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The Conservative Human Rights RevolutionEuropean Identity, Transnational Politics, and the Origins of the European Convention$
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Marco Duranti

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199811380

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199811380.001.0001

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Postwar Reconciliation, Colonialism, and Cold War Human Rights

Postwar Reconciliation, Colonialism, and Cold War Human Rights

(p.164) 4 Postwar Reconciliation, Colonialism, and Cold War Human Rights
The Conservative Human Rights Revolution

Marco Duranti

Oxford University Press

This chapter highlights the role of imperial and international politics in the origins of the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights. The coupling of European integration with a human rights treaty legitimized the creation of a noncommunist bloc during a moment of transition in European international relations. For conservative Europeanists, to be a “good European” required committing oneself to respecting “human rights and fundamental freedoms,” understood as derivative of a Christian Western European civilization. This civilizational language justified barring erstwhile communist allies, including Western European communist parties, from participating in the Council of Europe. It also facilitated the exclusion of both communists and colonial subjects from equal protection under European human rights law. So, too, did the adoption of the ECHR smooth reconciliation with Germany by providing Germans with the opportunity to distance themselves from their Nazi past.

Keywords:   Britain, conservatism, Council of Europe, European identity, European integration, ECHR, European Convention on Human Rights, France, Germany, human rights

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