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Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

31. Human rights  

Ratna Kapur

This chapter looks at human rights, analysing the structure and politics of human rights in the twenty-first century. In particular, the chapter examines the influence of liberal internationalism on human rights and how this is shaped by the legacies of colonialism, slavery, apartheid, and engagements with sexual, religious, and racial differences. The chapter encourages questions about whether rights are universal instruments of emancipation, or whether the rights are more complex, contradictory, and contingent in their functioning. The chapter also sets out the dominant understandings of human rights as progressive, universal, and based on a common human subject. Human rights advocates sometimes differ on the strategies to be adopted to address violations; these can have material, normative, and structural consequences that are not always empowering. These competing positions are illustrated through two case studies: one on the Islamic veil bans in Europe and the second on LGBT human rights interventions.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

32. Human rights  

Ratna Kapur

This chapter looks at human rights, analysing the structure and politics of human rights in the twenty-first century. In particular, the chapter examines the influence of liberal internationalism on human rights and how this is shaped by the legacies of colonialism, slavery, apartheid, and engagements with sexual, religious, and racial differences. The chapter encourages questions about whether rights are universal instruments of emancipation, or whether the rights are more complex, contradictory, and contingent in their functioning. The chapter also sets out the dominant understandings of human rights as progressive, universal, and based on a common human subject. Human rights advocates sometimes differ on the strategies to be adopted to address violations; these can have material, normative, and structural consequences that are not always empowering. These competing positions are illustrated through two case studies: one on the Islamic veil bans in Europe and the second on same-sex, queer relationships, LGBTQ rights, and colonial laws.

Chapter

Cover International Relations Since 1945

22. Stability and Instability in the Less Developed World  

This chapter focuses on stability and instability in less developed countries in the post-Cold War period. One of the signs, alongside the end of the Cold War, that old enmities were breaking down and that a more liberal-democratic world order might be emerging, was the end of apartheid in South Africa. This development followed a long period in which White supremacy had been in decline in southern Africa, leaving the home of apartheid exposed to strong external pressures. After discussing the end of apartheid in Southern Africa, the chapter considers developments in Central Africa, in particular Rwanda and Zaire, as well as the Middle East and East Asia. It concludes with an assessment of the rise of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967–89, the emergence of the ‘tiger’ economies in the 1990s, and the post-1997 economic crisis.