Chapter 24: Hybrid human rights
International human rights law represents a broad range of ideologies, norms and cultures. States are the main drivers of the creation and development of human rights. Countries, regional groups and political blocs use the international arena to promote their own norms and values when creating new human rights law. At the international level, human rights develop through ‘soft law’ before becoming codified in treaties or enshrined through customary international law. States actively consent to being bound by obligations contained within treaties or tacitly consent to being bound by customary international law. Soft law is not legally binding but is a crucial part of the process of creating and developing human rights. United Nations (UN) resolutions, decisions and declarations, amongst others, are key sources of soft law. Countries use discussions and votes within UN bodies to promote or resist the development of a particular human right. Global politics, then, plays a significant role in the ideologies, norms and values that are represented through the creation and development of human rights. The international human rights law system is not static; rights are constantly evolving. At the beginning of the modern era of human rights, ideological battles centred upon the tensions and divisions between civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights. Those categories were promoted, respectively, by the West and the Soviet bloc during the Cold War. The next significant evolution occurred with the advent of ‘collective’ or ‘peoples’ rights, also known as Third Generation Rights.
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