Future of Human Rights - Essay Example

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The remarkable emergence of human rights is strongly associated with the growth of liberal order that is promoted and sustained by mostly the western states, immediately after World War II, across the globe. From the foremost recognitions of human rights as individual safeguards…
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The Future of Human Rights The remarkable emergence of human rights is strongly associated with the growth of liberal order that is promoted and sustained by mostly the western states, immediately after World War II, across the globe. From the foremost recognitions of human rights as individual safeguards against potentially intimidating nation to the comparative segregation of collective and socio-economic rights, the liberal attributed to the western states has primarily shaped human rights both in practice and theory (Engstrom, 2010). However, the emergence and growing influence by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) breed current as well as future management questions of international concern. The significance of the influence presented by the rise and continuing growth of these countries stems from the assertion that social, economic and political power play a vital role in comprehending human rights concept and its corresponding international regime. The emergence and growth of the BRICS countries has implications on human rights since social, economic and political power is shifting from the western states to non-western states. Such power shift generates divergent understanding of political legitimacy and morality hence development of a new world order goes beyond the notion of the dominance of western states. This paper investigates the future of human rights.
State sovereignty relates to the continuing tensions between human rights regimes’ foundational principles and their role in contemporary world typified by preferences, values, power and ideas diffusion. The concept of human rights in the 20th century was all about relationship between the state and its citizens (the ruler and the ruled) and that the states’ external legitimacy in the global arena was shaped by the political order of its constituent domestic societies. This model has since changed in “modern” decades owing to the increased implications of weak states to adequately protect human rights; growing interdependencies; and emergence of the global community having settled norms (Engstrom, 2010). These arguments have changed sovereignty from entailing only power to a concept involving responsibility too. Several bodies and organizations have been established to uphold protection of human rights across the world beyond the “sovereignty” of states that is such bodies can intervene, with military deployment as the last resort, if the state fails to respect human rights.
The second theme concerns the implication of a global system described by enduring state power. International state system embodies the notion of human rights and such rights have to be enjoyed under national law. The international law serves the purpose of influencing states in appreciating human rights and, incorporating them in national laws and practicing them in national institutions. Many advocacy groups and Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs) utilize the strategies to leverage state power in order to sway public opinion. Human rights are not owned by the state, instead, they are owned by people under the rule of the states. Thus, the trend is removing the agency of such rights from governments to NGOs and advocacy group (Hurrell, 2007); NGOs and advocacy groups should preside over human rights rather than states.
In summary, the emergent states’ rising power and influence are likely to model future development of regime of international human rights. Since expansion of the western liberal order across the globe served as the base for emergence and consolidation of modern human rights, the emergence of BRICS and other developing countries is likely to present destabilizing challenges. However, detaching values from hard power that buttresses them is not simple hence the challenge of western liberalism will result into gradual but steady erosion of moral discourse as the status of human rights. Thus, having uniformity in recognition and enforcement of human rights by different states will take a longer time; similarly transferring the agency of human rights from states to NGOs and advocacy groups will take longer time. In future, the status and agency of human rights will change.
Engstrom, P. (2010). The Effectiveness of International and Regional Human Rights Regimes. In: Robert, A. D. (ed.). The International Studies Encyclopedia. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Hurrell, A. (2007). On Global Order: Power, Values, and the Constitution of International Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Read More
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