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6 Can Human Rights Be Pursued by Making War?

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Chapter Summary

In post-war history two watersheds stand out in contemporary political events. The first was the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, codified in 1948 under the influence of its presiding genius Eleanor Roosevelt. The second, perhaps more controversial, was the determination of a US president – Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s – to make the issue one of the central points of his presidency. The universality of human rights was reaffirmed. The final declaration states that “The universal nature of these rights is beyond question. All human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated.” Thus, the entire spectrum of human rights was endorsed without division, an amazing, if under-reported, step forward for mankind. One cannot pursue human rights by the application of force and the sooner that lesson is drawn the faster will the cause of human rights and democracy progress.

Keywords: Eleanor Roosevelt; Jimmy Carter; Universal Declaration of Human Rights



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