Common Tracks

In this part of the project I will be writing longer essays, setting out some of the broader issues in human rights in more depth. These common tracks will contribute to a better understanding of the arguments that I am adopting in my main track essays.

Common Track 1 – An Heretical History
Rethinking the foundations of human rights.

Common Track 2 – Living Democratic Freedom In An Unjust World
My argument here is that the subject of civil liberties (or to use human rights language, civil and political rights) has got to its honoured position in contemporary democracy by creative exploitation of the pressures that result from three paradoxes that lie at its heart.

Common Track 3 – The UN And Human Rights
Just a few weeks ago (24 September 2010) the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg made a speech at the United Nations General Assembly that deserves to be noticed. The Guardian’s news report, headed ‘UN in need of a radical overhaul’, said that the address ‘had been cleared by Cameron and the Foreign Secretary, William Hague’ and I hope that is both true and that it means something.

Common Track 4 – Asylum And Foundations
Doing What Comes Naturally? Asylum, Human Rights and Duties of Humanity.

Common Track 5 – Asian Values, China And Human Rights
In the first half of the 1990s, the relationship between human rights and what were described as Asian values came briefly to the fore as a topic of the first importance, one that for a time seemed to threaten the universality of human rights, forcing its ethical assumptions onto the defensive and (at its most extreme) suggesting that respect for human rights was little more than a provincial piece of Western thinking for which the rest of the world should have no sensible use.

Common Track 6 – The Human Rights Act
I strongly opposed the introduction of human rights legislation in the 1990s but am convinced now that the measure that we eventually got, in 1998, should be protected from repeal.

Common Track 7 – In Honour Of Kevin Boyle
An excerpt from a chapter of G Gilbert, F Hampson and C Sandoval (eds), Strategic Visions for Human Rights. Essays in Honour of Professor Kevin Boyle. Routledge London 2011

Common Track 8 – Is The Idea Of Human Rights Speciesist?
This question may seem absurd – until one thinks of it as a deliberately contrived way of putting a deeper point, one that I will argue in what follows is difficult easily to dismiss.

Common Track 9 – Celebrating The Saville Report
My comments on the landmark Saville Report into the events of Bloody Sunday in Derry, Northern Ireland.