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Encyclopedia of Law & Society: American and Global Perspectives

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Encyclopedia of Law & Society: American and Global Perspectives

David S. Clark

Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637 | Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.

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Human Rights, International

Domenico Francavilla

Human rights are rights that belong to every human being, irrespective of any other qualification or condition such as gender, race, or nationality. Therefore, human rights theories and practices are inherently universalistic and egalitarian. Human rights transcend the boundaries of state legal systems; they are equal for all human beings. Theoretical conceptions of human rights have been present in many historical and geographical contexts. Modern theories of human rights, however, stem from natural rights theories elaborated in the seventeenth century. Human rights were originally protected at the national level as fundamental rights or civil liberties. In the twentieth century, human rights have become central to the practice of law at the international level. Their relevance in the contemporary world is increasing. Many economic, social, political, and cultural issues make reference to their diffusion, elaboration, and implementation. In this sense, they have become a paradigm of legal discourse, providing a framework ...

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