James Bryce Professor of European Legal History, Columbia University
Cross-posted from Humanitarianism and Human Rights
Much ink has now been spilled on the historical origins of human rights. That debate will continue no doubt. I have surveyed the wreckage in a recent review essay (in English here, but for some similar thoughts auf Deutsch see here) but there is no doubt that problems large and small remain to resolve.
One of the biggest is how to formulate the historical relationship between humanitarianism and human rights. In my view, the best thing to say is that the former is old and the latter (conceptualized as the quest for an international regime pursued by transnational movements) is new, though humanitarianism certainly did create many norms originally framed outside an individualist or rights-based paradigm that contemporary movements have now put in one. Continue reading “Human Rights and ‘Neoliberalism’”