Human rights and sovereignty are the two main concepts from which contemporary discussion of international justice has been woven. Human rights can best be understood as individual moral rights to the conditions and resources that are generally of substantial importance for leading a minimally decent human life in modern society. Sovereignty can be understood as the right of a state to self‐determination, that is, to govern its territory as it sees fit without interference by external agencies. This chapter contends that the right of self‐determination rests on, and is circumscribed by, the willingness and ability of a state to protect and respect adequately human rights.
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