The Role of Human Rights in Foreign Policy by Peter R. Baehr

By Peter R. Baehr

Governments use human rights either as a device and as an aim of international coverage. The position of Human Rights in overseas coverage analyses conflicting coverage targets akin to peace and safety, financial relatives and improvement co-operation. using diplomatic, financial and army capacity is mentioned, including the position of nation actors, intergovernmental organisations and non-state actors.

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Whether a collective demand should be accepted as a right, depends on the question whether it adds anything to the guarantees offered by already existing human rights to a dignified human existence and the quality of society as a whole. 30 Who are the bearers of collective rights? The obvious answer would be: groups, collectivities. Should the state also be considered as a bearer of collective rights? This is an interesting question, as traditionally human rights are seen as instruments to protect the rights of individuals versus state power.

For example, aspects of the right to housing are in many national legal systems open to judicial review. 40 Generally speaking, courts are reluctant to review economic, Contemporary Issues 33 social and cultural rights, in view of the alleged vagueness of relevant standards. However, this should be seen as an important argument to arrive at a formal complaints procedure, as judicial review would offer an opportunity to derive concrete obligations from vague standards. At the request of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Australian human rights expert Philip Alston prepared in 1992 a study on the subject.

The answer is simple and can be found by referring to the national context. National criminal and penal laws are as often violated as international human rights standards. However, that is no reason to abolish such national laws. Similarly, in international society there is no reason to abolish international human rights standards. Crimes such as murder, theft and rape are in most national societies prohibited. Nevertheless, they do occur all the time. Should the penal laws prohibiting them therefore be abolished?

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