Action! - taking human rights beyond the classroom
The Human Rights Studies M.A. is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on the academic study of human rights theory and practice. Students take courses offered by ISHR, as well as human rights courses offered by other departments, such as Anthropology, History, Political Science, Religion, and Sociology. Students may also take courses offered by other schools at Columbia, including the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia Law School, and the Mailman School of Public Health.
Human Right Thesis, Thesis Writing Outline, Format Examples
Human Rights treaties are only one part of the UN's human rightsprogram. In fact, the UN has several agencies and courts, independentof its human rights treaties, to address continuing human rightsabuses. Three notable agencies are the High Commissioner for HumanRights (OHCHR), which serves as a full-time advocate for human rightswithin the UN; the Human Rights Council, which addresses gross humanrights violations; and the Security Council, which has the authorityto impose diplomatic and economic sanctions, sponsor peacekeepingmissions, and authorize military interventions in cases of humanrights emergencies.
In deciding which specific rights are human rights it is possible tomake either too little or too much of international documents such asthe Universal Declaration and the European Convention. One makes toolittle of them by proceeding as if drawing up a list of importantrights were a new question, never before addressed, and as if therewere no practical wisdom to be found in the choices of rights thatwent into the historic documents. And one makes too much of them bypresuming that those documents tell us everything we need to knowabout human rights. This approach involves a kind of fundamentalism:it holds that when a right is on the official lists of human rightsthat settles its status as a human right (“If it's in the bookthat's all I need to know.”) But the process of identifyinghuman rights in the United Nations and elsewhere was a politicalprocess with plenty of imperfections. There is little reason to takeinternational diplomats as the most authoritative guides to whichhuman rights there are. Further, even if a treaty could settle theissue of whether a certain right is a human right within internationallaw, such a treaty cannot settle its weight. It may claim that theright is supported by weighty considerations, but it cannot make thisso. If an international treaty enacted a right to visit national parkswithout charge as a human right, the ratification of that treaty wouldmake free access to national parks a human right within internationallaw. But it would not be able to make us believe that the right tovisit national parks without charge was sufficiently important to be areal human right.
The 1993 World Conference on Human Rights affirmed the crucial connection between international peace and security and the rule of law and human rights, placing them all within the larger context of democratization and development.Many conflicts are sparked by a failure to protect human rights, and the trauma that results from severe human rights violations often leads to new human rights violations. As conflict intensifies, hatred accumulates and makes restoration of peace more difficult. In order to stop this cycle of violence, states must institute policies aimed at human rights protection. Many believe that the protection of human rights "is essential to the sustainable achievement of the three agreed global priorities of , and ." Respect for human rights has therefore become an integral part of and foreign policy. The specific goal of expanding such rights is to "increase safeguards for the dignity of the person."Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are considered entitled: the right to life, liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equal treatment before the law, among others. These rights represent entitlements of the individual or groups vis-B-vis the government, as well as responsibilities of the individual and the government authorities.Despite what resembles a widespread consensus on the importance of human rights and the expansion of international treaties on such matters, the protection of human rights still often leaves much to be desired. Although international organizations have been created or utilized to embody these values, there is little to enforce the commitments states have made to human rights. Military intervention is a rare occurrence. Sanctions have a spotty track record of effectiveness. Although not to be dismissed as insignificant, often the only consequence for failing to protect human rights is "naming and shaming."My thesis, "Human Rights and the Sovereign State," asks whether the dominant political organization of our time, the sovereign state, is compatible with the humanitarian necessities of a global world. In part one, I analyze the theoretical foundations of both state sovereignty and the modern human rights movement. In chapter one, I trace the development of sovereignty from medieval times to the present, paying particular attention to the historical transition from the system of overlapping church and state authority to a system marked by independent secular authority. After analyzing the theoretical foundations of sovereignty as articulated by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Weber, and Tocqueville, I outline five key components of the sovereign state: 1) territorial exclusivity, 2) a monopoly on the legitimate use of armed force, 3) absolute authority over internal affairs, 4) responsibility to protect citizens and territory from external enemies, and 5) the necessity of recognition from other states. In chapter two, I briefly outline Locke, Rousseau, and Kant's contributions to universalistic, rights-based thought in order to contextualize today's human rights movement, and I note how the development of sovereignty theory - especially the focus on the function of the state in relation to the individual -- actually fueled discussion about individual human rights.Reading the manifesto, the electorate may have been deceived into thinking this all fairly innocuous stuff. It is not. When coupled with the further details given in October 2014, in Protecting Human Rights in the UK, a proposal document from the Conservative Party not obviously available from their website, matters take a very sinister turn. Constitutional change in the UK is not difficult. With the issue already on the new Government's agenda, the HRA could be repealed and replaced with a Bill of Rights giving effect to these proposals in a very short space of time. It is important to be ready and to know what form the proposed Bill of Rights is likely to take.