What do human rights mean today? How we have arrived here? And where are human rights going? Aaron Emmel answers these questions based on his years of experience as a human rights advisor.
The international human rights system is both the process and the product of an ongoing dialogue between peoples and cultures throughout the world. But what do human rights mean today? How have we arrived here? And where are human rights going?
Human Rights in an Advancing Civilizationexamines these questions and makes four claims:
* that human rights have been applied more broadly over time as our sense of community has expanded
* that communities and societies change, and ideas about identity and rights change with them
* that our understanding of human rights is based on our view of human nature
* and human rights support the exploration and fulfillment of identity by protecting human potential and purpose.
This book serves as a highly readable introduction to the history of the emergence of human rights ideas. Emmel weaves together thinkers of different eras and backgrounds in a seamless and imaginative way and applies their thinking to current dilemmas. The book’s rich sweep also contextualises some Bahá’í thinking and teachings within this historical, philosophical and political introduction to the development of human rights and, as such, offers much food for thought. As he notes at the end 'the dialogue about the meaning of human rights and everything they must protect is far from over and will continue as long as we continue to evaluate who we are and who we want to be’.
Dr Nazila Ghanea, University Lecturer in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Kellogg College
In this brilliant and thoroughly accessible new work, Aaron Emmel surveys the many and varied historical applications of the concept of human rights from the age of nation states and empire building to the emerging global civilization of the present day.
Drawing upon the accumulated wealth of political and philosophical discourse on the subject – and in light of principles of the Bahá’í Faith – Emmel examines the connection between human rights and evolving notions of human reality and purpose, the organization of society, nations in the modern world and how they can and should relate, and how the rights of all peoples can best be safeguarded. Candid about the many setbacks and reverses that have beset humanity in its quest to found a just and peaceful society, Emmel describes a decidedly hopeful trajectory of development that anticipates the ultimate realization of our brightest aspirations for our organized life.
Kenneth E. Bowers, author of God Speaks Again