HUMAN RIGHTS: AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE - ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW IN LESS THAN 200 PAGES
An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers
Professor Andrew Clapham brings together the differing contemporary strands of human rights issues we face today. He does so in a very matter-of-fact way and makes the introduction just for the individual interested reader with his excellent ‘very short’ book format from OUP which is set out in a quick and readable fashion.
He covers such fascinating issues as the controversial incarceration of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, to the brutal ethnic cleansing being practiced in Darfur, to the widespread denial of equal rights to women in many areas of the world, and human rights violations which remain a constant presence in rolling news items and in our everyday lives at home and at work.
Clapham gives an international perspective to the task facing him, and focusing on highly topical issues such as torture, arbitrary detention, privacy, health, and discrimination topics relevant to all. This “Very Short Introduction on Human Rights” does assist readers to understand for themselves the controversies and complexities behind this vitally relevant issue.
The author looks at the philosophical justification for rights, the historical origins of human rights and how they are formed in law. He also explains what our human rights actually are, what they might be, and where the human rights movement is heading at the moment which will benefit a wide range of his readership.
This short book covers one main area of current interest very well: how the human rights movement has gained increasing attention internationally. The author explains the scope of human rights today, and how they are used in both national and international law. The work is completely up-to-date. Human rights remain a most topical and controversial issue for all of us and recent national and world events mean that they have been regularly invoked and analysed. Clapham looks at the past, the present, and the future of human rights, especially relevant in a general election year in the UK. Questions of whether human rights are under threat as they come to be seen by some as obstacles to peace, development and security are also well covered. In the wider community, ties in law, philosophy, and politics, reveal the role played by human rights in the contemporary world and has a special significance for Andrew Clapham as he was, for six years, the Representative of Amnesty International at the United Nations in New York. Today it’s usually not long before a problem gets expressed as a human rights issue! Taking this into account, an appeal to human rights in the face of injustice can be a heartfelt and morally justified demand for some, while for others it remains merely an empty slogan. Such a balance is well presented here in a most succinct manner!
These “Very Short Introductions” books form a series from OUP which present themselves as excellent primers for undergraduates. The series contains hundreds of titles in almost every conceivable subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. OUP has brought together expert authors who combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
We feel they are highly suitable starting points for students of law, moral and ethical philosophy, history and politics. And, of course, activists in civil society movements or those who seek an accessible introduction to human rights and their relevance to current events.
So “Clapham on Human Rights” can be summed up as one of the best titles we have read yet from OUP in this series, but we would say that because we are lawyers!
The book provides a very good overview of human rights development and their significance. I recommend it to anyone who's not well or at all familiar with the concept of human rights as, after reading this book, they will be.