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Book review: Human Rights and Democracy: The Precarious Triumph of Ideals by Todd Landman

Human Rights and Democracy: The Precarious Triumph of Ideals by Todd Landman assesses how human rights have developed and progressed since the twentieth century especially in oppressive regimes. Todd Landman puts forth the various complexities inhibiting the human rights agenda for all his readers. He analyses human rights and democracy by examining binary concepts that are related to the subject matter. He also looks into their explanations, evidence and pitfalls such that each chapter allows a critical intellectual debate that is easily understood.

The author in chapter three defines human rights and democracy. He demystifies the concept of democracy by breaking them down to the core and human rights to the various types. Landman explores the interrelationship between the two and discourages the notion that democracy is indispensable in protection of human rights. He argues that even though democracy may facilitate protection of civil and political human rights it may not be the only vehicle that helps in protection of socio-economic rights. He illustrates this by using Cuba which is a single-party state and yet it provides a socialised system of healthcare.

Landman also discusses the various threats to long- term goals of human rights and democracy. He deduces from this that different threats affect different types of human rights. He delves majorly on threats arising from conflicts, economic globalisation and terrorism. He discusses the impact of environmental degradation on human rights briefly.

Landman simplifies the various themes on human rights for his readers. He employs the use of graphs and figures to support his arguments. This book proves to be an important resource for all who may not be familiar with the underlying theories of human rights or democracy as well as those with a firm political or legal foundation.

Human Rights and Democracy: The Precarious Triumph of Ideals by Todd Landman

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