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4. The Uneasy Balance between Individual Rights and the Necessity of Communities

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Chapter Summary

The core of this chapter is an analysis of the relationship between the individual and the community in a human rights set up. According to the analysis, human rights are attached to the individual, implying that the phrases group rights and natural rights are misnomers. However, rights are social and presuppose groups or communities. Consequently, there is a built-in tension between the individual, worthy of human rights protection, and the group, which is protector as well as violator of human rights. Often, human rights are seen in opposition to or together with the state, but as the Universal Declaration states, there are many human-rights-relevant communities, such as the family, society, association and international order. The chapter also analyses relevance and even necessity of the many types of community for human rights, and the points raised are used to analyse aspects of the present security agenda.

Keywords: human rights; international order; Universal Declaration



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