The Evolution of International Human Rights: Visions Seen by Paul Gordon Lauren

By Paul Gordon Lauren

This greatly acclaimed and very popular booklet, used widely by way of scholars, students, policymakers, and activists, now seems in a brand new 3rd variation. concentrating on the subject of visions noticeable by way of those that dreamed of what will be, Lauren explores the dramatic transformation of an international patterned by way of centuries of human rights abuses right into a worldwide group that now boldly declares that the best way governments deal with their very own humans is an issue of foreign concern—and units the target of human rights "for all peoples and all nations." He unearths the really common nature of this flow, areas modern occasions inside their broader ancient contexts, and explains the connection among person situations and bigger problems with human rights with insight.

This new version accommodates fabric from lately declassified records and the newest scholarship when it comes to the construction of the recent Human Rights Council and its common Periodic evaluation, the overseas legal courtroom, the accountability to guard (R2P), terrorism and torture, the influence of globalization and smooth expertise, and activists in NGOs dedicated to human rights. It presents perceptive checks of the method of swap, the facility of visions and visionaries, politics and political will, and the evolving meanings of sovereignty, defense, and human rights themselves.

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In terms of its specific impact on international relations, perhaps no factor of difference confronted basic principles of human rights more directly than that of race. For centuries men and women ranging from Japan to the Islamic world and from the Indian subcontinent to Europe and then the Americas discriminated against those of “backward races” whom they regarded as inferior. 91 Among the many cases of racial prejudice, however, none came even close to eclipsing that of the white, Western world.

Torture as a means of punishment, extracting confessions, deterrence, or even entertainment through grisly public spectacle was judicially approved and an accepted part of ordinary criminal procedure. Social stability and conformity overwhelmed individual freedom and self-­realization, and most certainly insisted on duties over rights. In fact, all these practices prevailed, and hierarchical and authoritarian governments dominated the world as it had evolved up to that time. Some of the most vehement challenges to visions of human rights—­and ones that would influence the fate of international human rights for centuries—­came from those who emphasized the importance of differences between people rather than similarities.

Philosophical thought, let alone that concerning freedom, or dignity, or justice, failed to move them. Faith in visions of what might be, the power of moral force, or even law, elicited only contempt. ”109 It can thus be seen why, in the vast history of the world, most people experienced not human rights but abuses. ”111 No place on earth—­West, East, North, or South—­by the end of the eighteenth century possibly could claim that human rights for all were somehow broadly based or solidly grounded in their cultures.

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