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What Will States Really Do For Us? The Human Rights Enterprise and Pressure From Below

Author(s):
William Armaline and Davita Silfen Glasberg

Publishing information:
October 1st, 2009 | Societies Without Borders, Volume 4, Number 3, 2009 , pp. 430-451(22)

International human rights standards and treaties have been plagued with disputes over the relevance and power of international law with regard to state sovereignty. These disputes commonly result in states’ failure to realize the rights and standards outlined by such human rights instruments. What if states cannot or will not provide fundamental dignities to their people? Moreover, how does global restructuring affect states’ ability to implement human rights? We explore these questions through what we call the “human rights enterprise,” which includes conflicts between rulers and the ruled over the realization of human rights practice. As such, human rights are often developed through the struggles of grassroots organizations and non-elites from below, not simply from the compassionate actions of states to respect their international agreements.

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