This chapter considers the idea that international human rights law is both produced by and dependent upon crisis. Surveying the capaciousness, ambiguity, and constructedness of the concept, we position the relative weight given to particular rights in terms of their framing as ‘crises’. We focus on how the idea of crisis has been differently deployed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the division between civil and political rights and economic, cultural and social rights to argue for a critical engagement with the language of crisis in human rights law, and to ask how that language has shaped the value and meaning of rights discourse more generally.
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