These are boom times for authoritarianism. More than half the global population lives under non-democratic rule, suffering poverty, famine, a silenced press, persecution, surveillance, censorship, and a host of other horrors. Human rights stand as a bastion against strong-arm tactics of all kinds – but they rely on people to understand and claim them. Jack Donnelly’s comprehensive text has become a classic in the field since its first publication in 1989. Donnelly, a professor of international studies at the University of Denver, details the history, theory and practice of human rights, spotlighting the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This lucid, wide-ranging and activist account tackles the knottiest questions – cultural relativism, humanitarian intervention, group rights – head on. Donnelly isn’t afraid to share unconventional opinions about the West’s stance toward economic and social rights, and less invested readers might find some sections dry. Nonetheless, getAbstract highly recommends this thorough, intelligent book, which provides abundant food for thought, as a solid base for engagement on a crucial subject. The third edition includes extensive updates and new material.
In this summary, you will learn
- What values human rights protect and promote;
- Why human rights arose in the 20th century and not before; and
- What institutions declare, promote and enforce human rights around the world.
About the Author
Jack Donnelly is Andrew Mellon Professor and John Evans Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. His other books include International Human Rights and Realism and International Relations.
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