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POL 3113
Issues in Contemporary World Politics
Hsin-wen Lee





The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948 UN General Assembly) Multicultural – Composed by an international community of experts representing a great range of ethical traditions • Merit: avoid disagreement • Problem: (36) (37) – Multiple Interpretations – Possible conflicts – Who should do what? 3 .

or even social justice (38) 4 (39) . They are the necessary conditions of political legitimacy.Universal Declaration of Human Rights A list of generalized. abstract rights that might exist in a state X of nature. A list of concrete institutional √ standards.

Function of Human Rights • Human rights violation may create justification for foreign intervention (2003. • NGO 5 . 39) • A government’s human rights record can serve as a criterion of eligibility for participation in bilateral and multilateral development programs and of its success to financial adjustment assistance.

) (43) 6 .. HR does not apply to the Ch'ing dynasty. human rights are not (e. See next slide.g. some human rights are necessarily institutional (41) • Natural rights belong to people naturally.e. human rights are special rights (*i.Human Rights ≠ Natural Rights • Natural rights are pre-institutional.) (43) • Natural rights are timeless. as rights arising out of people’s relationships as participants in a global political economy.

membership in some group. Special • Special Rights (42) – arise out of special transactions or relationships. contracts.HLA Hart on Rights General vs. promises. 7 .g. • General Rights – belong to all men capable of choice… in the absence of those special conditions which give rise to special rights.. e.

” • Serious violation of human rights could justify some appropriate form of remedial action by agents outside of the society where the violation occurs. 8 .Human Rights= the basic requirement of global justice • Human rights state conditions that domestic social institutions should satisfy in order to respect “the dignity and Worth inherent in human person.


liberty. the right to join trade unions.5 (convenient) Categories of Human Rights 1. and the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. freedom of thought. protection against unemployment. 2. including freedom of religious teaching and practice “in public and private”. Rights associated with the rule of law include equal recognition before the law and equal protection of the law. conscience. free choice of employment. the right to take part in government.” Rights of communities include self-determination and protection of minority cultures. “reasonable limitation of working hours”. and association. presumption of innocence. assembly. and prohibition of arbitrary arrest. and security of the person’ privacy and freedom of movement. (271) 10 . 3. and cruel or degrading punishment. 5. and periodic and genuine elections by universal and equal suffrage. “just and favorable remuneration”. Economic and social rights refer to an adequate standard of living. impartial hearing and trial. and prohibition of slavery. torture. Rights of the person refer to life. 4. free elementary education. ownership of property. social security. and religion. Political rights encompass freedom of expression. effective legal remedy for violation of legal rights.

Human Rights as Partisan Standards • Asian Values • International pressure for domestic political reform was inappropriate (271) 11 .

Human Rights Violation & Intervention • Objection to Human Rights Intervention: Paternalism: Limiting the liberty on the grounds that those whose liberty is limited will be better off as a result of the interference (2001. 273) • Beitz’s Reply: – Misconception: “US” & “THEM” – Paternalism= an intervention in a person’s self-regarding choices on the grounds that the intervention is good for that person. 12 .

The Doctrine of Human Rights • The doctrine is common in the sense that. considered in light of the political purposes it is expected to serve. reasonable persons could accept it despite differences in their reasonable conceptions of the good. (2001: 278) 13 .

Others actively violate the human rights of its citizens. Question: Should another state intervene? 14 . Some states fail to protect the human rights of its citizens.Legitimate States Have Sovereignty.

Political Sovereignty • Traditional View: Absolute • Modern: Bounded (by Human Rights) 15 .


Thesis If we take human rights as seriously as we should. (119) 17 . then even a legitimate state has no principled objection to outsider’s intervening in its internal affairs if this interference will prevent just a single human rights violation.

• State Sovereignty= – A country’s moral dominion over its self-regarding affairs. 18 . – Human rights are the protections generally needed against the standard and direct threats to leading a minimally decent human life in modern society. – A right of self-determination which includes a claim against external intervention. (119) ↕ conflict? • Human Rights= – a subset of individual moral rights which are distinguished by their connection to human needs.

Question– To intervene. or not to Intervene? Must we respect a state’s sovereignty when we reasonably believe that our unsolicited intervention will successfully avert human rights violations? (119-20) 19 .

) – Perfect performance – Satisfactory performance (121) 20 . human rights protection.State Legitimacy • Transactional Account (120) – Problem: John Simmons • Functional Account (e. domestic security.g. etc.

Legitimate States Legitimate states have a right against external interference. (122) 21 . even in cases where other states and/ or international bodies could do more good than harm.

(123) 22 . (122) States lack a right against external intervention even if they were satisfactorily performing their requisite political functions.Objection Human rights issues are urgent Human rights issues take precedence over more general concern to respect the sovereignty of legitimate states.

Option (123) Problems (123-4) Insist that perfection is necessary for state legitimacy The standard is implausibly high? Deny that legitimacy entitles a state to political selfdetermination. Deny that human rights should be taken as seriously as the objector recommends. even a single human rights violation provides us with sufficient cause to intervene in an unquestionably legitimate state. then there is no principled reason against forced annexation. If so. (124) 23 .

(Joan & Rita) (126) • Good record up to date warrants a state’s sovereignty. it does not warrant the right against intervention when human rights violation occurs.Revised Understanding of State Sovereignty • Affirming the right to intervene (to avert a human rights violation) does not negate a legitimate state’s sovereignty. however. Sovereignty can be unbundled. (127) • Mirroring our view of political obligation: duty to obey the just laws of a just state only. no duty to obey unjust law (128-9) 24 .

Theory & Practice The means of intervention must be proportional to the end (of protecting human rights). (130) 25 .