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1 - Introduction: reconsidering human rights from below

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 October 2011

Koen De Feyter
Affiliation:
Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium
Stephan Parmentier
Affiliation:
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
Christiane Timmerman
Affiliation:
Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium
George Ulrich
Affiliation:
Riga Graduate School of Law
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Summary

The last half century has witnessed huge efforts to establish the universality of human rights. Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948, numerous international treaties and declarations have reaffirmed human rights as norms applicable on a global scale. Several universal and regional institutions of an expert or governmental nature are now monitoring compliance with human rights norms.

It is, however, unclear whether the global regime that was so painstakingly developed over the last few decades is of much practical use at the local level to people confronted with the abuse of power and/or inhumane living conditions. This question is particularly important in the current era of globalisation, when economic and political institutions of different kinds shape and reshape the world at a rapid pace.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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