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Human Rights Worldwide

This work offers an insightful guide to the global struggle for human rights, the problems and shortcomings of the international human rights regime, and the resources essential to human rights studies. Religious tolerance, torture, environmental rights, discrimination, and genocide. These issues are central to the contemporary debate on human rights. Should nations be free to treat their citizens exactly as they please? Or should the international community enforce minimum standards in human rights? Does the West have the right to police how other countries behave? Do other nations have the right to vet policies adopted by the U.S. government? From royal decrees in the ancient kingdoms of Persia and Babylon to the latest controversies over reform of the United Nations, establishing human rights has been a recurrent, if sometimes elusive, objective in world affairs. Internationally and domestically, controversies over human rights continue to fuel endless debate in politics, legal discourse, and the media. Human rights concerns have helped to put Balkan war criminals behind bars, but also have seen convicted felons in the United States and the United Kingdom claim a legal right to access pornography in jail. Can governments ever eliminate human rights abuses? Or are human rights doomed to remain nothing more than what the philosopher Jeremy Bentham dismissed as "nonsense on stilts"?
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Torture, genocide, discrimination, social security, and sustainable development. These are some of the issues central to human rights debates. What are the boundaries of state sovereignty? When and how can the international community interfere to protect the citizens of a state? What has been the human rights impact of the U.S.? Is the U.S. government above the international law?

About the Author

Zehra F. Kabasakal Arat is professor of political science and women's studies at Purchase College, State University of New York, Purchase, NY.

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