The author is successful in his goal of proposing an alternative perspective on human rights which seeks to reconcile the disjuncture between theory and practice ... This is an innovative, well-argued and well-written text which makes a useful contribution to the political theory of human rights. ( Lucy Mayblin, University of Warwick, in Political Studies Review)
... is a rich work, dense with argument and nuanced positions. It exhibits an admirable engagement with the history, texts and institutions of the international human rights regime. Beitz provides a convincing account of the relationship between his practical theory of human rights and related ideas (including international toleration and state sovereignty). He also explains the consequences that his theory has for the content of a justifiable human rights regime, including questions surrounding the status of subsistence rights, women's rights, and the right to democratic government ( Mark Navin, Jurisprudence)
The international doctrine of human rights is one of the most ambitious parts of the settlement of World War II. Since then, the language of human rights has become the common language of social criticism in global political life. This book is a theoretical examination of the central idea of that language, the idea of a human right. In contrast to more conventional philosophical studies, the author takes a practical approach, looking at the history and political practice of human rights for guidance in understanding the central idea. The author presents a model of human rights as matters of international concern whose violation by governments can justify international protective and restorative action ranging from intervention to assistance. He proposes a schema for justifying human rights and applies it to several controversial cases-rights against poverty, rights to democracy, and the human rights of women. Throughout, the book attends to some main reasons why people are sceptical about human rights, including the fear that human rights will be used by strong powers to advance their national interests. The book concludes by observing that contemporary human rights practice is vulnerable to several pathologies and argues the need for international collaboration to avoid them.
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