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Human Rights: Moral or Political?$
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Adam Etinson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198713258

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198713258.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 January 2022

Reflections on Human Rights and Power

Reflections on Human Rights and Power

Chapter:
(p.375) 11 Reflections on Human Rights and Power
Source:
Human Rights: Moral or Political?
Author(s):

Pablo Gilabert

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198713258.003.0023

This chapter explores the tensions between the normative ideal of human rights and the facts of asymmetric power. First, it reconstructs and assesses important power-related worries about human rights. These worries are sometimes presented as falsifying the view that human rights exist, or at least as warranting the abandonment of human rights practice. The chapter argues that the worries do not warrant such conclusions. Instead, they motivate the identification of certain desiderata for the amelioration of human rights practice. The chapter identifies twelve such desiderata. Second, this chapter proposes a strategy for satisfying these desiderata. In particular, it suggests some ways to build empowerment into the human rights project that reduce the absolute and relative powerlessness of human rights holders, while also identifying an ethics of responsibility and solidarity for contexts in which power deficits will not dissolve. Power analysis does not debunk the human rights project. Properly articulated, it is an important tool for those pursuing it.

Keywords:   political realism, power-based critiques of human rights, human rights, capabilities, empowerment, solidarity, Marxism and human rights

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