Special Issue "The Philosophy of Human Rights Obligations and Omissions"

A special issue of Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 October 2021) | Viewed by 2774

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Cathrine Felix
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
1. Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway
2. Department of Philosophy, Lund University, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
Interests: human rights and philosophy
Dr. Olof Beckman
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Division of Human Rights, Department of History, Lund University, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
Interests: human rights obligations; legal system theory; law of responsibility

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The main topic of this Special Issue is human rights omissions. States as the primary human rights duty bearers are found wanting more often than not, failing to respect, protect and fulfill human rights according to the commitments made. Such omissions are hinged on the existence of obligations; thus, the two should be discussed in relation to each other. We welcome papers from a wide variety of philosophical and multi-disciplinary perspectives (philosophy, law, political science, economy, theology, etc.) that address these topics and the relationships between them.

Despite the many formal political achievements in the form of declarations, bills and treaties, actual human rights implementation remains illusionary to the majority of humans. The reasons are manyfold and include (1) deliberately vague terminology in legal documents, (2) a lack of national codification, (3) weak and failing states, (4) the inherently voluntary nature of commitments made by sovereign states and (5) the unclear responsibility of dominant and obtrusive actors such as large multinational corporations.

Problems such as these are known to states and grassroots activist alike, yet the common conclusion seems to be to proceed with caution. A possible explanation for this could be that the feasibility of new reforms is unclear to all, while the risks in terms of a possible loss of gains made in such a would-be renegotiation is equally clear. A careful maintenance of the status quo focusing on ceremonial implementation was hardly the aim of any actor but has still become a reasonable description of the current situation.

To promote progress in the field of human rights, academically as well as in society, it is crucial that the human rights discourse focuses more on known yet highly volatile issues such as these. The aim of this Special Issue is to contribute to a substantive discussion on human rights obligations and omissions by, among other things, formulating a concrete and functional critique of the understandings, assumptions and mechanisms for human rights protection and implementation.

Dr. Cathrine Felix
Dr. Olof Beckman
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Human rights claims
  • Structural violations
  • Philosophy of obligations and omissions
  • Non-state actors
  • State sovereignty
  • Just satisfaction

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
International Human Rights Protections Find Support in Hobbes’ Leviathan
Philosophies 2022, 7(3), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7030047 - 20 Apr 2022
Viewed by 901
Abstract
In her paper “Sovereignty and the International Protection of Human rights”, Cristina Lafont argues that “The obligation of respecting human rights in the sense of not contributing to their violation seems to be a universal obligation and thus one that binds states just [...] Read more.
In her paper “Sovereignty and the International Protection of Human rights”, Cristina Lafont argues that “The obligation of respecting human rights in the sense of not contributing to their violation seems to be a universal obligation and thus one that binds states just as much as non-state actors.” In this paper, I argue that one can find support for this claim in Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan. This requires a different reading of Leviathan than the one that is typically performed by realist thinkers, such as, for instance, Morgenthau and Mearsheimer, who read Hobbes as someone who has no regard for human rights. Contrary to the realists, I suggest a reading of Leviathan that shows that there is in fact a normative underpinning of Hobbes’ view of sovereignty, to the extent that Hobbes can be taken to be one of the forerunners of international law. I do this by showing how Hobbes’ reasons for establishing sovereign power, and not his conclusions on how to organize sovereign power, may give support to Lafont’s claim that an obligation to respect human rights is not confined to the sovereign state, but also to extra-state institutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Philosophy of Human Rights Obligations and Omissions)
Article
Human Rights and Democracy—Obligations and Delusions
Philosophies 2022, 7(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7010014 - 28 Jan 2022
Viewed by 1007
Abstract
Based on today’s compromises with human rights and the numerous violations of them, which for several countries seems to be the rule rather than an exception, this article discusses the cause of the delusions that in today’s politics are attached to human rights. [...] Read more.
Based on today’s compromises with human rights and the numerous violations of them, which for several countries seems to be the rule rather than an exception, this article discusses the cause of the delusions that in today’s politics are attached to human rights. An analysis is made of the nature of human rights understood as something common and universal for all people. On this basis, a division of human rights is proposed, which at the same time means limiting them to perfect, imperfect and adventitious rights. Central to the discussion is the question of how the normative element of human rights should be understood. This article distinguishes between two approaches to the question, where one is identified as a source of current misconceptions about human rights, while the other is highlighted as a possible answer to key challenges facing democracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Philosophy of Human Rights Obligations and Omissions)
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