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The Evolution Of Human Rights In International Law

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Chapter Summary

An assessment of the evolution of human rights in international law may indeed be seen as no more than an historicist account of the subject's growth and change over time, taking account of its point of entry into the international law family and its evolving normative structure. This chapter proposes an alternative starting point for international human rights in early international law. It explains a gradual evolution in terms of an incremental transfer of power and autonomy in human rights matters from municipal law to international law, initially for the convenience of States, but later evolved into 'objective' standards. The chapter argues that the evolution of both human rights and international law are affected by similar opportunistic factors in time and unpredictable circumstances. Progress is largely reactive instead of proactive, with a predictable consequence of a lack of coherence and co-ordination that remains evident today.

Keywords: human rights; international law; municipal law



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