Human Rights and Law: Between Sufferance and Insufferability
Law Quarterly Review, Vol. 122, pp. 132-157, 2007
22 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2009
Date Written: 2007
There is something amiss with human rights. Little more than ten years since the end of history was declared and a “new world order” created, respect for human rights has developed from a position of rhetorical imperative in international affairs to one of hesitancy and uncertainty. Rather than embedding themselves as irrefutable elements in a concept of “good governance” with universal application, human rights have become open to question once again. At one level it seems as though they are in danger of being transformed from norm to exception, carving out space in the international (and domestic) political arena only when all other interests in the name of security (financial, military, even cultural) have been assuaged. At another, the rhetoric of human rights is becoming subject to an elasticity that stretches their purchase to the limits. In sum, there is every reason to question whether human rights are undergoing a crisis of confidence.
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