29 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 1, 2013
This chapter defends a simple proposition: rights matter. It is a troubling reflection of the current state of juridical thought that it is in relation to human rights law that the proposition is defended. In an effort to reclaim rights from the position of inconsequence to which they have been relegated by the received approach to human rights law, the chapter draws attention to the equivocation in the use of the term ‘right’ in the catch-phrases ‘Everyone has a right to ...’. In reasoning towards the states of affairs and sets of interpersonal actions, forbearances, and omissions that realise rights in community, one merely begs the question by affirming as conclusive that one has a right to life, liberty, etc. The practical question is what, specifically, is to be established and brought into being in order to realise one’s rights. The chapter’s main contention is that rights are conceptually interrelated to justice and acknowledge the foundational equality of persons by delimiting what is due to each member of a political community. This frame of analysis is deployed to criticise proponents of the received approach and to re-order the relationship of rights to law.
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