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The Role of Law in International PoliticsEssays in International Relations and International Law$
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Michael Byers

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199244027

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199244027.001.0001

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Politics And Human Rights: An Essential Symbiosis

Politics And Human Rights: An Essential Symbiosis

(p.149) 8 Politics And Human Rights: An Essential Symbiosis
The Role of Law in International Politics

Makau Wa Mutua

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the works of the major authors of human rights discourse and argues that human rights and Western liberal democracy are close to a tautology. It explains that although the two concepts seem different viewed from a distance, one is in fact the universalized version of the other, an attempt at the diffusion and further development on the international level of the liberal political tradition. It argues that the human rights corpus, as a statement of ideals and values, and particularly the positive law of human rights, requires the reconstruction of States to reflect the structures and values of governance that derive from Western liberalism, especially the contemporary variations of liberal democracy practised in Western democracies. It clarifies that while these democracies differ in the content of the rights they guarantee and the organizational structures they take, they are nevertheless based on the same idea of constitutionalism.

Keywords:   politics, human rights, symbiosis, Western liberal democracy, constitutionalism

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