Human Rights

Author: Makau Mutua
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812204158
Format: PDF
Download Now
In 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and with it a profusion of norms, processes, and institutions to define, promote, and protect human rights. Today virtually every cause seeks to cloak itself in the righteous language of rights. But even so, this universal reliance on the rights idiom has not succeeded in creating common ground and deep agreement as to the scope, content, and philosophical bases for human rights. Makau Mutua argues that the human rights enterprise inappropriately presents itself as a guarantor of eternal truths without which human civilization is impossible. Mutua contends that in fact the human rights corpus, though well meaning, is a Eurocentric construct for the reconstitution of non-Western societies and peoples with a set of culturally biased norms and practices. Mutua maintains that if the human rights movement is to succeed, it must move away from Eurocentrism as a civilizing crusade and attack on non-European peoples. Only a genuine multicultural approach to human rights can make it truly universal. Indigenous, non-European traditions of Asia, Africa, the Pacific, and the Americas must be deployed to deconstruct—and to reconstruct—a universal bundle of rights that all human societies can claim as theirs.

Human Rights NGOs in East Africa

Author: Makau Mutua
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812203933
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
Human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are by definition not part of the state. Rather, they are an element of civil society, the strands of the fabric of organized life in countries, and crucial to the prospect of political democracy. Civil society is a very recent phenomenon in East African nations, where authoritarian regimes have prevailed and human rights watchdogs have had a critical role to play. While the state remains one of the major challenges to human rights efforts in the countries of the region, other problems that are internal to the human rights movement are also of a serious nature, and they are many: What are the social bases of the human rights enterprise in transitional societies? What mandate can human rights NGOs claim, and in whose name do they operate? Human Rights NGOs in East Africa critically explores the anatomy of the human rights movement in the East African region, examining its origins, challenges, and emergent themes in the context of political transitions. In particular, the book seeks to understand the political and normative challenges that face this young but vibrant civil society in the vortex of globalization. The book brings together the most celebrated human rights thinkers in East Africa, enriched by contributions from their colleagues in South Africa and the United States. To date, very little has been written about the struggles and accomplishments of civil society in the nations of East Africa. This book will fill that gap and prove to be an invaluable tool for understanding and teaching about human rights in this complex and vital part of the world.

Human Rights in Cross Cultural Perspectives

Author: Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812200195
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download Now
Human rights violations are perpetrated in all parts of the world, and the universal reaction to such atrocities is overwhelmingly one of horror and sadness. Yet, as Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im and his contributors attest, our viewpoint is clouded and biased by the expectations native to our own culture. How do other cultures view human rights issues? Can an analysis of these issues through multiple viewpoints, both cross-cultural and indigenous, help us reinterpret and reconstruct prevailing theories of human rights?

Human Rights of Women

Author: Rebecca J. Cook
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812201663
Format: PDF
Download Now
Rebecca J. Cook and the contributors to this volume seek to analyze how international human rights law applies specifically to women in various cultures worldwide, and to develop strategies to promote equitable application of human rights law at the international, regional, and domestic levels. Their essays present a compelling mixture of reports and case studies from various regions in the world, combined with scholarly assessments of international law as these rights specifically apply to women.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Author: Johannes Morsink
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812200411
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Book for 1999 Born of a shared revulsion against the horrors of the Holocaust, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has become the single most important statement of international ethics. It was inspired by and reflects the full scope of President Franklin Roosevelt's famous four freedoms: "the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear." Written by a UN commission led by Eleanor Roosevelt and adopted in 1948, the Declaration has become the moral backbone of more than two hundred human rights instruments that are now a part of our world. The result of a truly international negotiating process, the document has been a source of hope and inspiration to thousands of groups and millions of oppressed individuals.

Indivisible Human Rights

Author: Daniel J. Whelan
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812205405
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download Now
Human rights activists frequently claim that human rights are indivisible, and the United Nations has declared the indivisibility, interdependency, and interrelatedness of these rights to be beyond dispute. Yet in practice a significant divide remains between the two grand categories of human rights: civil and political rights, on the one hand, and economic, social, and cultural rights on the other. To date, few scholars have critically examined how the notion of indivisibility has shaped the complex relationship between these two sets of rights. In Indivisible Human Rights, Daniel J. Whelan offers a carefully crafted account of the rhetoric of indivisibility. Whelan traces the political and historical development of the concept, which originated in the contentious debates surrounding the translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into binding treaty law as two separate Covenants on Human Rights. In the 1960s and 1970s, Whelan demonstrates, postcolonial states employed a revisionist rhetoric of indivisibility to elevate economic and social rights over civil and political rights, eventually resulting in the declaration of a right to development. By the 1990s, the rhetoric of indivisibility had shifted to emphasize restoration of the fundamental unity of human rights and reaffirm the obligation of states to uphold both major human rights categories—thus opening the door to charges of violations resulting from underdevelopment and poverty. As Indivisible Human Rights illustrates, the rhetoric of indivisibility has frequently been used to further political ends that have little to do with promoting the rights of the individual. Drawing on scores of original documents, many of them long forgotten, Whelan lets the players in this drama speak for themselves, revealing the conflicts and compromises behind a half century of human rights discourse. Indivisible Human Rights will be welcomed by scholars and practitioners seeking a deeper understanding of the complexities surrounding the realization of human rights.

Human Rights in Thailand

Author: Don F. Selby
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812250222
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download Now
By placing greater emphasis on human rights as an anthropological concern, Don F. Selby concludes that they are a matter of negotiation within everyday forms of sociality, morality, and politics.

Decolonization and the Evolution of International Human Rights

Author: Roland Burke
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 9780812205329
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
In the decades following the triumphant proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the UN General Assembly was transformed by the arrival of newly independent states from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. This diverse constellation of states introduced new ideas, methods, and priorities to the human rights program. Their influence was magnified by the highly effective nature of Asian, Arab, and African diplomacy in the UN human rights bodies and the sheer numerical superiority of the so-called Afro-Asian bloc. Owing to the nature of General Assembly procedure, the Third World states dominated the human rights agenda, and enthusiastic support for universal human rights was replaced by decades of authoritarianism and an increasingly strident rejection of the ideas laid out in the Universal Declaration. In Decolonization and the Evolution of International Human Rights, Roland Burke explores the changing impact of decolonization on the UN human rights program. By recovering the contributions of those Asian, African, and Arab voices that joined the global rights debate, Burke demonstrates the central importance of Third World influence across the most pivotal battles in the United Nations, from those that secured the principle of universality, to the passage of the first binding human rights treaties, to the flawed but radical step of studying individual pleas for help. The very presence of so many independent voices from outside the West, and the often defensive nature of Western interventions, complicates the common presumption that the postwar human rights project was driven by Europe and the United States. Drawing on UN transcripts, archives, and the personal papers of key historical actors, this book challenges the notion that the international rights order was imposed on an unwilling and marginalized Third World. Far from being excluded, Asian, African, and Middle Eastern diplomats were powerful agents in both advancing and later obstructing the promotion of human rights.

The Human Rights Revolution

Author: Akira Iriye
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0195333144
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
This volume explores the place of human rights in history, providing an alternative framework for understanding the political and legal dilemmas that these conflicts presented, with case studies focusing on the 1940s through the present.

Cultural Heritage in Transit

Author: Deborah Kapchan
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 081220946X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
Are human rights universal? The immediate response is "yes, of course." However, that simple affirmation assumes agreement about definitions of the "human" as well as what a human is entitled to under law, bringing us quickly to concepts such as freedom, property, and the inalienability of both. The assumption that we all mean the same things by these terms carries much political import, especially given that different communities (national, ethnic, religious, gendered) enact some of the most basic categories of human experience (self, home, freedom, sovereignty) differently. But whereas legal definitions often seek to eliminate ambiguity in order to define and protect the rights of humanity, ambiguity is in fact inherently human, especially in performances of heritage where the rights to sense, to imagine, and to claim cultural identities that resist circumscription are at play. Cultural Heritage in Transit examines the intangibilities of human rights in the realm of heritage production, focusing not only on the ephemeral culture of those who perform it but also on the ambiguities present in the idea of cultural property in general—who claims it? who may use it? who should not but does? In this volume, folklorists, ethnologists, and anthropologists analyze the practice and performance of culture in particular contexts—including Roma wedding music, Trinidadian wining, Moroccan verbal art, and Neopagan rituals—in order to draw apart the social, political, and aesthetic materialities of heritage production, including inequities and hierarchies that did not exist before. The authors collectively craft theoretical frameworks to make sense of the ways the rights of nations interact with the rights of individuals and communities when the public value of artistic creations is constituted through international law. Contributors: Valdimar Tr. Hafstein, Deborah Kapchan, Barbro Klein, Sabina Magliocco, Dorothy Noyes, Philip W. Scher, Carol Silverman.