New Horizons in Public Policy series
Edited by Fergus Carr and Andrew Massey
Chapter 11: Human Rights and Civil Rights
Theresa Callan INTRODUCTION This chapter discusses the challenges facing the protection and promotion of human rights in the contemporary international system. It starts with an outline of the human rights regimes at the systemic and the European level, noting the UN provisions and procedures and those within the European space. It looks at the centrality of a commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms to the political criteria for EU enlargement, yet notes the difﬁculty of ensuring this commitment once accession is granted. The chapter then investigates the impact of the prevailing international system on the provision and protection of rights and freedoms. It looks speciﬁcally at the effects of ﬁghting the ‘war on terror’ in terms of the cost to rights both at home and abroad. Ultimately, the chapter argues that the upholding of human rights and fundamental freedoms – either at a regional or a systemic level – depends on the political will of sovereign states to honour their commitments to international law. It reﬂects that the reassertion of realpolitik in international affairs bodes ill for the security of one and all. SYSTEMIC AND REGIONAL HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS REGIMES Contemporary human rights regimes have their roots within the horrors of the Nazi period. In the wake of the Second World War, the UN was established to assist in the prevention of systemic war and to tackle the systematic and mass violations of human rights and the rights of the state, notably to defend territorial sovereignty. From...
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