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International Relations Human Rights
by
Cathal Nolan

Introduction

“Human rights” is a philosophically and historically powerful idea that all human beings share fundamental rights. These are said to emanate not from any social contract specific to a single political community, or from gracious or forced concession from an absolute sovereign or state, but from the essence of an individual’s humanity. It is an original conceit steeped in conceptions about natural law, later supplemented by social contract theory, and most recently by basic needs or natural justice arguments. Because of its claimed universalism, which is not always conceded by critics of the concept, “human rights” is an idea inherently controversial in a world of sovereign states. It has also come under attack by “postmodernist” and other cultural relativist critiques. Nevertheless, it has proven historically and surprisingly subversive of traditional cultural practices and political systems, be they feudal, authoritarian, totalitarian, or even democratic. The oldest stream of international conceptions of human rights is essentially liberal. This tradition stresses civil and political liberties of individuals, with rights to freedom held against the state, not by it on behalf of the nation or some other collective identity. After World War I, the debate over rights expanded to include positive social and economic rights (and minority rights, primarily in Eastern and Central Europe). This took place not in a universal fashion, but in organizations such as the International Labour Organization (ILO), and only to a much lesser extent intermittently within the League of Nations. Issues of racial equality were also broached by Japan and China, but were initially rebuffed at the Paris Peace Conference, and again rebushed later within the league. The real breakthrough in internationalizing human rights came in 1944–1945 at the founding conferences of the United Nations at Dumbarton Oaks and San Francisco, which led to issuance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and subsequently to two International Covenants, one on Civil and Political Rights and the other on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. From 1948, there followed four decades of furious codification and legal expansion, processes reflected in predominantly philosophical and legal literature as late as the 1980s, shifting to arguments about implementation and state obligation after that. By 2000 there was broad rhetorical and legal acceptance of human rights obligations by states, but enormous differences over real world implementation and—barriers are raised, not formed—new cultural and sovereign barriers against universal claims. Simultaneously, fresh demands on states tend now to be framed as expansive claims to essential rights, often newly identified from development, to environment, to the genome. These trends are all reflected in the literature, which is again filled with legal, philosophical, and even theological theory and debate. At the same time, a large parallel literature, often by practitioners, focuses on micro-emphasis on local or issue implementation.

General Overviews

Overviews of human rights tend to be liberal-internationalist in focus, whereas critiques of the liberal position tend to be more issue or country specific. The most clearly classical liberal overview is Henkin 1990, although the author also comments on US foreign policy. Vincent 1987 is somewhat dated, but highly representative of late–Cold War books by Western authors. Lauren 2003 presents a more recent and amended liberalism, which incorporates an expanded list of social and economic rights that most Western liberal thinkers have accepted into the pantheon of rights. It is, however, perhaps overly morally and historically ambitious in its optimism about present and future trends in international political development and general human welfare. Singer 2004 is a similarly morally ambitious work by a major, and controversial, public philosopher. Most morally soaring and difficult of all, but also quite subtle and original, is Wilson and Brown 2008. All of these works might be usefully contrasted with standard realist critiques of humanitarian impulses in international governance and democratic foreign policy.

  • Henkin, Louis. The Age of Rights. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.

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    Classical liberal interpretation of human rights, rooted in international law and diplomatic history. Heavy American focus on domestic and foreign policy issues. Eloquently written by a senior scholar.

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  • Lauren, Paul Gordon. The Evolution of International Human Rights:Visions Seen. 2d ed. Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.

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    History of the idea of human rights. Cites “visions” of the future to suggest new era will replace the old one of pervasive unjust authority, racism, sexism, child abuse, slavery, and class injustice. Sometimes conflates domestic systems with critique of colonial empires, state systems. Asserts human rights ideal is transcending sovereignty as universal global norm. Elegant, but in places millennarian and eschatological.

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  • Singer, Peter. One World: The Ethics of Globalization. 2d ed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.

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    Notable philosopher and ethicist argues for global rather than national- or state-based ethics. Globalization not defined primarily in economic terms, but as a new world ethic and perspective. In places, mostly a critique of US foreign policy as narrowly nationalist and unilateralist, but disguised as a general moral treatise on international relations.

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  • Vincent, R. J. Human Rights and International Relations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

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    Published near the end of Cold War, the author employs the then-commonplace division of human rights concerns into East-West and North-South baskets, with concentration on human rights as an agenda pressed by Western states in relations with Soviet bloc and third world. Notable for early departure from classical liberal emphasis on civil and political rights in favor of an approach oriented toward basic needs or subsistence rights.

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  • Wilson, Richard Ashby, and Richard D. Brown, eds. Humanitarianism and Suffering: The Mobilization of Empathy through Narrative. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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    Role of humanitarian sentiments in motivating and mobilizing compassion into reform through narratives of suffering. Humanitarianism in civil society arises from multiple sources: social and cultural movements, secular and religious ideas, legal and political traditions and institutions. Analyzes emotional basis of compassion and solidarity; power of certain visual and literary narratives to make pity at once popular and political.

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Bibliographies

There are more valuable specialized bibliographies of human rights issues than there are useful general works. The proliferation of government, intergovernmental organization (IGO), and nongovernmental organization (NGO) publications makes this both necessary and inescapable. It also pushes the most useful comprehensive collections online, as print versions become so quickly outdated and because of the other virtues of accessibility provided by new media. An excellent example of an issue-specific bibliography is Bennett 1995. Less useful, because it tried to be comprehensive only to grow outdated, is Stanek 1987. The same is largely true of Zinnos 2006, though a number of its listings are more current. An example of issue-specific, or in this case IGO-specific, bibliographies is Detrick and Di Lauro 2000. By far, the best human rights bibliography in print—though it is not actually written to be a bibliography—is Forsythe 2009. Its several hundred articles each provide specific topical bibliographies. It is the place to start in print media and must be consulted in addition to whatever other bibliographic sources one employs, including this one. Columbia University Libraries’ Lehman Social Sciences Library is a well-maintained guide not only to a major library’s own holdings, but also to external official and private online resources.

Reference Works

The outstanding, indispensable standard in the field is the five-volume Oxford encyclopedia (Forsythe 2009). It has more than 300 articles by 250 leading authorities, and excellent article-specific bibliographies. Browlie and Goodwin-Gill 2006 remains a valuable resource for all concerned with accurate treaty, declaration, and other primary governing documents in the field of international human rights. Roberts and Guelff 2000 is comparably reliable on documents pertaining to the laws of war, a phenomenon that always implicates human rights questions. Publications with the word “handbook” in their titles always vary in approach and quality. Of the three listed here, Condé 2004 is closest to what most students and teachers will recognize as a usable handbook. It is also the most accessible in terms of language and price. Donnelly and Howard-Hassmann 1987 is out of date and is too quirky and spotty in its coverage to be reliable as a handbook; the field has changed too much since its publication. Joseph and McBeth 2010 is in fact a large collection of essays rather than a handbook per se. It is also extremely expensive and therefore harder to locate, as it may not be carried by many smaller libraries. The best reference sources for up-to-date statistics and human rights news are online. Two of the best are Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

  • Amnesty International. Amnesty International Report 2010: The State of the World’s Human Rights.

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    Published annually. Amnesty International’s (AI) assessment, judgments, and rankings of practice by all countries according to AI’s declared principles and standards, including death penalty opposition. Standard reference work.

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  • Browlie, Ian, and Guy Goodwin-Gill, eds. Basic Documents on Human Rights. 5th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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    Faithful reproductions of well-chosen international human rights instruments, from UN Charter provisions, to main declarations and treaties of post–World War II era. Part 1: UN standard-setting; Part 2: implementation and enforcement of UN standards; Part 3: International Labour Organization (ILO); Part 4: UNESCO; Part 5: Council of Europe, EU, Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe/Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE/OSCE); Part 6: Americas; Part 7: Africa; Part 8: Arab states; and Part 9: Human genome. Outstanding resource.

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  • Condé, H. Victor. A Handbook of International Human Rights Terminology. 2d ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004.

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    Some 400 definitions of specialized language, jargon, and acronyms of international human rights from law, diplomacy, and philosophy. Key treaty texts, citations. Intended for a global audience. Useful for teachers and students.

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  • Donnelly, Jack, and Rhoda Howard-Hassmann, eds. International Handbook of Human Rights. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1987.

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    Useful in its day but now dated. Covers nineteen countries (in itself an oddity), including Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Israel, Poland, the Soviet Union, and the United States. Strength is analysis rather than authors’ dated compilation of facts and older, strictly liberal-universalist introduction to human rights theory.

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  • Forsythe, David P., ed. Encyclopedia of Human Rights. 5 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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    Massive, superior reference in the field. Exhaustive coverage at the highest scholarly level. Intended for scholars, practitioners, and activists, as well as a general audience. Three hundred peer-reviewed articles by 250 international contributors. Classically organized A–Z; includes themes, biographies, religious traditions, institutions, major cases, and law. Principal weakness is narrow historical conception, with extremely limited pre-1945 coverage. Superior, deep resource.

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  • Human Rights Watch.

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    Independent non-governmental organization (NGO) reporting and commentary by country and region, and by theme: United Nations, women, children, development, armaments, business, press freedom, health, torture, terrorism, migrants, refugees, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), war crimes, and other topics. News, publications, video, multimedia. Investigations and advocacy. Established in 1978.

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  • Joseph, Sarah, and Adam McBeth, eds. Research Handbook on International Human Rights Law. Research Handbooks in International Law. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2010.

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    Twenty-one essays on international human rights law, edited by two experts based in Australia. Covers major geographical regions and legal traditions, including Islamic and Western law. Thematic essays cover institutions, international courts, regional traditions (including African), major issues (e.g., terrorism, women, refugees, extraterritoriality, nonstate actors). Expert essays, but extremely expensive volume. Libraries only.

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  • Roberts, Adam, and Richard Guelff, eds. Documents on the Laws of War. 3d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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    Thirty-eight key international documents and treaties on laws of war, to 1999. Reliable, well-chosen. Out-of-date, but still highly recommended as basic source on international legal texts and documents to the end of the 20th century.

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Organizational and Institutional Resources

Any search of the Internet will turn up dozens of human rights institutes and centers, most of them university-based, but also private organizations and government-funded institutes. The searcher will also come across at least a few false fronts, presenting this or that group or state’s propaganda. Most legitimate institutes and research centers are attached to law schools or schools of international relations. The latter, but also some of the former, are interdisciplinary or mix academic interests with practitioner participation. Many research and teaching centers on human rights are located in the United States, where the proliferation of active centers at major and even lesser universities is truly remarkable. The sites listed below are a mere sampling of what is available on the Internet, from excellent and reliable scholarly and monitoring sites, to often closely similar legal and activist sites. Not listed are mediocre or deliberately misleading sites. Amnesty International was for many decades the authoritative voice on human rights abuses among nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). It remains very important, although it is more open recently to criticisms of overpoliticization or political bias. The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs is now the leading resource on normative concerns, issues, and debates in international relations. The Council of Europe is an intergovernmental resource, with all that entails for limitations on candid reporting on its members. The University of California at Berkeley Human Rights Center is typical of newly mushrooming, American university-based centers. It is more concerned with activism to promote its assumptions of right and wrong than it is with consistent documentation or scholarly study, although it does the latter as well. The George Mason Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution is more theoretical and documentary in focus. The European Bar’s Institut de droits de l’homme des avocats Européens is a lawyerly, partially restricted resource concerned solely with Europe. The International Peace Institute is a well-positioned NGO that works with governments and international NGOs (INGOs). Memorial is a private Russian monitoring and commemorative organization, struggling with minimal resources and against active official hostility.

Textbooks

The idea of textbooks for human rights courses did not have relevance outside of law school courses until relatively recently. Law texts of very high quality that concentrate on human rights continue to be published. Clapham 2007 is an introduction only, written at and for a lower level than other texts. The first textbooks outside legal ones to deal with international human rights tended to be written by political scientists. The first of these were written in an effort to correct what they saw as overly heavy “realist” bias in standard international relations (IR) textbooks, which might only add a reluctant chapter on “ethics and IR” or “human rights” as a nod to a burgeoning, but not yet wholly respected, subfield of the discipline. Lauren 2003 is the best, clearest presentation of the liberal-universalist approach. An example of a useful corrective, though perhaps overly corrective, text that self-consciously incorporates a normative perspective is Forsythe 2007. However, the overall trend since the mid-1990s has been toward more deliberately interdisciplinary textbooks. That list includes Alston, et al. 2007, Freeman 2002, and Weiss, et al. 2009, which is the best such text available. Goodhart 2009 is an excellent reader of twenty essays by many of the leading scholars in their respective fields. Rosenthal and Barry 2009 is a well-chosen reader ideally suited as a companion piece to any of the other texts. It will provoke controversy and engage students in deeper debate and understanding of the hard choices and tensions present in moral engagement in international affairs. Donnelly 2007 is widely used in US courses, and that fact shows up clearly in a pronounced bias toward US foreign policy and inter-American cases.

  • Alston, Philip, Ryan Goodman, and Henry J. Steiner, eds. International Human Rights in Context: Law, Politics, Morals. 3d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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    Interdisciplinary text includes primary sources and secondary commentary. International law; social movements; sources; civil, political, economic, and social rights; laws of war; globalization; self-determination; terrorism; women’s rights; cultural relativism; IGOs; NGOs; enforcement; norms; constitutionalism. Website annex of documents. Highly recommended for general courses on human rights.

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  • Clapham, Andrew. Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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    Very brief (163-page) primer. Discussion of historical development; United Nations; torture; detention; permissible limits to freedom; privacy; food, education, and housing; work; death penalty; discrimination. Basic legal introduction for high school–level students on domestic and international arguments. Not of great interest to specialists or scholars.

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  • Forsythe, David. Human Rights in International Relations. Themes in International Relations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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    Solid but standard liberalism versus realism approach. Also standard political and institutional organization of topics: setting standards, international enforcement, regional differences, problems in foreign policy, NGOs, multinational corporations (MNCs). Solid, but needs supplementary reader to expand discussion beyond traditional realism versus emerging norms approach.

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  • Freeman, Michael. Human Rights: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Key Concepts. London: Polity, 2002.

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    Introductory text with reasonable balance but advocacy agenda. Maintains human rights is an inherently interdisciplinary concept, but that tension persists between philosophical and social science approaches. Address most basic issues at useful introductory college level. Usefully free of legal jargon.

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  • Goodhart, Michael, ed. Human Rights: Politics and Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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    Excellent multidisciplinary collection of twenty essays on issues of human rights, gathered mainly to serve as undergraduate reader/text about politics. First third is on theory and normative foundations and legal, political, sociological, anthropological approaches. Remainder on thematic issues. Highly recommended.

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  • Lauren, Paul Gordon. The Evolution of International Human Rights: Visions Seen. 2d ed Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.

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    Foundational text. Clear, well-written, multicultural but solidly within the claimed universalist tradition. Covers usual topical issues, all from assumed position of applying international and universal standards: sexism, national liberation, decolonization, NGOs, and war crimes standards and trials.

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  • Rosenthal, Joel H., and Christian Barry, eds. Ethics and International Affairs: A Reader. 3d ed. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2009.

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    Collection of previously published but notable journal essays. Intended for seminar and college courses in applied ethics, foreign policy, international relations. Multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary: ethics, political theory philosophy, development. Topics include war, intervention, IGOs, human rights, global economic justice. Sophisticated argument; leading scholars. Well-written, wide-ranging.

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  • Donnelly, Jack. International Human Rights. 3d ed. Dilemmas in World Politics. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2007.

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    Human rights as international issue; major academic theories; case studies. American foreign policy focus rather than genuinely international approach. Written for US undergraduate courses.

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  • Weiss, Thomas G., David P. Forsythe, and Roger A. Coate. The United Nations and Changing World Politics. 6th ed. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2009.

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    Core and widely used text by senior scholars on United Nations system. Built around normative understanding of UN contribution to international governance as advancing human security, human rights, sustainable development. Kept up-to-date. Detailed information suitable for college-level students and courses.

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Journals

Journal coverage of human rights issues has expanded since the 1960s, when human rights were often seen by international relations (IR) professors and writers as marginal to international security and other major power concerns, or as the niche province of lawyers and ethicists. International lawyers and law journals are, if anything, even more concerned today with human rights than they were forty years ago: most contemporary law journals fairly brim with articles on human rights. Any of the leading law journals may be consulted usefully for occasional articles. Human Rights Brief is an unusual student journal from American University that focuses exclusively on human rights law. Revista Interamericana y Europea de Derechos Humanos is a legal journal that focuses on Europe and Latin America. Today, articles on human rights are not confined to law journals. They are as likely to appear in journals on international security, philosophy, diplomacy, history, and development economics, as well as in a number of specialized journals devoted wholly to the issue area. Listed here are a number of more specialized journals that focus on ethics, humanitarian issues, and human rights. Ethics and International Affairs takes the broadest approach, but most of its articles might be fairly said to touch to some degree on human rights issues (which said a good deal about the expansive definitions increasingly given to human rights). Human Rights Quarterly has legal and more general articles and reviews. Human Rights Review deals in normative theory, philosophy, and law. The Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights is often most concerned with international implementation and enforcement issues. The Journal of Human Rights is a UK-based publication that covers the full range of intellectual traditions and issues in the field. The Muslim World Journal of Human Rights is a high-quality publication that maintains an exclusive focus on issues of human rights within the Islamic world.

History

Work on the history of human rights has developed and expanded significantly since its very poor showing in the 1970s and 1980s, when most of the literature was dominated by policy studies by political scientists and by legal briefs by international lawyers. Cultural, intellectual, legal, political, social, and diplomatic historians all have contributed to a deeper understanding of the long unfolding of ideas about human rights since then. Their studies include, and have resonance for, many debates over post–World War II expansion of sources of international rights claims and ideas, moving beyond Western and Enlightenment traditions to new cross-cultural and multicultural histories. The history of human rights is also pertinent to ongoing arguments about primacy and significance of civil, social, and cultural rights in different regions and religious traditions. Ishay 2004 purports to be a long-view history of the idea of human rights but in fact is mostly conventional in dating its modern forms to the European Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Most of the book concerns events since 1789, not from classical times. Hunt 2008 is a more standard history and more approachable by students. Edelstein 2009 is a close and deeply scholarly study of the Terror during the French Revolution, not directly concerned with modern human rights. But it is powerfully relevant. Russell 1958 and Nolan 1992 straddle World War II as the key event in internationalizing human rights concern but identify other sources. Each also stresses the key founding role played by the United States. Fleury, et al. 2003 picks up the story of how human rights transformed postwar Europe. Minow 1998 is more general, moving beyond Europe but also starting with World War II and the Holocaust. Moyn 2010 breaks ranks to argue that 1968, not 1945, is the key year for international human rights.

  • Edelstein, Dan. The Terror of Natural Right: Republicanism, the Cult of Nature, and the French Revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.

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    Close study of the Revolutionary Terror. Provocative counter to classical liberal assumption that “natural condition” and “natural right” of humanity is liberal republicanism. Shows that “natural right” was used to justify extrajudicial executions of anyone deemed to have transgressed against “natural right republicanism,” assumed to be the only legitimate form of social governance.

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  • Fleury, Antoine, Carole Fink, and Lubor Jílek, eds. Les droits de l’homme en Europe depuis 1945. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, 2003.

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    Europe’s human rights system in wake of, and response to, World War II. Proceedings and papers of colloquium of the 19th International Congress of Historical Sciences (Oslo 2000). French and English. Topics: international protection; crimes against humanity; Nuremberg trials; European court; linguistic and cultural minorities; displaced persons; Soviet Union; Romania; France; social rights; the Helsinki Conference.

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  • Hunt, Lynn. Inventing Human Rights: A History. New York: W. W. Norton, 2008.

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    Comprehensive social history of the idea of human rights from Enlightenment to the United Nations organizations. Unusual for treatment of social sensibilities as key cultural root of new political language and concept of individualism, within evolving egalitarian ethic. History of declarations, major legislation, from the French Revolution to 20th century. Focus is emergence of a novel or innovative emotive ethic, empathy.

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  • Ishay, Micheline. The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.

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    Skimps on classical thought, focus on religious traditions; idea that “essence” of idea present from classical period; jumps to modern period. Main chapters on Enlightenment and secular tradition; 19th-century socialism; 20th-century Wilsonianism; international institutions; globalization; and the “new Medievalism” versus civil society debate. Multicultural roots of modern ideas of rights are central theme and perspective.

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  • Minow, Martha. Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History after Genocide and Mass Violence. Boston: Beacon, 1998.

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    Legal-historical approach to genocide, from Holocaust to apartheid to Rwanda. Chapters on vengeance and forgiveness; trials; truth commissions; reparations; memory; and memorialization. Argues for therapeutic approach to reconstruction for victims and even perpetrators. Touches on war crimes trials; Japanese-American internment case; South African truth commission in preference to prosecution. Moderate in tone and judgments.

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  • Moyn, Samuel. The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2010.

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    History of morality that argues for recent emergence of human rights concept as mover of mass politics and cultural ideal. Radical and revisionist, original and controversial in citing 1968 as key year in history of human rights idealism. Internationally, human rights took center stage as international law was turned to as response to shattered utopian ideals of revolutionary communism and violent nationalism.

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  • Nolan, Cathal J. Principled Diplomacy: Security and Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy. Contributions in Political Science 313. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1992.

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    Analysis of governing ideas in great-power diplomacy. Shows how liberal ideas arose, were sustained and challenged, and became embedded as world-order norms. Interpretive study of 20th-century US human rights diplomacy; case studies of policy toward Soviet Union and United Nations. Concerned with how governing norms of “hegemonic” powers come to permeate structures of IGOs and international system.

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  • Russell, Ruth. History of the United Nations Charter. Brookings Series on the United Nations. New York: Brookings Institute, 1958.

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    Rich, detailed, overlooked study of the drafting of UN governing documents. Corrects many mistakes made in later literature on roles of the United States, Latin American states, Soviet bloc, Britain and Commonwealth states, and NGOs. Outstanding scholarship.

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Governance and Law

Any understanding of international human rights must begin with a wider appreciation of the structure and conduct of international law and state-centered international governing norms (what political scientists refer to as the “Westphalian system”). An excellent French study of international public law is Dupuy 1993. There are numerous English-language equivalents. Best 1981 explains the dramatic changes to the international legal system brought about by World War II. The author picks up this crucial tale in Best 1997. Meron 1991 is a focused study of the changes to international law wrought by the idea of human rights. Gauri and Brinks 2010 charts the most recent turn of human rights law: judicial enforcement. Nolan 1993 challenges the widespread notion of a general rising of moral consciousness among states in the 20th century. Nolan 1993 situates historical advances in internationalizing human rights in the realist, and unsurprising, role of great powers in imposing international governing norms, in this case citing the unique hegemony of the United States first enjoyed in 1919 and again in 1945. Solis 2010 is a solid legal study appropriate for law students, but it would be of interest to other disciplines as well as a supplementary reading (probably on reserve, given length and price) of high quality.

  • Best, Geoffrey. “World War II and the Law of War.” Review of International Studies 7.2 (1981): 67–78.

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    Impact of total war on pre-war legal regime; abuse of prisoners of war; collapse of civilian-combatant distinction and other “just war” ideas; prelude and stimulus to postwar rewriting of the laws of armed conflict.

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  • Best, Geoffrey. War and Law Since 1945. Oxford: Clarendon, 1997.

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    Major work by a leading scholar on laws of war. History of post–World War II developments, from philosophical search for return to “just war” standards to legal reconstruction of international laws of armed conflict, including international and interstate wars, wars of national liberation, revolutions, and civil wars. Essential.

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  • Dupuy, Pierre-Marie. Droit international public. Précis Dalloz. Droit. Paris: Dalloz, 1993.

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    French-language overview of international public law, premised on Grotian ideal of international society of states. Topics include state and sovereignty; rights of IGOs; the place of the individual in international law; traditional origins of international law; institutions and norms; applications and exceptions; sanctions; and common resources.

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  • Gauri, Varun, and Daniel M. Brinks, eds. Courting Social Justice: Judicial Enforcement of Social and Economic Rights in the Developing World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

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    Interdisciplinary study of social and economic rights litigation in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and South Africa. Focus on sources of variation in litigation, recent turn toward courts to enforce social and economic claims, yet still within political process. Empirical studies relevant to legal theory. Suitable for legal scholars and advanced students.

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  • Meron, Theodor. Human Rights and Humanitarian Norms as Customary Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.

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    Significantly pioneering work on human rights and humanitarian norms in international law. Documents intersection of human rights norms with established international law of state responsibility.

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  • Nolan, Cathal J. “The United States, Moral Norms, and Governing Ideas in World Politics.” Ethics and International Affairs 7.1 (1993): 223–239.

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    Review essay on Code of Peace (Dorothy Jones); Age of Rights (Louis Henkin); and Morality and American Foreign Policy (Robert McElroy). Argues against idea of rising moral consciousness of states, for historic role of United States, in shaping international moral norms at two critical points of dominant power and engagement: 1919 and 1945.

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  • Solis, Gary D. The Law of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law in War. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

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    Written as text for law students but highly recommended for anyone interested in humanitarian laws of war. Author is military veteran with high academic credentials and expertise. Interdisciplinary historical and legal in approach, well sourced and well written. Heavily weighted toward United States, but does not ignore wider international cases, precedent, and meanings. Nearly 700 pages; cites hundreds of cases.

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Theory

Works on the theory of human rights have burgeoned from their original Cold War liberal-universalist claims, narrower constitutional and legal theories, and requisite criticisms of everything by traditional Marxists. Today, rights theory engages a wide range of ideological and methodological claims, including a continuing rich literature in legal and political thought as well as growing numbers of critical works by feminists, moral communitarians, postmodernists, constructivists, cultural theorists, and others. Some of this work is arcane and merely academic, of little interest outside the university seminar room (and limited interest within it). However, there is also a wide body of theoretically and historically, or empirically, informed works that seek to explain contemporary international human rights practices in a wider interpretive setting. Ishay 2004 is probably the best place to start for beginners testing these debates. Donnelly 1989 was a then standard liberal-internationalist (and American) presentation, arguing that more overt moral concerns be added to US foreign policy formulation and practice. Shue 1996 and Hoffmann 1997 were important works in the development of debates over subsistence rights and humanitarian intervention, respectively. Both are more philosophically informed than empirical. Dyck 2005 is a sophisticated revised thesis on universal origins, not for beginners. Morris 2006 exemplifies the growth of the field as it spreads to new disciplines, in this case sociology. Murray 2007 and Nelson and Dorsey 2008 are examples of “applied theory.” Buchanan 2007 returns to first philosophical principles in exploring the concept of justice, and arguing for its radical elevation to a new level in international relations.

  • Buchanan, Allen. Justice, Legitimacy, and Self-Determination: Moral Foundations for International Law. Oxford Political Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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    Attempts to develop justice-based moral theory of international law that elevates justice to co-equal status with norm/goal of peace; considers human rights; distributive justice; theories of legitimacy; self-determination, secession, and autonomy; ends with proposed reforms. Needs to be read in corrective context of problems of humanitarian intervention.

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  • Donnelly, Jack. Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989.

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    Attempt to devise a universal theory of (international) human rights; essentially a classical liberal position with a nod to economic and social rights. Starts with post–World War II law and institutions. Addresses claims of cultural relativism, non-Western conceptions; then quickly turns to contemporary practices in democratic foreign policy, multilateral arenas. Sections on democracy, group rights, minorities, genocide, women, and humanitarian intervention.

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  • Dyck, Arthur J. Rethinking Rights and Responsibilities: The Moral Bonds of Community. Rev. ed. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2005.

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    Ethicist argues from “natural theology” perspective for human rights approach embedded in moral requisites of “bonded communities.” Responds to feminism, communitarianism, Marxism, and general rejections of modernity, while noting that these critics exposed problems in the mainstream human rights tradition. Most provocative thesis is that certain theories of rights have undermined community, by separating them or by elevating groups over individuals.

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  • Hoffmann, Stanley, ed. The Ethics and Politics of Humanitarian Intervention. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997.

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    Collected lectures and essays by Hoffmann and others on the use of force in humanitarian intervention; sovereignty; limits; and Kantian justification. Case study of Yugoslavia is dated.

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  • Ishay, Micheline. “What Are Human Rights? Six Historical Controversies.” Journal of Human Rights 3.3 (September 2004): 359–371.

    DOI: 10.1080/1475483042000224897Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that there are six key historical controversies: relation of secular theories to religious traditions; origins of liberal rights conceptions in European history; modern liberalism’s indebtedness to socialist thought; culturally based claims for exceptions to universalism; the idea of historical progress; realism as not antithetical to human rights.

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  • Morris, Lydia, ed. Rights: Sociological Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 2006.

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    Sociological thought and the theory and practice of rights. Case study approach (welfare, mental health; pensions, free speech, other), and two theory chapters. Rights perspective of prisoners, women, minorities, indigenous peoples, lesbians, and gays. Anti-universalist approach: rights as product of social processes “open to negotiation.”

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  • Murray, Rachel. The Role of National Human Rights Institutions at the International and Regional Levels: The Experience of Africa. Human Rights Law in Perspective. Oxford: Hart, 2007.

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    Very short (137-page) theoretical introduction to African human rights NGOs and national human rights institutions (NHRIs). Focus on “emerging practice” and international contexts and influences. Five appendices provide texts of main legal instruments relating to African human rights. Index.

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  • Nelson, Paul J., and Ellen Dorsey. New Rights Advocacy: Changing Strategies of Development and Human Rights NGOs. Advancing Human Rights Series. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2008.

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    Theory of “new rights advocacy” proposes three-pronged approach: adoption of human rights as core principal of major development NGOs; emphasis on economic and social rights agendas; focus on economic and social policy based on human rights, supported by NGOs and social campaigns. Case studies: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam, CARE, ActionAid, Save the Children. Sociological and development theory.

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  • Shue, Henry. Basic Rights: Subsistence, Affluence, and U.S. Foreign Policy. 2d ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.

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    Classic and influential text arguing for subsistence and other core rights in a “basic needs” approach to international development, and as a guide to aid and democratic foreign policy. Call for redirection of aid to basic needs, sanctions against highly abusive states. Political philosophy with clear applied ethics, foreign policy component/conclusions.

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Conflict and Conciliation

A major thread in contemporary human rights literature is the issue area of conflict and conciliation, including truth commissions, reconciliation, and even therapy. That leads directly to the issue of “failed states” and their spinoff problems, perceived as internal dislocation, external refugees, ethnic conflict and genocide, and terrorism and the collapse of both human and regional or even international security. Mertus and Helsing 2006 is a good, broad survey of dominant theoretical issues and debates in this burgeoning subfield. Some will find it too dry and academically detached from urgent issues of the day. Conciliation Resources is a website that provides another form of introduction to the problem, including visual resources and practical policy papers. Paris 2004 and Ghani and Lockhart 2009 address the problem of rebuilding countries after civil wars or other disruptive conflicts. Crocker, et al, 2007 takes a conflict-management approach; the essays inevitably vary in quality. Ramsbotham, et al. 2005 comes at the issue as a textbook on conflict resolution. The Journal of Conflict Resolution is the best single source for up-to-date and interdisciplinary discussion of the issues. Moon 2009 assays a therapeutic approach that will attract some and repel others, or leave them indifferent.

  • Conciliation Resources.

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    International, private charitable resource for local or national organizations working on conflict prevention or conciliation in war zones. Supports practical initiatives at local and national levels. Focus is on social, political, and economic development of civil society. Publishes policy briefs in multiple languages and on thematic but practical issues.

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  • Crocker, Chester, Fen Hampson, and Pamela Aall, eds. Leashing the Dogs of War: Conflict Management in a Divided World. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2007.

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    Thirty-seven essays by scholars and opinion leaders, divided among three issue areas: challenges to “global security”; uses and limits of force; and uses and limits of international institutions. Focus on post-9/11 conflicts, including effect on major alliances and blocs, the UNO, IGOs, NGOs. Major source on debates, at 800 pages.

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  • Ghani, Ashraf, and Clare Lockhart. Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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    Short collaborative work between a former Afghan finance minister and a scholar. Identifies rebuilding failed states as main task likely to dominate 21st-century global politics, security, and development. Critical of existing aid structures, especially those of UNO. Warns against development interventions that supersede weak states rather than reinforce or stabilize them.

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  • Journal of Conflict Resolution.

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    Comprehensive coverage of nearly all issues of theory and practice of intergroup and international conflict resolution: negotiation; reconciliation; interventions; civil wars; terrorism; domestic issues. Law, political science, social science conflict theory; interdisciplinary. Most useful for scholars; some practitioners, advanced students.

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  • Mertus, Julie, and Jeffrey W. Helsing. Human Rights and Conflict: Exploring the Links Between Rights, Law, and Peacebuilding. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2006.

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    Reflects tensions among different schools of thought focused on human rights, conflict resolution, and international law, which often end in contradictory perspectives. Divided into three sections, each related to a main stage in the “conflict cycle”: abuses that lead to violence; outside intervention and humanitarian relief; negotiation of peace and peace building. Scholarly but readable. College level.

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  • Moon, Claire. “Healing Past Violence: Traumatic Assumptions and Therapeutic Interventions in War and Reconciliation.” Journal of Human Rights 8.1 (2009): 71–91.

    DOI: 10.1080/14754830902717726Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Theme of “therapeutic moral order” in legacies of violent conflict and state building. Ties approach to global proliferation of amnesty agreements. Examines assumption that wartorn societies are traumatized and require therapeutic management; and belief that states must tender psychiatric care to citizens via national reconciliation processes. Argues therapy helps restore legitimacy, beyond “mere” restoration of peace and rights.

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  • Paris, Roland. At War’s End: Building Peace after Civil Conflict. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

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    Rebuilding countries after civil wars. Warns against international effort to install market democracies in failed or recovering states, before first rebuilding key local institutions. Major study of peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations. Highly useful for scholars, students, and practitioners.

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  • Ramsbotham, Oliver, Tom Woodhouse, and Hugh Miall. Contemporary Conflict Resolution: The Prevention, Management, and Transformation of Deadly Conflicts. 2d ed. London: Polity, 2005.

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    Sections on theories of social conflict; origins and prevention of wars; working in war zones; conflict resolution; post-conflict peace building. Brief post–World War II history and commentary, but cases mainly from 1990s: Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Palestine-Israel, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Balkans. Touches upon intervention, reconciliation, terrorism, gender, dialogue, culture. Written as textbook.

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Humanitarian Intervention

Are there moral, political, and other “duties beyond borders”? Do states have real international obligations to protect noncitizens outside their sovereign jurisdiction, to intervene in behalf of human rights in other nations? The question is not just theoretical, as multiple international interventions, at least in part under the claimed justification of human rights, have shown, both before but especially since September 11, 2001. How does the state system adjust to more forceful claims of a duty to international armed intervention? What about other forms of humanitarian intervention? Who decides what circumstances constitute a humanitarian emergency? Is sovereignty an antiquated moral idea? What are the best modes of intervention? Under what circumstances? Hoffmann 1981 was for at least two decades the standard bearer for intervention in behalf of human rights. Lang 2003 picked up this liberal, Western standard, but Wheeler 2003 goes beyond it to situate intervention in wider contexts and provides at least three non-Western cases from the Cold War that are not usually covered in other works. Weiss 2004 and Weiss 2007 are balanced, empirically based studies. More morally detached from, but still quite sympathetic to, the idea of humanitarian intervention is Holzgrefe and Keohane 2003. In stark contrast, Mandel 2004 and Bricmont 2006 are acidly critical of the idea, charging that armed humanitarian intervention is a cynical cover for mass murder and for imperial and exploitative capitalist designs. Foley 2010 brings firsthand experience to the discussion but proposes no real solutions to the problem.

  • Bricmont, Jean. Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2006.

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    Cranky polemic by a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Louvain. Dismisses humanitarian intervention as an imperial fiction designed to conceal maintenance of Great Power–dominated international system of unfair distribution of goods and wealth.

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  • Foley, Conor. The Thin Blue Line: How Humanitarianism Went to War. London, Verso, 2010.

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    Author was British aid worker with Amnesty International and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Indonesia. Firsthand account of humanitarian failures, ethical dilemmas, problems of neutrality in conflict zones. Bitter personal reflections abound. Does not attempt to create a guide to resolution of problems of ethics. Dense on international law. Focus is on problems raised by external military forces, issues of sovereignty, cultural insensitivity by outsiders.

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  • Hoffman, Stanley. Duties Beyond Borders: On the Limits and Possibilities of Ethical International Politics. Frank W. Abrams Lectures. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1981.

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    Classic lectures setting out liberal view for obligation of democracies to intervene abroad in response to imperatives of universal conception of human rights. Helped frame major debate about the imperatives of American foreign policy during late Cold War to include strong humanitarian obligation. Subsequent events perhaps exceeded author’s foreign policy desires and expectations.

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  • Holzgrefe J. L., and Robert O. Keohane, eds. Humanitarian Intervention: Ethical, Legal, and Political Dilemmas. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511494000Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Nine essays by prominent scholars from philosophy, law, political science. Individual essays on definition and context; legitimacy; liberal argument for intervention; political authority; failed states and nation building; four essays on international law. Main conclusion: humanitarian intervention is an “imperfect duty” of civilized, law-governed states and of wider international society.

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  • Lang, Anthony F., ed. Just Intervention. Carnegie Council On Ethics And International Affairs Series. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2003.

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    Essays by senior scholars and international humanitarians on the Islamic tradition and response to humanitarian intervention; genocide (Rwanda); use of military force case studies of the former Yugoslavia; Kosovo. Case studies are somewhat dated but still useful.

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  • Mandel, Michael. How America Gets Away with Murder: Illegal Wars, Collateral Damage and Crimes Against Humanity. London: Pluto, 2004.

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    Canadian law professor argues concept and language of “humanitarian intervention” is propaganda and a manipulation of international law to serve US and NATO illegal military operations. Cases cited include Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan wars. Argues war crimes trials are not intended to end war crimes, but to selectively punish losers in pursuit of imperial strategy that includes mass murder by the United States.

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  • Weiss, Thomas. Military-Civilian Interactions: Humanitarian Crises and the Responsibility to Protect. 2d ed. New Millennium Books in International Studies. Lanham MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004.

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    Political scientist examines military-humanitarian interaction. History of civilian-military relations; proposed framework for assessing costs and benefits. Seven case studies from 1990s: Kurdish Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Haiti, East Timor, Kosovo.

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  • Weiss, Thomas. Humanitarian Intervention: Ideas in Action. War and Conflict in the Modern World. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2007.

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    Excellent short introduction to the theory and practice of post–Cold War humanitarian intervention. History, recent cases, prospects for the future. Balanced, scholarly, non-polemical in either direction. Most useful text for students and general readers.

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  • Wheeler, Nicholas J. Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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    Best single introduction and survey of the current status of this idea, and debates about its justification and future. Covers theories of intervention; Cold War history (chapters on Bangladesh, Cambodia, Uganda); and post–Cold War developments (chapters on Iraq prior to 2003, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Kosovo).

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Global Economic Justice

Social and economic rights have been on the international agenda from the founding of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and early League of Nations concerns with economic and social justice, to more cynical Soviet promotion of the “right to work” in 1945, to developing country demands for more equitable international rules. This area is perhaps the most open to proposals for newly discovered or framed fundamental rights claims. Pogge 2005 and Pogge 2007 are the best starting points to gain an understanding of the debate, though some may disagree with the prescriptive advice offered. Andreassen and Marks 2006 presents the debate on the grand international stage of a Nobel symposium. Nussbaum 2001 is an influential feminist argument, made within the broad liberal rights tradition. Oestreich 2007 is a study of institutionalizing norms in major international governmental organizations (IGOs), while Liebenberg 2006 is a case study of the effects of constitutional transformation on advancing social and economic rights in South Africa. Bilchitz 2008 is a book-length study making essentially the same argument, while advancing it in some other respects and providing much more empirical data. Human Rights and the Global Economy is one site to visit for up-to-date policy papers, yet-to-be-published scholarly work, and discussion threads.

  • Andreassen, Bård A., and Stephen P. Marks, eds. Development as a Human Right: Legal, Political, and Economic Dimensions. Papers presented at the Nobel Symposium on the Right to Development and Human Rights in Development, Oslo, 2003. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006.

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    Essays from Nobel Symposium arguing core thesis for intrinsic and mutually reinforcing connection between economic development and respect for human rights. Authors from philosophy, economics, international law, international relations. International issues and national dimensions of right to development.

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  • Bilchitz, David. Poverty and Fundamental Rights: The Justification and Enforcement of Socio-Economic Rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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    Examination of justifications for international social and economic rights, longstanding debate over priority of “blue” (political and civil ) versus “red” (social and economic) rights. Argues for new emphasis on latter, using ideas from political philosophy, constitutional law, and public policy cases from South Africa. Focuses on food, housing, health care. Part1: theory; Part 2: empirical.

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  • Human Rights and the Global Economy.

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    Interdisciplinary online forum for posting abstracts, works in progress, and finished scholarly works on law and policy in international human rights (including economic and social rights); economic and social development; the global economy (including trade and migration).

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  • Liebenberg, Sandra. “Needs, Rights and Transformation: Adjudicating Social Rights in South Africa.” Stell Law Review 17.1 (2006): 5–36.

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    Argument for coincidence of civil, legal, and economic rights though transformative new constitution in South Africa.

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  • Nussbaum, Martha C. Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach. John Robert Seeley Lectures. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

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    Feminist global ethics approach, within traditional liberal and universalist human rights context. Addresses issues of oppression of women in various religious traditions, with special cases drawn from India; problems of women’s rights in traditional, patriarchal societies; problems of exporting Western ideas to those societies; untapped adaptability of religious societies to advance women’s rights. Relevant for scholars and students in ethics, development, feminism, legal theory, women’s studies.

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  • Oestreich, Joel E. Power and Principle: Human Rights Programming in International Organizations. Advancing Human Rights. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2007.

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    How IGOs integrate human rights into development. Case studies on UNICEF, World Bank, World Health Organization. Political science approach; interview-based. Standard, somewhat dull treatment, but basically sound. Of most interest to scholars of UN system rather than activists or practitioners.

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  • Pogge, Thomas. “World Poverty and Human Rights.” Ethics and International Affairs 19.1 (2005): 1–7.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-7093.2005.tb00484.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues for freedom from poverty as a human right. Sees causes of world poverty as including ongoing harm inflicted on world’s poor by people of affluent countries. Calls for international redistributive justice.

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  • Pogge, Thomas, ed. Freedom from Poverty as a Human Right: Who Owes What to the Very Poor? Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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    Survey and advocacy arising from UNESCO initiative on extreme poverty. Fifteen essays include several on philosophical justification for freedom from poverty as an individual or social right or basic need; others on corresponding duties. Closes with essay on “right to resistance” in extremely deprived situations. Does not break new ground, but useful compendium of emerging economic rights claims.

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New Directions

In theory and in international practice, since the 1990s there has been less interest in debate about older universal conceptions of human rights. That interest has been somewhat displaced by increased concern with narrower bands of rights, or clusters of rights, but also newly proposed rights that are general but unrelated to freedom, which are proclaimed by advocates to be universal. Some such arguments are a natural progression of debate from the older basic-needs approach (see Kent 2005); others are mere polemics (see Steger 2008). Na’im 1996 is an interesting effort to explore the compatibility of the Islamic legal tradition and modern international, criminal, and human rights law. Sometimes proposals take the shape of issue advocacy that appears to critics as wanting to ride the transformative power of the idea of universal rights, while lacking due philosophical or moral justification. Some might see Hiskes 2008 in this light; others will welcome the contribution as a breakthrough. Mostly, policy debates have become more focused on practical implementation, the work of international codification having being achieved (see Joseph 2004). These more focused debates are seen as critical to the wider endeavor of securing political, social, and economic justice for all. Most prominent in this regard is extensive attention to women’s rights, with concomitant but also separate interest in children’s rights and family rights (health, education, family unification). Growing in coverage are international and foreign-policy issues of gay and lesbian rights. Refugee rights and policy remain prominent, especially relating to war zones and genocides, human security from state-induced famine, and other artificial or natural calamities (see Phuong 2010 and Hollenbach 2010). Religion, never far from human rights debates historically, has also seen a resurgence of interest in the contexts of ethnic cleansing, terrorism, and women’s rights. Carlson and Owens 2003 is a case in point. Finally, disciplines such as psychology (see Clémence 1995) and sociology have started to send researchers into the international human rights field in response to trauma, torture, or other discipline-specific issues.

  • Carlson, John D., and Erik C. Owens, eds. The Sacred and the Sovereign: Religion and International Politics. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2003.

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    Religion in political thought and IR in light of belated, post-9/11 realization among secular IR theorists about its abiding role in politics. Issues of justice, sovereignty, humanitarian intervention, war crimes, cultural and religious sources of political authority. Policy seen as reflecting trans-cultural ideas of human rights, just war, and humanitarian intervention, rooted in ideas of the sacred.

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  • Clémence, Alain, Willem Doise, Annamaria Silvana de Rosa, Lorena Gonzalez. “La représentation sociale des droits de l’homme: Une recherche internationale sur l’étendue et les limites de l’universalité.” International Journal of Psychology 30.2 (1995): 181–212.

    DOI: 10.1080/00207599508246565Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Social psychological study of attitudes of young people (ages 13–20) toward human rights within differing national contexts, and the role of international institutions in framing attitudes. Uses standardized questionnaire methodology to assess views in Costa Rica, France, Italy, and Switzerland.

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  • Hiskes, Richard P. The Human Right to a Green Future: Environmental Rights and Intergenerational Justice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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    Survey of philosophical, political, environmental, and other arguments for a “green right” and for justice across generations. Clear air, soil, and water presented in communitarian ethics as emergent multigenerational right.

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  • Hollenbach, David, ed. Driven from Home: Protecting the Rights of Forced Migrants. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2010.

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    Multidisciplinary essays from ethics, economics, international relations, international law, theology. Mostly advocacy approach. Seeks to merge secular and theological responses to forced migration, based on an international “duty to protect.”

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  • Joseph, Sarah. Corporations and Transnational Human Rights Litigation. Human Rights Law in Perspective 4. Oxford: Hart, 2004.

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    Well-composed compendium of emerging arena of international human rights law. Reviews actual plaintiff efforts and court responses to employment of national, host country tort law (initially in United States, now additional countries) to transnational ends; namely, seeking compensation for damages from transnational corporations. Explores legal arguments used in cases by plaintiffs and multinational corporations (MNCs) and examines which ones were accepted by courts and which were rejected.

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  • Kent, George. Freedom from Want: The Human Right to Adequate Food. Advancing Human Rights Series. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2005.

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    Argues from basic and universal human right to food, calls for bottom-up approach to development and corresponding international duty to provide adequate food. Recommends long-term empowerment of poor to achieve self-reliance, to follow short-term famine or food relief programs. Solidly within basic rights tradition.

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  • Na’im, Abdullahi Ahmed. Toward an Islamic Reformation: Civil Liberties, Human Rights, and International Law. Contemporary Issues in the Middle East. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1996.

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    Introduces sources of shari’a law in Islamic tradition, then considers proper reform methodologies. Most of book is innovative reconsideration of shari’a law in contexts of modern constitutionalism, criminal justice, international law, and basic human rights.

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  • Phuong, Catherine. The International Protection of Internally Displaced Persons. Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law 38. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

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    Outstanding overview of plight and prospects of the internally displaced, who are not clearly covered under international laws governing the externally displaced (refugees). Assesses UN role to date. Calls for implementation of human rights framework to resolve problem. Useful for practitioners and scholars.

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  • Steger, Manfred, ed. Globalisms: The Great Ideological Struggle of the Twenty-First Century. 3d ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2008.

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    Tripartite organization around market globalism; imperial globalism; justice globalism (identified as exclusively leftist), against rightist challenges of national populism and jihadism. Clumsily polemical. Elevates market-democracy and jihadism (the latter lumped together with conservatism) to status of “dominant ideologies” at war for the soul of the world with the one true faith of human rights/justice. Driven by headlines and ideological presuppositions.

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LAST MODIFIED: 03/02/2011

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199743292-0017

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