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In Defense of Universal Human Rights

  • ID: 4538375
  • Book
  • August 2018
  • Region: Global
  • 232 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Should African and Muslim–majority countries be obliged to protect LGBT rights or do such rights violate their cultures? Should Western–based corporations be held liable if their security guards injure union activists in another part of the world, or should such decisions be settled under local or domestic law?

In this passionately argued book renowned human rights scholar Rhoda E. Howard–Hassmann vigorously defends the universality of human rights, arguing that the entire range of rights is necessary for all individuals everywhere regardless of sex, colour, ethnicity, sexuality or religion. Above all, she defends civil and political rights, such as the rights not to be tortured and the rights to vote, which are often so taken for granted as to be entirely neglected.

Howard–Hassmann grounds her defense of universality in her conception of human dignity, which she maintains must include personal autonomy, equality, respect, recognition, and material security. Only social democracies, she contends, can be considered fully rights–protective states. Other political systems, including communism, or minimally liberal or libertarian states, are not rights–protective. Taking issue with scholars who argue that human rights are Western, quasi–imperialist impositions on states in the global South, and risk undermining community and social obligation, Howard–Hassman explains how human rights support communities and can only be preserved if states and individuals observe their duties to protect them.
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Rhoda E. Howard–Hassmann
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