Books Reviews

The Idea of Human Rights by Charles R. Beitz

Charles Beitz in his book, The Idea of Human Rights has played an important role in the world politics since the end of World War II in 1945. He seeks to explain the concept of human rights by establishing a firm foundation that extends the protection of human rights to people even beyond their geographical locations.

The author derives his a majority of his analyses from various observations of day – to – day life. He argues that human rights have become an international practice which is continually being invested upon financially and materially. It has also received international attention. Despite this importance accorded to the basic human rights, sometimes it can attract negative criticism. This may take various forms and results in difficult scenarios such as defining the scope and justifying the costs of intervention in order to enforce them. Beitz seeks to explain the moral justifications for international human rights.

Beitz in his book perceives human rights as an expression of a philosophical idea similar to natural rights. In chapter two, he introduces a description of the human rights practice as a normative practice in the world that seeks to protect the people from infringement of their rights by their governments. This acquaints readers who are not familiar with the subject matter. He also discusses the nature of human rights while elaborating on the practical theories and public practice of human rights. The book also comments on controversial issues such as a state intervention and sovereignty in cases of violation of human rights. The Idea of Human Rights is an invaluable asset in the study of human rights by political theorists, students and scholars of international relations.

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