In Defense of Universal Human Rights
In Defense of Universal Human Rights

Should African and Muslim-majority countries be obliged to protect LGBT rights, or do such rights violate their cultures? Should Western-based corporations be held liable if their security guards injure union activists in another part of the world, or should such decisions be settled under local or domestic law?

In this book, renowned human rights scholar Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann vigorously defends the universality of human rights, arguing that the entire range of rights is necessary for all individuals everywhere, regardless of sex, color, ethnicity, sexuality, religion or social class.

Howard-Hassmann grounds her defense of universality in her conception of human dignity, which she maintains must include personal autonomy, equality, respect, recognition, and material security. Only social democracies, she contends, can be considered fully rights-protective states. Taking issue with scholars who argue that human rights are “Western” quasi-imperialist impositions on states in the global South, and risk undermining community and social obligation, Howard-Hassmann explains how human rights support communities and can only be preserved if states and individuals observe their duties to protect them.
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  • December 2018
  • 232 pages
  • 143 x 216 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9781509513536
  • Paperback $22.95
  • 9781509513543
  • Open eBook $18.99
  • 9781509513574
Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. Universal Human Rights
  • Chapter 2: Critical Perspectives on Human Rights
  • Chapter 3: How Rights-Protective Societies Develop
  • Chapter 4: Civil and Political Rights
  • Chapter 5: Culture and Community
  • Chapter 6: Economic and Social Human Rights
  • Chapter 7: Collective Human Rights
  • Chapter 8: Western (Ir)responsibility for Human Rights in the Global South
About the Author

Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University, where from 2003 to 2016 she held the Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

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“Bold yet carefully reasoned, this book reflects Rhoda Howard-Hassmann’s deep commitment to human rights as a bulwark of protection and emancipation. Deeply important and timely.”
Shareen Hertel, University of Connecticut

“In this eminently readable and engaging book, Rhoda Howard-Hassmann provides a serious consideration of the universality of human rights. It will make a very useful contribution to university classes as each chapter can be used to drill down into the particular topic it discusses, while the entire book can be read as a single argument.”
Ari Kohen, University of Nebraska

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