Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition)

ISBN : 9780198706168

Andrew Clapham
216 ページ
115 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions




What are our human rights? What are their philosophical justifications and historical origins? Focusing on highly topical issues such as ...

New to this Edition:

  • Brings the Bush Administration's approach to the war on terror up to date by referencing Obama's reversal of some policies
  • Accounts for new issues of restrictions on speech and press freedom in the wake of the emerging concerns for privacy and cyberbullying
  • Acknowledges issues related to climate change and the debate over 'climate justice' and 'climate refugees' that have generated a new dimension to the human rights debate
  • Provides a more intense discussion of hate speech, islamophobia, and what is referred to as 'defamation of religion' in light of the situations in Libya and Syria

Today it is usually not long before a problem gets expressed as a human rights issue. Indeed, human rights law continues to gain increasing attention internationally, and must move quickly in order to keep up with a social world that changes so rapidly.

This Very Short Introduction, in its second edition, brings the issue of human rights up to date, considering the current controversies surrounding the movement. Discussing torture and arbitrary detention in the context of counter terrorism, Andrew Clapham also considers new challenges to human rights in the context of privacy, equality and the right to health. Looking at the philosophical justification for rights, the historical origins of human rights and how they are formed in law, Clapham explains what our human rights actually are, what they might be, and where the human rights movement is heading. 


1: Looking at rights
2: Historical development and contemporary concerns
3: Human rights foreign policy and the role of the United Nations
4: Torture
5: Deprivations of life and liberty
6: Balancing rights - free speech and privacy
7: Food, education, health, housing, and work
8: Discrimination and equality
9: The death penalty
Final remarks
Further reading
Annex: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Andrew Clapham, Professor of Public International Law at the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva
Andrew Clapham is Professor of Public International Law at the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva. Before he joined the Graduate Institute of International Studies Institute in 1997, he was the Representative of Amnesty International to the United Nations in New York. He was the Director of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights from 2006 until 2014. His publications include The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary, co-edited with Paola Gaeta and Marco Sassòli, (OUP 2015) and The Oxford Handbook of International Law in Armed Conflict, co-edited with Paola Gaeta (OUP 2014).

"A highly suitable starting point for students of law, moral and ethical philosophy, history and politics. And, of course, activists in civil society movements or those who seek an accessible introduction to human rights and their relevance to current events." - Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

"This short book covers one main area of current interest very well: how the human rights movement has gained increasing attention internationally... "Clapham on Human Rights" can be summed up as one of the best titles we have read yet from OUP." - Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers