IHEU vice president Rob Buitenweg has published “Human Rights, Human Plights in a Global Village”.
In today’s globalized world, all people are within “six steps”—six links of acquaintanceship—of every other person in the world. Yet a significant percentage of the world’s population lives in abject socioeconomic misery, exploited, slaving in horrible working conditions, without enough food or education, and highly susceptible to illness and disease. How is it possible that this occurs to people who are only ‘six steps’ away from us? How can human misery continue despite the economic, technological and moral progress mankind has made? In particular, how can this misery continue despite the economic, social and cultural human rights that are recognized by many legal, international and national, documents? These rights, like the right to adequate housing, to food, to health(care) and to social security are intended to alleviate human misery and, in so doing, contribute to a dignified life. Knowing that these rights exist might lead one to think: is not such widespread, socioeconomic human misery a violation of people’s human rights, more especially of their economic, social and cultural rights? This book addresses the rights, the wrongs, the law, and what we need to do.
ISBN: 978-0-932863-55-3 $19.95 280 pp
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rob Buitenweg is Associate Professor of Human Rights at the Kosmopolis Institute, The Netherlands. VP of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, he is a member of the Board of Governors of the International Jurists Organization and Board member of the Dutch Humanist Committee of Human Rights. He was lecturer in the philosophy of law at the University for Humanistics in 1989. He has published widely in both English and Dutch.
“Superbly argued and always accessible this book is an essential guide for everyone who is concerned with human rights and human development. No one gives a better explanation of the importance and indispensable value of socioeconomic human rights for our times. A stimulating book and an indispensable work of reference.”
Prof. dr. Henk Manschot, Professor in Ethics, University of Humanistics, The Netherlands
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: A SHORT HISTORY OF HUMAN RIGHTS
1. Rights of a special kind
2. Natural law
3. The social contract
4. The Right of Nature
5. Natural rights
9. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
10. The International Covenants
CHAPTER 2: THE STATE OF AFFAIRS OF INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL RIGHTS
1. Fighting poverty
2. Social rights
3. Economic rights
4. Cultural rights
5. Differences between CP-rights, and ESC-rights
6. Bridging the gap
7. Regional ESC-rights
8. The treatment of ESC-rights in constitutions
9. Neglect of ESC-rights
10. Why are ESC-rights neglected?
11. The argument against ESC rights as real, universal human rights
CHAPTER 3: A DIGNIFIED LIFE
2. Human dignity
3. Existing as a person
4. A life worthy of a human being: Generic rights to freedom, participation and well-being
5. The primary values underlying human rights
6. Freedom or autonomy?
7. Freedom, first among equals
13. Concluding comments
CHAPTER 4: POVERTY: IS ANYONE TO BLAME?
2. SKEPTICS ON SOCIAL JUSTICE
3. LIBERTARIAN SKEPTICISM
4. Poverty is human-made
5. A duty to refrain and a duty to protect
6. A duty to help
7. Who is the duty-bearer?
CHAPTER 5: THE ILLUSIONS OF LIBERTARIANISM
2. The illusion of the legitimacy of the current distribution
3. Negative and positive freedom
4. Poverty is a violation of negative freedom
CHAPTER 6: THE SURPLUS VALUE OF A RIGHTS-BASED APPROACH
3. Normative guideline or duty?
4. Duties, disabilities, liabilities, no-rights
5. Rights as immunities and ESC-rights
6. Rights meaning powers
CHAPTER 7: THE VAGUENESS OF ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
2. The dynamics of human rights
3. Obligations flowing from ESC-rights
4. What do various authors say?
5. Some more categories
6. The result of the search: a scheme of obligations
7. Justiciable duties?
CHAPTER 8: A RIGHT IS A PRECIOUS THING
2. Duty + interest = right: a minimalist view
6. Discretion and human rights
7. Societal recognition of rights
8. Effective societal support: justiciability, enforceability, social control
9. Elements of a right: the notion of a right versus a concrete right
10. Justiciability again
11. Aspects and elements
12. Genuine, justiciable rights
CHAPTER 9: GLOBAL NORMS FOR A GLOBAL VILLAGE
2. Historical relativity vs. historical universality
3. Contemporary relativity or universality
4. Normative relativity or universality
5. Unacceptability and inconsistency of cultural relativism
6. Normative universalism and justificatory universalism
7. A dialogue
CHAPTER 10: IN DEFENSE OF UNIVERSALISM: WORLD CITIZENSHIP
1. Cultural relativism vs. universalism
2. The universality of the right-holder
3. The universality of the object of the right
4. The universality of the addressees of human rights
5. Global citizenship