Making Human Rights a Reality

Princeton University Press
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In the last six decades, one of the most striking developments in international law is the emergence of a massive body of legal norms and procedures aimed at protecting human rights. In many countries, though, there is little relationship between international law and the actual protection of human rights on the ground. Making Human Rights a Reality takes a fresh look at why it's been so hard for international law to have much impact in parts of the world where human rights are most at risk.

Emilie Hafner-Burton argues that more progress is possible if human rights promoters work strategically with the group of states that have dedicated resources to human rights protection. These human rights "stewards" can focus their resources on places where the tangible benefits to human rights are greatest. Success will require setting priorities as well as engaging local stakeholders such as nongovernmental organizations and national human rights institutions.

To date, promoters of international human rights law have relied too heavily on setting universal goals and procedures and not enough on assessing what actually works and setting priorities. Hafner-Burton illustrates how, with a different strategy, human rights stewards can make international law more effective and also safeguard human rights for more of the world population.

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About the author

Emilie M. Hafner-Burton is a professor in the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation. She is the author of Forced to Be Good and recipient of the Karl Deutsch Award.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Mar 21, 2013
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Pages
296
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ISBN
9781400846283
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / International
Political Science / Human Rights
Political Science / Intergovernmental Organizations
Political Science / International Relations / Diplomacy
Political Science / International Relations / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Emilie M. Hafner-Burton
Preferential trade agreements have become common ways to protect or restrict access to national markets in products and services. The United States has signed trade agreements with almost two dozen countries as close as Mexico and Canada and as distant as Morocco and Australia. The European Union has done the same. In addition to addressing economic issues, these agreements also regulate the protection of human rights. In Forced to Be Good, Emilie M. Hafner-Burton tells the story of the politics of such agreements and of the ways in which governments pursue market integration policies that advance their own political interests, including human rights.

How and why do global norms for social justice become international regulations linked to seemingly unrelated issues, such as trade? Hafner-Burton finds that the process has been unconventional. Efforts by human rights advocates and labor unions to spread human rights ideals, for example, do not explain why American and European governments employ preferential trade agreements to protect human rights. Instead, most of the regulations protecting human rights are codified in global moral principles and laws only because they serve policymakers' interests in accumulating power or resources or solving other problems. Otherwise, demands by moral advocates are tossed aside. And, as Hafner-Burton shows, even the inclusion of human rights protections in trade agreements is no guarantee of real change, because many of the governments that sign on to fair trade regulations oppose such protections and do not intend to force their implementation.

Ultimately, Hafner-Burton finds that, despite the difficulty of enforcing good regulations and the less-than-noble motives for including them, trade agreements that include human rights provisions have made a positive difference in the lives of some of the people they are intended-on paper, at least-to protect.

Nicholas D. Kristof
#1 National Bestseller

From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.

They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS.

Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.

Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.
Emilie M. Hafner-Burton
Preferential trade agreements have become common ways to protect or restrict access to national markets in products and services. The United States has signed trade agreements with almost two dozen countries as close as Mexico and Canada and as distant as Morocco and Australia. The European Union has done the same. In addition to addressing economic issues, these agreements also regulate the protection of human rights. In Forced to Be Good, Emilie M. Hafner-Burton tells the story of the politics of such agreements and of the ways in which governments pursue market integration policies that advance their own political interests, including human rights.

How and why do global norms for social justice become international regulations linked to seemingly unrelated issues, such as trade? Hafner-Burton finds that the process has been unconventional. Efforts by human rights advocates and labor unions to spread human rights ideals, for example, do not explain why American and European governments employ preferential trade agreements to protect human rights. Instead, most of the regulations protecting human rights are codified in global moral principles and laws only because they serve policymakers' interests in accumulating power or resources or solving other problems. Otherwise, demands by moral advocates are tossed aside. And, as Hafner-Burton shows, even the inclusion of human rights protections in trade agreements is no guarantee of real change, because many of the governments that sign on to fair trade regulations oppose such protections and do not intend to force their implementation.

Ultimately, Hafner-Burton finds that, despite the difficulty of enforcing good regulations and the less-than-noble motives for including them, trade agreements that include human rights provisions have made a positive difference in the lives of some of the people they are intended-on paper, at least-to protect.

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