Can a Rising Tide Lift Ships Passing in the Night?

32 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2011 Last revised: 9 Feb 2011

See all articles by Rhys Bollen

Rhys Bollen

Monash University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 25, 2008


Human rights are based on a recognition of the equal, inherent and “inalienable rights of all members of the human family”. Human rights, trade and development need not be ships passing in the night, as some have argued. Rather they are interrelated and interconnected concepts, often but not always pulling in similar directions. As one of humanity’s finest achievements, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care …”. This paper discusses the extent to which significant and sustainable development depends on trade. It considers which human rights are essential to the attainment of such development and the reasons for this. Finally, the paper discusses some institutional mechanisms that might or are being used to protect human rights in the trade and development fields.

Suggested Citation

Bollen, Rhys A., Can a Rising Tide Lift Ships Passing in the Night? (September 25, 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Rhys A. Bollen (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800

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