May 21 , 2013 – 3EE3
Human rights: GN-GS
What are human rights, where do they come from, where are they
codified, how are they enforced
Reasoned/ordained: deontological approaches VS consequentialist
o Deontological – Universal rights for everyone
Not interested in the outcomes of following these rights
They’re right because they’re agreed upon by everyone
Religious sources of rights
o Consequentialist approach
“Killing would be all right if saved 20 other people”
Socially constructed, contextual, post-modern
o Rights can be defined within particular societies and can’t be defined
outside of those societies
o Who is right?
o What do other societies, when they look at our societies, what would
they consider to be a human rights violation
Nursing homes / Homelessness
R.J Vincent “That moral claims derive from, and are enmeshed in, a cultural context
which is itself the source of their validity” – Can’t talk about human rights outside of
the social context.
Are human rights the will of the powerful?
Beyond the most obvious violations
We might not have the right to push any universal ideas
In Canada, treating Aboriginal communities – Equal access to food can be
contested. Sovereignty is a key divider
“That all human beings are by nature fellow citizens of a world community are divided
into particular society only by convention”
Not dependent on who, or where you are
Spread of norms and systems of governance common to all
“Live and let live”
Human rights – Universal (Intervention a responsibility) VS
Sovereignty May 21 , 2013 – 3EE3
Ideas of the responsibility to protect
Globalization and identity, progress, civilizing
If globalization spreads a set of political and social institutions
and ideas of largely the Global North and the Global West, such
as a process of Americanization, Westernization
“Rejects the individualism inherit in liberal political theory and which puts an
emphasis on values and goals of a collective nature – cultural or national values”
What is the moral significance of borders? On one hand borders are created
arbitrarily, so how do these define the edges of community in terms of intervening
to protect human rights. What are the moral significance of borders between the
Global north and the Global South?
Civil society is a “political space, or arena, where self-generated associations
of citizens seek, from outside political parts, to shape the rules that govern
social life” CSOs “bring citizens together non-coercively in deliberate
attempts to mound formal laws and informal norms that regulate social
Role of NGO’s
o Raising awareness, implementation, monitoring
o Transnational Advocacy Networks (Keck and Sikkink)
o The Trojan horses for neo-liberalism (Wallace in Ayers)
R2P 2001 Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State
o Introduces the idea of the responsibility to protect, where sovereignty
is not defined as a right of state, but as a responsibility to their citizens
o If they violate human rights, there’s an argument that we should
HR through International Trade
Does trade liberalization hurt or promote HRs? Are trade agreements the correct
place to advocate for HRs?
There’s a conflict of interest
Part of the benefit of doing trade (Natural advantage VS comparative
Arguments against it: Forcing values or western ideologies of human rights
on GS countries.
o Trade policy is often undemocratic and transparent
o Limit policy space of states in the Global South – Public interest May 21 , 2013 – 3EE3
Limit the ability of the Global South to deliver on goods that the
Global North benefit from (Primary and Secondary education)
If you don’t allow states in the global south to tax properly,
they’re not able to deliver on these things.
Doesn’t allow them to redistribute wealth because state is
o Deregulation in trade in services
New Zealand and protection of aboriginal communities
When things are privatized and turned over to profit, there’s a
clash between efficiency and profit, and that public provided
goods are sometimes unprofitable in communities
Ghana and water
o Don’t expect the WTO and trade agreements to enforce HRs vs. add
HR in the text
Without language, non need to consider HR; simply lip service;
WTO takes over HR
WTO may take over the role of enforcing human rights.
Since the stalling of the global trade regime, there’s been an
increase of bilateral trade agreements
Drugs and responsibility to provide these at a low cost and of
good quality. Delivering on responsibilities that are present on
the trade regime
Tight connection between economics and human rights.
o Local solutions and capacities – practical and precise policies;
Is the spread of democracy good or bad?
o The nature of the democracy that is being spread.
o Procedural democracy?
o Which comes first, democracy or economic development?
o Do you have democracy, which can lead to better economic? Or do you
have economic development that can lead to democracy.
Obama and Progress / Bush and Democracy
Aylers – Democratization is “the endeavor by the dominant social agents of
the democratization project to constitute a neoliberal procedural notion of
democracy in the ‘post-colonial world’ (p.2)
o Democracy promotion at the state level; is an informal imperialism.
o It is not government directly, but informally.
Needed to deal with certain states
Democratization as a system that enables capitalism
o How does democracy enable neoliberalism?
Link to dominant global institutions that it may help promote? May 21 , 2013 – 3EE3
What does society look like on the ground?
Leaders know more about our consumption powers versus what we’d like
about our political lives.
“Democratization and good governance serves the function of legitimating
the extension and deepening of neoliberal capitalist accumulation by seeking
to create the political institutions, the system of government, that would
further a particular set of economic arrangements”
“Hegemony of a specific and impoverished model of (neo) liberal democracy,
highly problematic, de-historicized notions, of state, society and self” (p.6)
Democracy, periodic election of political representation via credible
multiparty elections; constitutionalism, the rule of law, and respect for a
particular conception of human rights; good governance, characterized by
minimal, neutral, accountable, transparent and participatory government,
with an effective bureaucracy and a pluralist, independent civil society (p7)
Procedural form, prioritizing liberalization over democracy
Promoted by international and local elites
Imposing type of democracy on others is problematic
o Democracy on one hand and religion on the other