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11 - Environmental Justice, the Cold War and US Human Rights Exceptionalism

from Part II - The Generative/Productive Cold War

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2019

Matthew Craven
Affiliation:
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Sundhya Pahuja
Affiliation:
University of Melbourne
Gerry Simpson
Affiliation:
London School of Economics and Political Science
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Summary

Since 1945, the United States has played a significant role in the development and promotion of international human rights law while simultaneously distancing itself from the instruments and institutions that implement this body of law. The US often claims that it does not need to bind itself to international human rights treaties because its legal system is superior to that of other nations and provides its population more protection than international law – an attitude known as ‘American exceptionalism’. Out of the nine core human rights treaties negotiated in the last several decades under the auspices of the United Nations, the United States is a party to only three: the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (‘CERD’); the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘ICCPR’); and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (‘CAT’).

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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