International Human Rights

Jack Donnelly and Daniel J. Whelan

Fifth Edition • July 18, 2017 • 288 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813349480 • $40.00 USD$51.99 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813349497 • $25.99 USD$32.99 CAN

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International Human Rights examines the ways in which states and other international actors have addressed human rights since the end of World War II. This unique textbook features substantial attention to theory, history, international and regional institutions, and the role of transnational actors in the protection and promotion of human rights. Its purpose is to explore the difficult and contentious politics of human rights, and how those political dimensions have been addressed at the national, regional, and especially international levels.

The fifth edition is substantially revised throughout, including updates on multilateral institutions, particularly the UN’s Universal Periodic Review process, regional systems, human rights in foreign policy (including a chapter on U.S. policy), humanitarian intervention, globalization, and (anti)terrorism and human rights. The book also includes a new chapter on the unity of human rights, and new case studies exploring the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Procedures mechanisms, Myanmar, and Israeli settlements in West-Bank Palestine. Chapters include discussion questions, case studies for in-depth examination of topics, and ten “problems” tailored to promote classroom discussion on topics such as the war in Syria, hierarchies between human rights, and much more.

Jack Donnelly is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of International Relations at the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

Daniel J. Whelan is Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at Hendrix College.

List of Case Studies
List of Problems
List of Tables
Preface: A Note to the Reader

Part One: History and Theory
1. Human Rights in Global Politics: Historical Perspective

  1. The Emergence of International Human Rights Norms
  2. The Universal Declaration
  3. The Covenants
  4. The 1970s: From Standard Setting to Monitoring
  5. The 1980s: Further Growth and Institutionalization
  6. The 1990s: Consolidating Progress and Acting Against Genocide
  7. Human Rights in the Twenty-First Century
  8. The Global Human Rights Regime

Discussion Questions
Suggested Readings

2. Theories of Human Rights

  1. Rights in General
  2. Human Rights in Particular
  3. The Source or Justification of Human Rights
  4. Equal Concern and Respect
  5. The Unity of Human Rights
  6. Duties and Duty-Bearers of Human Rights
  7. Human Rights and Related Practices
  8. Sovereignty and International Society
  9. Three Models of International Human Rights
  10. The Realist Challenge to Human Rights
  11. Problem 1: Democracy and Human Rights

Discussion Questions
Suggested Readings

3. The Relative Universality of Human Rights

  1. Universality and Relativity
  2. International Legal Universality
  3. Overlapping Consensus Universality
  4. Functional Universality
  5. Anthropological or Historical Relativity
  6. Cultural Relativism
  7. Universal Rights, Not Identical Practices
  8. Universalism Without Imperialism
  9. The Relative Universality of Human Rights
  10. Problem 2: Hate Speech
  11. Problem 3: Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

Discussion Questions
Suggested Readings

4. The Unity of Human Rights

  1. Interdependent and Interrelated Rights
  2. The Indivisibility of Human Rights
  3. Politics, History, Theory, and Consensus
  4. Three Generations of Human Rights?
  5. Problem 4: Human Rights: Hierarchical or Indivisible?

Discussion Questions
Suggested Readings

Part Two: Multilateral, Bilateral, and Transnational Action
5. Global Multilateral Mechanisms

  1. The Human Rights Council
  2. The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
  3. Treaty-Reporting Systems
  4. Additional Global Actors
  5. Mainstreaming Human Rights Throughout the U.N. System
  6. Case Study: The Special Procedures

Discussion Questions
Suggested Readings

6. Regional Human Rights Regimes

  1. The European Regional Regime
  2. The Inter-American System
  3. The African Regional Regime
  4. Asia
  5. The Arab World
  6. Assessing Regional Human Rights Regimes
  7. Case Study: Chile and the Inter-American Commission

Discussion Questions
Suggested Readings

7. Human Rights and Foreign Policy

  1. Human Rights and the National Interest
  2. Means and Mechanisms of Bilateral Action
  3. The Aims and Effects of Human Rights Policies
  4. Drawbacks, Problems, and Criticisms
  5. Political Rhetoric Versus Political Will

Discussion Questions
Suggested Readings

8. Human Rights in American Foreign Policy

  1. Historical Overview
  2. Human Rights and American Exceptionalism
  3. Case Study: U.S. Policy in Central America
  4. Case Study: U.S. Policy Toward South Africa
  5. Case Study: American Policy Toward Myanmar (Burma)
  6. Case Study: Israeli Settlements in West Bank Palestine
  7. Other Western Approaches to International Human Rights
  8. Explaining Differences in Human Rights Policies
  9. Problem 5: U.S. Ratification of Human Rights Treaties

Discussion Questions
Suggested Readings

9. Transnational Human Rights Advocacy

  1. Case Study: Amnesty International
  2. Case Study: Human Rights Watch
  3. Nonpartisan Action
  4. Other Advocacy Actions: Celebrity and Consumer Campaigns
  5. NGO Legitimacy
  6. Problem 6: Human Rights Obligations of Multinational Corporations

Discussion Questions
Suggested Readings

Part Three: Contemporary Issues
10. Humanitarian Intervention

  1. Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity
  2. Case Study: Bosnia
  3. Case Study: Rwanda
  4. Case Study: Kosovo
  5. The Authority to Intervene
  6. Case Study: East Timor
  7. The Right to Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect
  8. Case Study: Libya
  9. Case Study: Sudan
  10. Justifying Humanitarian Intervention
  11. Problem 7: The War in Syria

Discussion Questions
Suggested Readings

11. Globalization, the State, and Human Rights

  1. Globalization
  2. States and Human Rights
  3. Markets and Liberal Democratic Welfare States
  4. Market Democracy and American Foreign Policy
  5. An Alliance of States and Human Rights Advocates?
  6. Problem 8: The Global North and South and Market Redistributions

Discussion Questions
Suggested Readings

12. (Anti)Terrorism and Human Rights

  1. International Human Rights Law and the Dilemmas of Counterterrorism
  2. The War on Terror and the Retreat of Human Rights
  3. Human Rights, Security, and Foreign Policy
  4. The Axis of Evil
  5. The War Against Iraq
  6. Recent Developments: Progress or Retreat?
  7. Problem 9: The Absolute Prohibition of Torture
  8. Problem 10: (Anti)Terrorism and Civil Liberties

Discussion Questions
Suggested Readings

Appendix: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“This splendid survey of the principles and practice of human rights is a welcome contribution to the canon. It is thorough, thoughtful, and comprehensive, providing an essential reference for human rights pedagogy and scholarship. The balance between norms, regime, and cases, coverage of contemporary issues, and dialectical approach make this edition an ideal introduction to human rights.” —Alison Brysk, UC Santa Barbara

“The preeminent introductory textbook for human rights courses by leading scholars of human rights…Comprehensive, accessible, and up-to-date, with excellent specific problems and discussion questions and a chapter on terrorism and human rights in the post 9/11 world…A synthetic yet grounded introduction to human rights.” —Kathryn Sikkink, Harvard University

“The new edition of Jack Donnelly’s classic textbook, thanks to Daniel Whelan’s new participation in the venture, maintains old reliability and seizes new opportunity. Aside from an entire extra chapter on the relation of different kinds of human rights to each other, teachers and students will find additional sections and case studies ripped from contemporary debates and news headlines, whether on celebrity human rights promotion, United Nations special procedures, recent humanitarian interventions, or ongoing counterterrorism. All told, it remains the best choice for the introductory human rights classroom.” —Samuel Moyn, author of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History

From Previous Editions:
“Examines the evolution of the international human rights regime with attention to the human agency at every level-the individual, the state, and the international system. The analysis of policy decisions that have culminated in action on human rights, or the violation of those rights, is both accessible to the student and true to the complex dynamics of an increasingly interconnected global arena.” —Julie Mazzei, Kent State University

“One of the best human rights texts available for the undergraduate classroom . . . well balanced between theory and practice and considers human rights both in different parts of the world and from different cultural perspectives.” —Dana Zartner, University of San Francisco

“The gold standard of human rights texts. Like its predecessors, the third edition is easily accessible and highly informative, and it has a great deal to offer the novice student but also the human rights expert.” —Mark Gibney, Belk Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina-Asheville

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