Human rights, Criticism

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Summary

Human rights are moral principles that set out certain standards of human behaviour, and are regularly protected as legal rights in national and international law. They are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal (applicable everywhere) and egalitarian (the same for everyone).

Details

The claims made by human rights to universality have led to criticism. Philosophers who have criticized the concept of human rights include Jeremy Bentham, Edmund Burke, Friedrich Nietzsche and Karl Marx. Political philosophy professor Charles Blattberg argues that discussion of human rights, being abstract, demotivates people from upholding the values that rights are meant to affirm. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy gives particular attention to two types of criticisms: the one questioning universality of human rights and the one denying them objective ground. Alain Pellet, an international law scholar, criticizes "human rightism" approach as denying the principle of sovereignty and claiming a special place for human rights among the branches of international law; Alain de Benoist questions human rights premises of human equality. David Kennedy had listed pragmatic worries and polemical charges concerning human rights in 2002 in Harvard Human Rights Journal.

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External Links

  • WikipediaUnited Nations: Human RightsUN Practitioner's Portal on HRBA ProgrammingSimple Guide to the UN Treaty BodiesCountry Reports on Human Rights PracticesInternational Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)

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