Making Human Rights a Reality
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Making Human Rights a Reality

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In the last six decades, one of the most striking developments in international law is the emergence of a massive body of legal norms and procedures aimed at protecting human rights. In many countries, though, there is little relationship between international law and the actual protection of human rights on the ground. Making Human Rights a Reality takes a fresh look at why it's been so hard for international law to have much impact in parts of the world where human rights are most at risk. Emilie Hafner-Burton argues that more progress is possible if human rights promoters work strategically with the group of states that have dedicated resources to human rights protection. These human rights "stewards" can focus their resources on places where the tangible benefits to human rights are greatest. Success will require setting priorities as well as engaging local stakeholders such as nongovernmental organizations and national human rights institutions. To date, promoters of international human rights law have relied too heavily on setting universal goals and procedures and not enough on assessing what actually works and setting priorities.
Hafner-Burton illustrates how, with a different strategy, human rights stewards can make international law more effective and also safeguard human rights for more of the world population.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 296 pages
  • 152 x 235 x 22.86mm | 312g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 2 tables.
  • 0691155364
  • 9780691155364
  • 190,825

Back cover copy

"Making Human Rights a Reality is an important book for lawyers, political scientists, activists, and practitioners within the international human rights system. It manages to be unsentimental and committed at the same time, casting a cold eye on the present state of international human rights enforcement while offering a promising and innovative strategy for the future. In the best tradition of international law-international relations scholarship, Hafner-Burton understands and deploys both law and power."--Anne-Marie Slaughter, Princeton University

"Hafner-Burton has developed an ambitious, thought-provoking, and sometimes controversial proposal for reforming the international monitoring mechanisms that protect the rights of individuals and groups. This book is an important contribution to the burgeoning interdisciplinary literature on international human rights law and institutions."--Laurence R. Helfer, Duke University

"Making Human Rights a Reality cogently sums up the case that the standard, dominant approach to human rights promotion is ineffective. More than any other single book, this one lays out the problems and proposes a clear, alternative, and incentive-driven strategy based on targeting carrots and sticks where they will have the greatest impact. Even those who might disagree with Hafner-Burton will profit from her diagnosis and strategic prescriptions."--Jack L. Snyder, Columbia University
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Table of contents

Preface ix Research xiii Introduction xv 1 The Problem of Human Rights 1 Part I The Calculus of Abuse 19 2 Contexts 21 3 Rationales 29 Part II International Law 41 4 The International Human Rights Legal System 44 5 Scholarly Perspectives 67 6 Practitioner Perspectives 86 7 System Reform 116 Part III A Stewardship Strategy 135 8 The Status Quo 138 9 Nongovernmental Organizations 151 10 National Human Rights Institutions 164 11 Triage 176 12 Making More of Law and Power 193 Notes 199 Index 267
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Review quote

A Winner of the 2015 ISA Annual Best Book Award, International Studies Association "Over the last 60 years, the international community has constructed a global human rights system, embodied in an expanding array of principles, declarations, treaties, courts, and transnationally organized lawyers and activists. Yet, as Hafner-Burton makes clear in this important book, the system's aspirations have far outstripped its ability to enforce international law and protect norms."--Foreign Affairs "The book exemplifies exactly what I am training my doctoral students to do in their writing projects: instead of creating a research design of their own, to review existing scholarship to arrive at an empirically-informed argument relevant to policy-makers that challenges existing wisdom or weighs in constructively in a debate... Hafner-Burton's call for human rights scholarship to be useful to steward states and for steward states to pay attention, resonates loud and clear."--Charli Carpenter, Duck of Minerva "Hafner-Burton effectively bridges the worlds of scholarship and practice in developing a compelling, informed, and accessible argument regarding how to promote global human rights more effectively. This fantastic book makes meaningful contributions to the academic study of human rights and also offers a compelling vision of a practical strategy for advancing human rights that should be of interest to policymakers and practitioners. Ultimately, Hafner-Burton offers a clear-headed and compelling argument in this highly readable book that should be of interest to anyone committed to making human rights a reality."--Debra L. DeLaet, International Dialogue
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About Emilie M. Hafner-Burton

Emilie M. Hafner-Burton is a professor in the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation. She is the author of Forced to Be Good and recipient of the Karl Deutsch Award.
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Rating details

13 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 31% (4)
4 31% (4)
3 31% (4)
2 8% (1)
1 0% (0)
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