A Book by Filip Spagnoli
Here in a nutshell readers may find a description of the most important characteristics of human rights, and a clear and concise discussion of the problem of making human rights real and not just hypothetical while preserving respect as well for national sovereignty in the face of globalization and cultural imperialism.
The target audience includes the academic community but the intention is to be wide-ranging and to cover a broad area efficiently, for the non-specialist, in a book that is relatively short. As well as providing an introduction for students of rights issues, the purpose of this work is to propose some ideas to a public which may be generally interested in human rights but will never read scholarly and highly specialized books. For the general public, and in particular rights activists, students and victims of rights violations, this book can be a first introduction into the subject of human rights.
Building on definitions of human rights used by the United Nations and other international bodies, and without being sidetracked by nettlesome discussions of specific troubling cases of rights abuses, the author describes the main characteristics of the system of human rights. He focuses on universality, interdependence, differences between types of rights, absolute or limited rights, the subjects of rights (individuals or groups), and the links between rights and the judicial system and between rights and democracy.
He then discusses some of the instruments we can use to promote respect for human rights, the means by which we might make these rights real for a greater portion of humanity. Along the way, he analyzes some of the related controversies regarding sovereignty versus international intervention, globalization, and questions of cultural imperialism as they bear upon human rights. When do we have a right to impose rights — or to defend ourselves from intervention?
This systematic discussion presents a complex and difficult topic in an understandable framework accessible to the general public, and will stand as a useful foundation for readings of more specialized scientific, legal and philosophical works. Where most human rights books for the nonspecialist focus on specific instances of rights abuses, this work provides a more general approach focused on the logic in the system of human rights.