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Are Human Rights History?

Are Human Rights History?

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  • I've been waiting for a piece like this -- and it kinda makes sense that it's an English translation of a Der Speigel article from last year.

    For those of us who support human rights I believe we have to face up to the author's thoughtful critique. The fact is the triumphalism following the end of

    I've been waiting for a piece like this -- and it kinda makes sense that it's an English translation of a Der Speigel article from last year.  

    For those of us who support human rights I believe we have to face up to the author's thoughtful critique. The fact is the triumphalism following the end of the Cold War led the US and others to allow the cause to become too closely associated with coercive power. What's more there was little prioritization or equal attention paid in terms of which rights were advanced where, cheapening the whole enterprise in some ways and deepening resentment. The author refers to this as an "Empire of Empathy" and as in all Empires, it's independent nations that end up feeling the squeeze. I still hold to the vision set out by the UN Declaration of Human Rights but acknowledge that the means of advancing them need to be refreshed. To paraphrase Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz: We're not in the 1990s anymore. 

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