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17. China and the Tian’anmen Crisis of June 1989  

Rosemary Foot

This chapter examines the foreign policy consequences of the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 1989, and more specifically the Chinese government’s use of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to crack down on demonstrators. It first considers the external consequences of China’s open door policy before discussing the human rights issue in China before Tian’anmen. It then explores the events leading up to the Tian’anmen crackdown, along with its immediate foreign policy consequences. In particular, it analyses the sanctions against China and the country’s foreign policy response to those sanctions. It also describes the deepening of China’s involvement with human rights and its increased significance as a player in international politics.

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Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

Introduction: Human Rights in Politics and Practice  

This edition offers an introduction to the theory and practice of human rights from the perspective of politics and cognate disciplines. It showcases the ‘state of the art’ of the study of human rights in various fields and disciplines and explores a variety of important topics in contemporary human rights politics and practice. This introduction provides the historical and conceptual background necessary for informed critical engagement with the ideas and arguments presented in the text. It first explains why human rights have emerged as a powerful and important moral and political discourse since the middle of the twentieth century, with particular emphasis on their modernity, their invention, and their revolutionary character. It then examines the politics of human rights, the practice of human rights, and human rights as an object of enquiry. It concludes with a brief overview of the aims, structure, and objectives of the text.

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8. Measuring and Monitoring Human Rights  

Todd Landman and Larissa C. S. K. Kersten

This chapter focuses on the measurement and monitoring of human rights. It explains the purpose, challenges, and types of human rights measures and discusses the main content of human rights that ought to be measured, including the different categories and dimensions of human rights. It also considers the different ways that human rights have been measured using various kinds of data and measurement strategies, such as events-based data, standards-based data, survey data, and socio-economic and administrative statistics. Furthermore, it looks at new trends in human rights measurement, with a focus on new ways to measure economic and social rights, ‘open source’, and ‘big’ data, and the mapping and visualization of human rights data. The chapter concludes by discussing the remaining challenges for human rights measurement and monitoring, including biased reporting, incomplete source material, and the importance of continued dialogue between different academic disciplines on the need for measurement.

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1. Normative and Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights  

Anthony J. Langlois

This chapter discusses the normative and theoretical foundations of human rights. More specifically, it examines the theoretical basis for the normative ideas advanced by those who use the language of human rights for an ethical critique of international politics and policy. The chapter first traces the origins of the language of rights before discussing cultural relativism and imperialism, both of which challenge the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ claim to have universal application. It then considers the negative/positive distinction as a way of thinking about the differences between liberty and welfare rights. It also explores group rights, along with the philosophical and political history of the idea of human rights. Finally, it explains how the human rights agenda is deeply political, showing that it privileges a certain set of normative commitments that its proponents hope will become, in time, the ethical constitution of the international system.

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2. Feminist and Activist Approaches to Human Rights  

Ackerly Brooke

This chapter explores the theoretical and political history of human rights that emerges out of the struggles that have been waged by feminists and other non-elites. It first considers the bases for the moral legitimacy of human rights and challenges to those arguments before discussing three aspects of feminist approaches to human rights: their criticism of some aspects of the theory and practice of human rights, their rights claims, and their conceptual contributions to a theory of human rights. It then examines the ways in which feminists and other activists for marginalized groups have used human rights in their struggles and how such struggles have in turn shaped human rights theory. It also analyses theoretical and historical objections to the universality of human rights based on cultural relativism. Finally, it shows that women’s rights advocates want rights enjoyment and not merely entitlements.

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3. Human Rights in International Relations  

Tim Dunne and Marianne Hanson

This chapter examines the role of human rights in international relations. It first considers the theoretical issues and context that are relevant to the link between human rights and the discipline of international relations, focusing on such concepts as realism, liberalism, and constructivism. It then explores key controversies over human rights as understood in international relations as a field of study: one is the question of state sovereignty; another is the mismatch between the importance attached to human rights at the declaratory level and the prevalence of human rights abuses in reality. The chapter also discusses two dimensions of international responsibility: the duty to protect their citizens that is incumbent on all states in light of their obligations under the various human rights covenants; and the duty of states to act as humanitarian rescuers in instances where a state is collapsing or a regime is committing gross human rights violations.

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Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

22. Transitional Justice  

Joanna R. Quinn

This chapter examines the link between transitional justice and human rights. Atrocities such as genocide, disappearances, torture, civil conflict, and other gross violations of human rights leave states with a puzzling and often difficult question: what to do with the perpetrators of such acts of violence. Transitional justice takes into account the social implications of such conflicts. Its emphasis is on how to rebuild societies in the period after human rights violations, as well as with how such societies, and individuals within those societies, should be held to account for their actions. The chapter considers three paradigms of transitional justice, namely: retributive justice, restorative justice, and reparative justice. It also discusses the proliferation of the number of mechanisms of transitional justice at work and concludes with a case study of transitional justice in Uganda.

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4. Human Rights in International Law  

Rhona K. M. Smith

This chapter examines the international legal context of human rights. It first considers the historical evolution of international human rights law, with particular emphasis on the reincarnation of philosophical ideals as international laws (treaties), before discussing the principal sources of international human rights law such as customary international law and ‘soft’ law. It then describes the various forms of expressing human rights, along with the core international human rights instruments. It also explores the mechanisms for monitoring and enforcing human rights, including the United Nations system, regional human rights systems, and national human rights systems. Finally, it explains the process followed for a state wishing to be bound to the provisions of a treaty and the benefits of listing human rights in treaties.

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Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

23. The Environment  

John Barry and Kerri Woods

This chapter examines the ways that environmental issues affect human rights and the relevance of human rights to environmental campaigns. It also evaluates proposals for extending human rights to cover environmental rights, rights for future generations, and rights for some non-human animals. The chapter begins with a discussion of the relationship between human rights and the environment, along with the notion that all persons have ‘environmental human rights’. It then analyses the impact of the environment on human security and its implications for human rights issues before considering case studies that illustrate how environmental issues directly impact on the human rights of the so-called environmental refugees, who are displaced from lands by the threat of climate change and also by development projects. Finally, the chapter describes the link between human rights and environmental sustainability.

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6. Sociological and Anthropological Approaches  

Damien Short

This chapter explores sociological and anthropological approaches to the study of human rights. Anthropologists and sociologists have typically been either positivists or relativists. Consequently they have been slow to develop an analysis of justice and rights, thus lagging behind other disciplines in analysing the growth of universal human rights. This chapter shows how sociology and anthropology finally engaged with the concept of universal human rights after a long disciplinary focus on cultural relativism and legal positivism. It considers how sociology expanded its analysis of citizenship rights to that of human rights and how anthropology turned its ethnographic methodology towards an examination of the ‘social life of rights’. It also describes ‘social constructionism’ as a common bond between sociology and anthropology, laying emphasis on the importance of sociological and anthropological perspectives to the study of human rights.

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10. Human Rights and Religion  

Roja Fazaeli

This chapter examines the ways in which theoretical and practical relationships between religion and human rights are constructed and understood. It begins with a historical background on the relationship between religion and human rights, focusing on religious traditions from which human rights discourses have inherited or rejected a number of ideas; one is the tradition of natural rights, which was debated throughout the Enlightenment. It then considers the formation of the international human rights system, along with contemporary concerns regarding religion and human rights such as the treatment of women, religious expression and rights claims in multicultural contexts, and the significance of religious symbols. It also discusses questions of religious authority and concludes with a review of two European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) cases that demonstrate growing edges for questions of human rights and religion: the Lautsi case and the Şahin case.

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5. Human Rights in Comparative Politics  

Sonia Cardenas

This chapter examines the importance of comparative politics for understanding human rights practices. Comparative politics has advanced our knowledge of why states sometimes violate internationally recognized human rights. Both domestic incentives and exclusionary ideologies increase the likelihood of rights violations. On the other hand, comparative politics has attempted to explain human rights protection, showing how domestic structures (both societal groups and state institutions) can influence reform efforts. This chapter first consider alternative logics of comparison, including the merits of comparing a small versus a large number of cases and human rights within or across regions. It then explores the leading domestic-level explanations for why human rights violations occur. It also describes the use of domestic–international linkages to explain otherwise perplexing human rights outcomes. Finally, it analyses the ways in which, in the context of globalization, comparative politics shapes human rights practices.

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15. Torture  

William F. Schulz

This chapter examines the use of torture in Western history, focusing on the torture of slaves, confessions as ‘the Queen of Proofs’, and calls for the abolition of virtually all forms of torture. It also considers the principal international instruments against torture, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Finally, it analyses the pro and con arguments of the hypothetical case in which a suspect is thought to know the location of a ticking bomb that is about to explode and may injure large numbers of people. It argues that such a scenario is extremely rare and explains how far more common instances of torture may most successfully be diminished.

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7. Contemporary Critiques of Human Rights  

David Chandler

This chapter examines contemporary critiques of human rights, focusing on the downside of human rights claims — what is commonly understood by advocates of human rights to be the ‘misuse’ or ‘abuse’ of human rights. It first considers how human rights claims conflate ethical and legal claims because the subject of rights is not a socially constituted legal subject. It then discusses the rise of human rights as well as the relationship between human rights claims and international interventions such as humanitarianism, international law, and military intervention. In particular, it analyses the ethical, legal, and political questions raised by the Kosovo war. The chapter shows that there is a paradox at the heart of the human rights discourse, which enables claims made on behalf of victims, the marginalized, and excluded to become a mechanism for the creation of new frameworks for the exercise of power.

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Cover Politics in the Developing World

25. Nigeria  

Consolidating Democracy and Human Rights

Stephen Wright

This chapter examines the consolidation of democracy and human rights in Nigeria. With regard to the relationship between development and human rights, Nigeria presents an interesting puzzle. It is rich in oil, but has not been able to translate its immense natural resources into sustainable economic development and respect for human rights. Ethnic and religious tensions, a result of colonialism, have been exacerbated by disastrous economic development, which has in turn led to a deteriorating human rights situation and intense violence. The chapter first considers the political economy of Nigerian oil before discussing the country’s political and economic development, with particular emphasis on critical aspects of human security and civil society. It concludes with an assessment of the progress that has been made as well as ongoing development challenges Nigeria faces.

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26. Guatemala  

Enduring Underdevelopment and Insecurity

Rachel Sieder

This chapter examines Guatemala’s underdevelopment in the context of social, economic, cultural, and political rights. It first provides an introduction to poverty and multiple inequalities in Guatemala before discussing patterns of state formation in the country. It then considers the 1996 peace accords, which represented an attempt to reverse historical trends, to ‘engineer development’, and to secure the human rights of all Guatemalans. It also explores human security and development in Guatemala and identifies the main contemporary causes of the country’s persistent underdevelopment: a patrimonialist and predatory state underpinned by a strong, conservative private sector, an extremely weak party system, the continued influence of active and retired members of the armed forces in politics, entrenched counterinsurgency logics, and the increasing presence of transnational organized crime.

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27. Sudan  

Human Rights, Development, and Democracy

Liv Tønnessen

This chapter examines human rights, development, and democracy in Sudan. Since gaining independence in 1956, Sudan has been dominated by a northern Muslim ‘ethnocracy’ — a factor that helped precipitate secession of the Christian south in 2011. Long periods of military rule and civil war have spawned a culture of authoritarianism and violence. The chapter first provides an overview of political instability in Sudan before discussing the two civil wars and perpetual conflicts endured by the country throughout its history. It then considers the political economy of human development in Sudan, focusing on the link between underdevelopment and the politics of oil, as well as the failure of democracy to consolidate and the role of civil society in popular uprisings. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the connection between development in the Sudanese context and the need for improving human rights.

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.

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13. Economic Globalization and Human Rights  

David L. Richards and Ronald D. Gelleny

This chapter investigates the relationship between economic globalization and government respect for two subcategories of international human rights known as physical integrity rights and empowerment rights. It begins with an overview of different theoretical approaches regarding the relationship between economic globalization and government respect for human rights. It then reviews research findings from the quantitative literature analysing this relationship. It also conducts an original study using quantitative methods to determine whether a developing country's ability to attract foreign direct investment is affected by its level of governmental respect for human rights. The results show that governments that respect their citizens' physical integrity and empowerment rights will be better able to attract foreign economic capital.

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17. Children’s Human Rights Advocacy  

Vanessa Pupavac

This chapter examines some theoretical and practical problems in global children's rights advocacy. It begins with a discussion of the novelty of children's rights and the problem of identifying the moral agent of children's rights. It then considers the tensions between the universalism of human rights advocacy and the relativism of development advocacy. It shows that children's rights research is influenced by social constructivism, which highlights the history of childhood and childhood norms. Early social constructivist approaches identified the concept of childhood underpinning the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a Western construction based on Western experiences and its exclusion of the experience of childhood in developing countries. The chapter proceeds by looking at a case study involving attempts to eradicate corporal punishment of children globally. It suggests that there are social and political problems with attempting to globalize childhood norms without globalizing material development.