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International Human Rights, Social Policy & GlobalCritical Perspectives$
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Gerard McCann and Féilim Ó hAdhmaill

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781447349211

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447349211.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

The historical development of the concept of rights

The historical development of the concept of rights

(p.15) 1 The historical development of the concept of rights
International Human Rights, Social Policy & Global

Peter Herrmann

Féilim Ó hAdhmaill

Policy Press

Chapter 1 provides a critical perspective on the historical development of concepts of human rights. It interrogates the concept of universal human rights, the processes that led to their development and the factors which influence both the development and implementation of international human rights mechanisms. It recognises the contribution of philosophical ideas about humanity, equality, democracy, social justice, etc., as well as the impact of human ‘agency’. It argues that such developments do not take place in a vacuum. Social, economic, ideological, cultural, geo-political considerations and the power to do something about them, all ensure that universal human rights are a contested site both at macro-level in their conceptualisation and the development international human rights oversight mechanisms, but also at micro-level when it comes to the enforceability and realisability of rights on the ground.

Keywords:   international human rights, universal human rights, historical development

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