authors with established track records in the fields of legal pluralism and human rights, to explore the ways in which these concepts can be mutually reinforcing, delegitimizing, or competing. The essays reveal that there is no facile conclusion to reach but that the question opens avenues which are likely to be mined for years to come by those interested in how human rights can affect the behaviour of individuals and institutions.
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."
The authors of this volume seek to contribute to the clarification of the very difficult conceptual and practical questions surrounding the legitimization and permanent protection of human rights in non-Western cultural contexts, specifically in this case Africa. The contributors try to clarify thinking about what ought to constitute human rights in an African context as well as strategies for realizing them within communities and countries. These issues are particularly contentious when the specific point at issue is the promotion and protection of economic, social and cultural rights, and even more so in relation to the rights of women. The underlying premise is that there are possibilities for the local promotion of what ought to be universal human rights through processes of cultural transformation over time. While conceding the difficulties and constraints of the relationship between local cultures and the notion of the universality of human rights, the contributors believe that it is both necessary and possible to address these issues by making use of creative possibilities within specific countries. Several of the contributors explore these questions of cultural transformation and human rights generally. The African Charter of Human and People's Rights is examined to see if there is a case for recognizing a specifically African cultural contribution to conceptualizations of human rights which have been originally formulated in a European social context. The volume then proceeds to translate the general issues at stake into the particular question of women's rights - especially their ability to own, control and have access to land and other property rights. This thoughtful set of explorations by African scholars and human rights activists adds significantly to our understanding of the complex relationships that exist between culture, religion, law and human rights.