Sociology Index


Human Rights

Human rights are moral principles that describe standards of human behavior and are protected as natural and legal rights in law. Disregard and contempt for human rights has only persisted and increased. The original Charter of the United Nations contained a general statement on human rights. Human rights are protected as natural and legal rights in municipal and international law.

Human rights are commonly understood as inalienable, fundamental rights "to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are applicable everywhere and at every time in the sense of being universal, and they are egalitarian in the sense of being the same for everyone. The doctrine of human rights has been highly influential within international law and global and regional institutions.

Universal Declaration on Human Rights

The need for a more detailed and substantial statement on human rights was seen and a Commission was established to create such a document. This commission wrote the Universal Declaration on Human Rights which was adopted by General Assembly of the United Nation on December 10, 1948. Human rights was proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people by the United Nations General Assembly.

Human Rights Bibliography

Intellectual Property and Human Rights: A Paradox by Willem Grosheide - An excellent overview of the many significant questions of social and legal policy that emerge at interface between intellectual property rights and human rights.

Woodiwiss, A. Globalization, human rights and labour law in Pacific Asia - Cambridge University Press, 1998. This book looks at cultural values and sets these in the context of transnationalism. Pacific Asia is the model, with reference to the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.

Brody, E. Biomedical technology and human rights. Dartmouth, 1993. Health and its relationship to international human rights. Aspects of reproductive technology, gene manipulation, euthanasia assisted suicide and transplantation. Attitudes to human rights in the culture of science and technology.

Liberty (ed) Liberating cyberspace: civil liberties, human rights and the Internet 1999. Pluto Press, 1999. cyberspace cybersociology essays which debate the question of free speech and censorship on the internet. 

Poulter, S. Ethnicity, law and human rights
Clarendon, 1998. Ethnically heterogeneous character of modern nations ensures that minority rights form an increasingly important item on the political agenda.

Kaushal, R. Women and human rights in India. Kaveri Books, 2000. Study which addresses the plight of Indian women, detailing the human rights violations suffered by them despite existing constitutional provisions and guarantees.

Dunne, T. and Wheeler, N.J. Human rights in global politics
CUP, 1999. Seeks to address the dichotomy between the global acceptance of human rights in theory, and the denial of those rights in practice. The issue of human rights in relation to such groups as women, refugees and the media.

Savic, O. The politics of human rights
Verso,1999. Essays written by influential thinkers, which seek to define human rights as a universal concept. A view of human rights from the standpoint of political philosophy.

Johnson, M.G. and Symonides, J. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a history of its creation and implementation
1948-1998, UNESCO, 1998. Looks at the personalities and the work involved in its drafting, and its eventual impact, with special emphasis on the contribution of UNESCO.

Gorman, R.F. and Mihalkanin, E.S. Historical dictionary of human rights and humanitarian organizations
Scarecrow, 1997. A listing of human rights and humanitarian organizations including grassroots activists. Traces the concept of human rights back to its roots.

Robertson, D. A dictionary of human rights
Europa, 1997. A collection of texts of the major human rights documents from Magna Carta, 1215 to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989.

Lawson, E. Encyclopedia of human rights
Taylor & Francis, 1996 2nd ed. Appendices list international instruments concerned with human rights with the status of international human rights conventions.

Gibson, J.S. Dictionary of international human rights law
Scarecrow, 1996. Sources, definitions, landmarks and cross references for 64 rights in international treaties and four "declared" rights’.

Henkin, L. The age of rights
Columbia University Press, 1990. Human rights has won universal acceptance. Looks at human rights theory in the international scene and in the United States.

Friedman, J.R. and Sherman, M.I. (eds) Human rights: an international and comparative law bibliography
Greenwood, 1985. A bibliography providing 4,306 citations from world-wide sources in the fields of human rights, international law and comparative law.

Brownlie, I. Basic documents on human rights. Clarendon Press, 1981. Texts of the fundamental human rights documents created by the United Nations and other international organizations.

Kilkelly, U. The child and the European convention on human rights. Dartmouth, 1999. Detailed thematic examination of the European convention as it relates to children, with examples from case law which are of particular use to legal practitioners.

LeBlanc, L.L. The convention on the rights of the child: UN lawmaking on human rights. University of Nebraska Press, 1995. The UN Convention, describing its origins and background and offering an account of its drafting and ratification.

Degener, T. and Koster-Dreese, Y. (eds) Human rights and disabled persons: essays and relevant human rights instruments. Nijhoff, 1995. Essays addressing the legal framework which supports the human rights of disabled persons, and presenting all the relevant covenants, rules and instruments.

Despouy, L. Human rights and disabled persons. United Nations, 1993. The legal issues respecting disabled people and the particular problems that face them. National and international responses are scrutinised, and ways to improve the situation and to educate.

Howse, R. and Matua, M. Protecting human rights in a global economy: challenges for the World Trade Organization Rights & Democracy, 2000. Evaluation of how trade liberalisation may affect human rights in the context of the burgeoning global economy and the efforts of the WTO to structure it.

Addo, M.K. Human rights standards and the responsibility of transnational corporations - Kluwer, 1999. An investigation of the transnational corporation and its human rights obligations. Case studies provide examples of the potential conflict between commercial activity and human rights. With bibliographical notes.

Meyer, W. H. Human rights and international political economy in Third World Companies: multinational corporations, foreign aid and repression - Praeger, 1998. Foreign investment, and the roles of foreign and multinational corporations. Indexed and with a bibliography.

Weeramantry, C.G. Justice without frontiers: protecting human rights in the age of technology Vol 2. Kluwer, 1998. The increasing tension between scientific power and human rights. Scrutinises the efficacy of codes of professional ethics as safeguards.

Mahoney, K.E. and Mahoney, P. Human rights in the 21st century: a global challenge. Nijhoff, 1993. Human rights topics including mass communications, development and women’s issues. It stresses the "interdependence of legal, social, economic and environmental problems which transcend national and international boundaries."

Weeramantry, C.G. (ed) The impact of technology on human rights: global case-studies. UN University Press, 1993. Essays which look at the impact upon society of recent advances in technology and their implications for human rights in a number of countries.

Defending the earth: abuses of human rights and the environment. Human Rights Watch, 1992. Of abuses of the environment and the rights of those peoples attempting to draw attention to them.

Weeramantry, C.G. (ed) Human rights and scientific and technological development. United Nations University, 1990. Essays commissioned by the United Nations University which look at the potential threats to human rights caused by scientific and technological advance such as, for example, medical experimentation, electronic intrusion into privacy and destruction of the environment.

McLean, S. Old law, new medicine: medical ethics and human rights. Rivers Oram, 1999. Human rights in relation to reproduction and abortion; and also with such issues as infant disablement and treatment of the dying.

Alfredsson, G. and Tomasevski, K. (eds) A thematic guide to documents on health and human rights. Nijhoff, 1998. Human rights health standards, grouped according to subject and covering such issues as public health, HIV/AIDS, protection against health hazards, and access to health care.

Gostin, L.O. and Lazzarini, Z. Human rights and public health in the AIDS pandemic. Oxford University Press, 1997. Looks at the threat posed to affected persons by measures taken in the name of public health, and investigates the vulnerability to infection of groups such as women and children in circumstances where their basic human rights are inadequately protected.

Sieghart, P. AIDS and human rights: a UK perspective. British Medical Association Foundation for AIDS, 1989. Introduction to the issues involved in the conflict of interest between halting the spread of AIDS, and human rights.

International Organizations Flood, P.J. The effectiveness of UN human rights institutions. Praeger, 1998. UN human rights institutions and their activities, their strengths and weaknesses. Explores the ways in which UN mechanisms operate, and conclusions are drawn as to their effectiveness.

Guiraudon, V. International human rights norms and their incorporation: the protection of aliens in Europe - European University Institute, European Forum, 1998 (EUI working paper EUF. no.98/4).

Cholewinski, R. Migrant workers in international human rights law. Clarendon, 1997. How migrant workers have traditionally received less protection from the international community than refugees. Provides a case study which looks at migrant workers and their families in Europe. With bibliography.

de Varennes, F. Language, minorities and human rights. Nijhoff, 1996. Looks at state and international approaches to language and freedom of expression and demonstrates how these can result in human rights infringements.

Opalski, M. and Dutkiewicz, P. (eds) Ethnic minority rights in Central Eastern Europe. Canadian Human Rights Foundation, 1996. Surveying the ethnic minorities in the countries of the region concerned and evaluating their existing rights.

Power, J. Amnesty International: the human rights story. McGraw-Hill, 1981. The creation of Amnesty International and its attempts to counter human rights abuses in a number of countries, including Tanzania and the USSR.

Gustafson, C. and Juviler, P. (eds) Religion and human rights: competing claims?. Sharpe, 1999. Essays which investigate the compatibility of human rights and religious systems in the light of religion's ‘ambiguous’ relationship to the rights of women.

Mayer, A.E. Islam and human rights: tradition and politics. Westview, 1999. Islamic ‘human rights schemes’ and their relationship to women, non-Muslims, and others, emphasising the complexity of religious tradition in the Islamic world.

Price, D.E.Islamic political culture, democracy and human rights. Praeger, 1999. The political culture of a wide cross-section of Muslim states and the effect of Islam upon democracy and human rights. The results tend to contradict traditional assumptions.

de Bary, W.T. Asian values and human rights: a Confucian communitarian perspective. Harvard University Press, 1998. Study of Chinese human rights issues which seeks to reconcile Confucianism with libertarian concepts of the individual.

de Bary, W.T. and Weiming, T. (eds) Confucianism and human rights. Columbia University Press, 1998. Essays focusing on the Chinese philosophical tradition and its relationship to the concept of human rights.

Keown, D.V. et al (ed) Buddhism and human rights. Curzon, 1998. This book questions the appropriateness of the term ‘human rights’ in the context of Buddhism. The authors look at Buddhist tradition and philosophy.

Plantak, Z. The silent church: human rights and Adventist social ethics. Macmillan, 1998. Seventh-day Adventist history, ethics and religious beliefs in an attempt to explain inconsistencies in the church’s attitude to human rights.

Silvennoinen, S. and Suksi, M.(eds) Human rights and religion: the case of the Sudan. Institute for Human Rights, 1997. Human rights abuses in the Sudan, and looks at the potential conflict between certain interpretations of Islam and human rights discourse.

Bloom, I. et al (eds) Religious diversity and human rights. Columbia University Press, 1996. Essays covering the relationship between a variety of religions and the human rights of particular groups. Exploring the philosophical and cultural aspects of the debate.

Witte, J. and van der Vyver, J.D. (eds) Religious human rights in a global perspective. M. Nijhoff, c1996. Human rights from the religious perspective. This encompasses both religious human rights and the attitudes of particular faiths to the human rights issue itself.

Formicola, J.R. The Catholic Church and human rights: its role in the formulation of US policy, 1945-1980. Garland, 1988. The influence of the Catholic church in the United States in the formative post-war years, and of its attitude to international human rights.

Fox, D. and Hasci, N. (eds) The challenges of women’s activism and human rights in Africa. Edwin Mellen, 1999. Examine the cultural background of women's rights, and the recognition of those rights as human rights issues per se.

Afkhami, M. (ed) Faith and freedom: women’s human rights in the Muslim world. Tauris, 1995. Essays which scrutinise aspects of women's human rights experience in a number of Muslim states.

Cook, R.J. Women's health and human rights. World Health Organization, 1994. This is a lawyer's view of women's health rather than that of a medical practitioner. The book takes a close look at international human rights treaties.