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Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

16. Human Trafficking  

Andrea M. Bertone

This chapter examines how the international community has defined and framed the issue of human trafficking over the last century, and how governments such as the United States have responded politically to the problem of human trafficking. Contemporary concerns about trafficking can be traced back to a late nineteenth-century movement in the United States and Western Europe against white slavery. White slavery, also known as the white slave trade, refers to the kidnapping and transport of Caucasian girls and women for the purposes of prostitution. The chapter first considers the definitions of human trafficking before discussing the anti-white slavery movement and the increase in international consciousness about the trafficking of women. It then traces the origins of the contemporary anti-human trafficking movement and analyses how trafficking emerged as a global issue in the 1990s. It also presents a case study on human trafficking in the United States.

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Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

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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Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

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.