The Journal of Ethics

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 45–69

The International Significance of Human Rights

Authors

  • Thomas Pogge
    • Department of PhilosophyColumbia University
Article

DOI: 10.1023/A:1009852018252

Cite this article as:
Pogge, T. The Journal of Ethics (2000) 4: 45. doi:10.1023/A:1009852018252

Abstract

A comparative examination of four alternative ways of understandingwhat human rights are supports an institutional understanding assuggested by Article 28 of the Universal Declaration: Human rightsare weighty moral claims on any coercively imposed institutionalorder, national or international (as Article 28 confirms). Any suchorder must afford the persons on whom it is imposed secure accessto the objects of their human rights. This understanding of humanrights is broadly sharable across cultures and narrows the philosophical and practical differences between the friends ofcivil and political and the champions of social, economic, andcultural human rights. When applied to the global institutionalorder, it provides a new argument for conceiving human rights asuniversal – and a new basis for criticizing this order as tooencouraging of oppression, corruption, and poverty in the developing countries: We have a negative duty not to cooperatein the imposition of this global order if feasible reforms ofit would significantly improve the realization of human rights.

cosmopolitanism cultural diversity democratic governance foreign lending global institutions human rights international law justice nationalism Universal Declaration universalism

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000