Human Rights and Globalization Globalization has been a popular subject for decades. Human rights have been no exception and have contributed to the burgeoning literature on globalization. As the title of this review implies, this paper will attempt to emphasize relatively different aspects of the relationship between globalization and human rights. There has been an increasing international acceptance of human rights at the normative level, but the norms have not been applied to improve human rights conditions which cause their meanings and relevance to be contested.
This book focuses on the spread of the human rights norms in different regions of the world and examines the differences in the definition, interpretation and implementation of these norms at domestic and international levels. In the introduction, Michael Doyle and Anne-Marie Gardner remind us Roslyn Higgins’ observation about the special aspect of human rights law: “What makes human rights deeply similar to the broad principles of international ethics, yet ‘strikingly different from the rest of international law’ is that individuals, rather than states and governments, have rights.
This shifts the focus from state sovereignty to individual sovereignty” (9). Doyle and Gardner then scrutinize the meaning of international human rights and their place in international order and international relations. Even though human rights ontologically support individual sovereignty, the current international regime of human rights is still based on an international political structure that assumes and cherishes state sovereignty.
The contributors to the book discuss the issue of consensus on human rights (or the lack of it) with a special attention to the arguments about the relationship between economic and social rights. They delve into the role of global structures, both economic and political, in preventing the development of a global normative consensus and the realization of human rights.
This book as a whole, is concerned about understanding the phenomenon of globalization and its impact on human rights–whether it establishes a threat to human rights or creates opportunities for the advancement of human rights. Since globalization is treated as the key variable, various definitions of globalization are discussed. The disagreement on the meaning of the term, of course, constitutes a problem in reaching an agreement about the impact of globalization as well.