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Rescuing Human Rights
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Book description

The development of human rights norms is one of the most significant achievements in international relations and law since 1945, but the continuing influence of human rights is increasingly being questioned by authoritarian governments, nationalists, and pundits. Unfortunately, the proliferation of new rights, linking rights to other issues such as international crimes or the activities of business, and attempting to address every social problem from a human rights perspective risk undermining their credibility. Rescuing Human Rights calls for understanding 'human rights' as international human rights law and maintaining the distinctions between binding legal obligations on governments and broader issues of ethics, politics, and social change. Resolving complex social problems requires more than simplistic appeals to rights, and adopting a 'radically moderate' approach that recognizes both the potential and the limits of international human rights law, offers the best hope of preserving the principle that we all have rights, simply because we are human.

Reviews

‘Rescuing Human Rights is a superbly researched and highly readable diagnosis of the many ailments afflicting contemporary human rights advocacy. Whether or not one agrees with his prescriptions, Hurst Hannum's comprehensive and provocative analysis clearly delineates the issues and provides an excellent starting point for debate.'

John Shattuck - Former US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and former US Ambassador to the Czech Republic

‘I warmly recommend this impressive evaluation of human rights as we approach the third decade of the twenty-first century. It is essential reading for human rights practitioners, teachers, politicians and concerned citizens.'

Richard J. Goldstone - former Chief Prosecutor of the UN Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda

'With Rescuing Human Rights: A Radically Moderate Approach, Hurst Hannum makes an important and timely contribution to a necessary stocktaking by the global human rights movement.'

Peter Splinter Source: International Service for Human Rights (www.ishr.ch)

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