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Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction [Format Kindle]

Andrew Clapham

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Today it is usually not long before a problem gets expressed as a human rights issue. An appeal to human rights in the face of injustice can be a heartfelt and morally justified demand for some, while for others it remains merely an empty slogan.

Taking an international perspective and focusing on highly topical issues such as torture, arbitrary detention, privacy, health and discrimination, this Very Short Introduction will help readers to understand for themselves the controversies and complexities behind this vitally relevant issue. Looking at the philosophical justification for rights, the historical origins of human rights and how they are formed in law, Andrew Clapham explains what our human rights actually are, what they
might be, and where the human rights movement is heading.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Biographie de l'auteur

Andrew Clapham is Director of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, and Professor of Public International Law at the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva. He was the first Executive Director of the Academy of European Law at the European University Institute in Florence. He then worked as the Representative of Amnesty International at the United Nations in New York from 1991 to 1997, and has since taught human rights at the Graduate Institute of International Studies. He is an academic associate member of Matrix Chambers in London. Previous publications include: <i>Human Rights Obligations of Non-State Actors</i> (Oxford University Press, 2006); <i>International Human Rights Lexicon</i> with Susan Marks (Oxford University Press, 2005); and <i>European Union - The Human Rights Challenge Vols I-III</i> (Nomos, 1991, jointly edited).

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.8 étoiles sur 5  5 commentaires
31 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 An enthusiastic but one-sided overview 14 août 2008
Par Paul Vitols - Publié sur
This brief survey educates one about human rights while advocating a very liberal interpretation of them.

In truth, I was torn between assigning this book four stars or three. The book itself is quite good, but I found myself getting impatient with it by the end, and I wasn't sure whether it was because of the presentation, or because I found I didn't agree with Mr. Clapham's eagerness to stretch the concept of human rights to cover the widest possible set of circumstances.

This is the only volume of the "Very Short Introduction" series I've read so far, and I find this publishing idea very attractive. I bought the book because I was drawn to the idea of a high-level "briefing document" approach. What I was hoping for and expecting was a completely balanced treatment, and this is what I feel I did not get.

I really appreciated the short potted history of human rights early in the book, and learned many interesting things, such as the role H. G. Wells played in formulating and popularizing the idea of human rights. But as the book goes on to treat various social-justice issues, such as food, education, housing, work, and discrimination, I felt that I was really reading a progress report on how the human-rights movement has helped to promote a left-wing social agenda worldwide.

While there's nothing wrong with being politically progressive, I sense danger in the idea of having "human rights" overtaken by any one political point of view. For my part, I'm a passionate believer in human rights, but in a much more restricted set of rights than what is envisaged in this book and, apparently, in the human-rights movement generally. But Mr. Clapham is dismissive of those who criticize the "politicization" of human rights; to him, human rights are about politics, and those who don't see this just don't get it.

By the end of the book Mr. Clapham finally takes explicit aim at those who are more reserved in their definition of human rights:

"Those who insist on a narrow meaning seek to confine human rights to an historically based determination of specific governmental duties to refrain from infringing traditional liberties; the wider vision of human rights allows for consideration of the problems of hunger, poverty, and violence facing billions of people."

I suspect that not many people who question Mr. Clapham's liberal interpretation of human rights would accept his characterization of their viewpoint. In a "briefing document" of this kind, more balance is essential. Also, it would have been good to begin the book with this sentence, so that we could know from the start just how committed the author is to one side of the question.

Maybe I'm being too harsh. Mr. Clapham does make efforts throughout to present other views, noting that "critics say..." But it was as though by the end he just could not bear to wear the "impartial" mask any more.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Must Read for All Students in the US 9 juin 2012
Par Julia Koch - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
An excellent introduction to the human rights issue, this book gives a solid foundation for considering today's global world. I recommend it highly for all who want to understand their place globally.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Pretty good 27 janvier 2014
Par Derek Kunhee Kim () - Publié sur
Achat vérifié
Short, succinct, provides adequate examples. It does a good job giving you a taste of human rights with the limited space it has.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Comprehensive and Concise! 18 août 2014
Par Susan Cushman - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
An easy-to-ready concise overview of Human Rights theory and practice. Much appreciated!
3.0 étoiles sur 5 OK introduction, but wanted more 2 février 2015
Par Boardgamer, PHD - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This is an Okay introduction, however, the book is quite Anglo-centric. Also, I would have liked a more straightforward discussion of the historical trajectories of the development of the concept of human rights. I did like the discussion of H. G. Wells' role in the history of human rights though! I would give the 3.5 stars if I could.
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