Reframing Human Rights in a Turbulent Era - Gráinne de Búrca
Thu 7 October 2021
The Edinburgh Centre for International and Global Law presents
Reframing Human Rights in a Turbulent Era
Gráinne de Búrca,Florence Ellinwood Allen Professor of Law, New York University
- Professor Neil Walker,Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations, Edinburgh Law School
- Dr Kasey McCall-Smith, Senior Lecturer in Public International Law, Edinburgh Law School
- Dr Dimitri Van Den Meerssche, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Edinburgh Law School
About the book
In recent years, human rights have come under fire, with the rise of political illiberalism and the coming to power of populist authoritarian leaders in many parts of the world who contest and dismiss the idea of human rights. More surprisingly, scholars and public intellectuals, from both the progressive and the conservative side of the political spectrum, have also been deeply critical, dismissing human rights as flawed, inadequate, hegemonic, or overreaching.
While acknowledging some of the shortcomings, this book presents an experimentalist account of international human rights law and practice and argues that the human rights movement remains a powerful and appealing one with widespread traction in many parts of the globe. Using three case studies to illuminate the importance and vibrancy of the movement around the world, the book argues that its potency and legitimacy rest on three main pillars: First, it is based on a deeply-rooted and widely appealing moral discourse that integrates the three universal values of human dignity, human welfare, and human freedom. Second, these values and their elaboration in international legal instruments have gained widespread - even if thin - agreement among states worldwide. Third, human rights law and practice is highly dynamic, with human rights being activated, shaped, and given meaning and impact through the on-going mobilization of affected individuals and groups, and through their iterative engagement with multiple domestic and international institutions and processes.
The book offers an account of how the human rights movement has helped to promote human rights and positive social change, and argues that the challenges of the current era provide good reasons to reform, innovate, and strengthen that movement, rather than to abandon it or to herald its demise.
About the speaker
Gráinne de Búrca is Florence Ellinwood Allen Professor of Law at NYU. Previously, she held tenured posts at Harvard Law School, Fordham Law School, the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, and Oxford University. Her fields of research are European Union law and international human rights law. She is co-editor of the Oxford University Press series Oxford Studies in European Law, and co-author of the leading OUP textbook EU Law. She is co-editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Constitutional Law (ICON) and serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of International Law, Global Constitutionalism and Legal Studies. She was a President of the International Society of Public Law ICON-S from 2015-2018, and is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.
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