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Global Politics and Human Rights.docx

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Political Science
Political Science 1020E

Global Politics and Human Rights Professor John Peter Humphrey: contributions to the writing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not carry the status of international law Realists: international law is an example of a self-interested cooperation in an anarchic international system Roman and British Empire: law of empires, not consensual states Debates over Human Rights  Do we focus on the political rights of the individual or the socioeconomic rights of the collective?  Are human rights a relative or universal concept?  The usefulness and effectiveness of international law to protect and promote human rights and human security Western individualism vs. Eastern collectivism  Amnesty international: all individuals should be protected from torture and repression at the hands of the state  Jus cogens: peremptory norms that override all treaties of agreements Relativism versus Universalism in Human Rights  Should certain practices, often claimed as integral to hose cultures, be universally condemned?  Some post-modern theorists reject the premise of a universal moral code, arguing that norms and primciples are subject of a specific time and place  Rhetoric-laden UN resolutions, which can be seen as the soft law of cultural imperialism  R.J. Vincent: moral claims derive from, and are enmeshed in, a cultural context which is itself the source of their validity 1. Japan=whale meat 2. Amsterdam= red light district 3. US= death penalty  Mid-late 19 century, human rights concerns were regarded as within the domestic jurisdiction of rulers, changed because 1. Abolishment of slave trade 2. Providing humanitarian care of wounded soldiers  Human rights are about protecting people, shouldn’t be limited by the concept of a state  Increase concerns for human rights because 1. Increase of
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