Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Human Rights in International Relations
Human rights is the soul of politics. The essence of human rights is the idea that all persons possess equal moral worth, that social order exists to preserve the essential humanity of its members, and that therefore the exercise of all forms of political authority is properly bounded by its impact on fundamental human dignity. In contemporary international society, this norm has become the theoretical basis for the legitimacy of all states—albeit poorly realized in practice. The emergence of the principle and practice of human rights is an essential area of international law, a hallmark of global civil society, and a response to the multilayered challenges of globalization, along with the persistence of state abuse. The politics of human rights also provides a fascinating test of the power of transnational citizen action and international cooperation to sporadically transform state sovereignty. This entry traces the evolution of this emerging norm, charts ...