Human Rights and Foreign Policy: Theoretical Foundations

  • Dilys M. Hill
Part of the Southampton Studies in International Policy book series (SSIP)


The Workshop on human rights and foreign policy brought together scholars, lawyers and human-rights activists from Britain and Europe, the USA and Asia, in a series of presentations and ‘round table’ discussions which ranged over historical, philosophical and topical issues. The participants were particularly concerned to examine the moral underpinnings of human rights in the contemporary world and to evaluate how, if at all, these affected the relations between states. A second set of issues surrounded the question of relations between the super-powers, and the way in which both detente, and the situation inside the Soviet Union itself, had been affected by the Helsinki Final Act of 1975. The setting of norms and standards — both internationally in the case of Article I of the United Nations Human Rights Covenant, and regionally in the potential example of the European Commission on Human Rights — gave rise to a discussion on how the attitudes of nations changed over time. Debate then moved to questions of Third World perceptions. For some scholars, human rights are Eurocentric by definition and, moreover, concerned primarily — even in such matters as economic aid — with foreign policy as opposed to humanitarian concerns. Finally, the Workshop was able to take advantage of a unique forgathering of experts on refugee questions to examine in depth the impact of the topical issues of displacement and refugee flows upon the foreign policies of European states.


Foreign Policy Corporal Punishment European Convention Human Rights Humanitarian Concern 
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  1. 1.
    This theme was set by guest speaker Professor Joseph Frankel in his opening address, ‘Human Rights and Foreign Policy’.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Moorhead Wright, ‘How Problematical are the Moral Foundations of Human Rights?’.Google Scholar
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  6. 6.
    R. J. Vincent, ‘Human Rights in Foreign Policy’.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Sally Morphet, ‘Article 1 of the Human Rights Covenants: Its Development and Current Significance’.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    The Panel Discussion on ‘Britain and the European Community’ was led by Professor Sir James Fawcett QC, Mr Nicholas Bratza QC, Mr Geoffrey Marshall and Dr Ralph Beddard.Google Scholar

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© Dilys M. Hill 1989

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  • Dilys M. Hill

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