Human Rights at the UN: The Political History of Universal by Roger Normand

By Roger Normand

Human rights activists Roger Normand and Sarah Zaidi supply a wide political historical past of the emergence and improvement of the human rights stream in the 20 th century in the course of the crucible of the United international locations, concentrating on the hopes and expectancies, concrete strength struggles, nationwide rivalries, and bureaucratic politics that molded the overseas approach of human rights legislation. The e-book emphasizes the interval ahead of and after the production of the UN, whilst human rights principles and suggestions have been formed and remodeled by means of the hard-edged realities of energy politics and bureaucratic imperatives. It additionally analyzes the growth of the human rights framework in accordance with calls for for equitable improvement after decolonization and arranged efforts by way of ladies, minorities, and different deprived teams to safe foreign reputation in their rights.

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Extra resources for Human Rights at the UN: The Political History of Universal Justice (United Nations Intellectual History Project)

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23 The classical period did, however, exert a profound influence on the Enlightenment philosophers whose ideas would help spark revolutions in all spheres of European life. In their battle with the “dead hand” of absolute church power and the divine right of feudal monarchies, these thinkers hearkened back to a classical golden age of personal freedom and natural rights. The scientific and industrial revolutions, which challenged state and religious authorities, found their ideological counterpart in a political philosophy that challenged ruling ideas of law and governance.

There were winners and losers in these original interstate debates and negotiations; some ideas were discarded while others triumphed and were incorporated into the declarations, treaties, and norms of the modern human rights system. It is also important to bear in mind that there is no one monolithic entity called the United Nations responsible for shaping human rights ideas. 36 There are hierarchies within these categories as well, for example, between the permanent members of the Security Council and relatively powerless members of the General Assembly.

These profound questions and dilemmas have lain submerged beneath the relatively calm surface of universal human rights acceptance for much of the past sixty years. Their emergence today results from multiple factors, in particular the heightened rhetorical use of human rights by diverse political actors in the divisive context of a purported clash of civilizations, the sudden and dramatic escalation in human rights violations associated with the war on terror, and growing gap between rich and poor linked to globalization.

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