Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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p. vii

Many colleagues in the three organizations with which I have been professionally associated for nearly half a century—the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, and the Open Society Foundations—shaped my thinking and contributed to my knowledge of the human rights...

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1. The Movement

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pp. 1-25

On the morning of July 15, 2009, Natalya Estemirova, a 50-year-old researcher for the Russian human rights organization Memorial and former history teacher who had systematically reported on torture, disappearances, and murders in her native Chechnya for nearly two...

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2. Putting Natural Law Principles into Practice

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pp. 26-56

It is possible to cite ancient roots for the principles of human rights. Hammurabi’s Code, the Bible, Plato, and Aristotle must be considered among the sources for our concept of justice. Roman thinkers such as Cicero and Seneca helped to develop our commitment to freedom...

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3. What Are Rights?

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pp. 57-92

Among those engaged in the promotion of human rights, there is general agreement that rights are an aspect of humanity. They are not dependent on such characteristics as race, nationality, or gender, nor do they depend on a person’s presence within the territory of a particular...

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4. International Human Rights Law

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pp. 93-116

There are two sources of international law: custom and treaties. Customary international law is the term used to describe rules that are so widely accepted and so deeply held that they help to define what it means to belong to a civilized society. The question of whether customary...

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5. International Humanitarian Law

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pp. 117-137

Since ancient times, some who take part in armed combat have recognized that placing certain limits on the way in which they conduct hostilities can be advantageous. It can be a sign of civilized behavior, enhancing their own prestige; it may be a way to encourage their opponents...

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6. Defying Communism

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pp. 138-160

The rise of the international human rights movement as a significant force in world affairs cannot be separated from the Cold War context in which it took place. The Cold War magnified the importance of citizen efforts to promote rights and, though many of those involved...

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7. Rights on the Other Side of the Cold War Divide

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pp. 161-185

Many Americans took part in struggles for rights during the period from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s. In the last half of the 1950s, and the first half of the 1960s, efforts to promote racial equality in the South took center stage, starting with the Montgomery bus boycott...

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8. Amnesty International

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pp. 186-203

Amnesty International, the best known and by far the largest human rights organization in the world—in membership, in global income, and in the number of its national sections—was established in London in 1961. Its creation was a major milestone in the emergence of...

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9. Human Rights Watch

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pp. 204-232

Though Human Rights Watch has become one of the two most important institutions for the protection of human rights worldwide, its beginnings in the late 1970s did not seem to foreshadow its subsequent development. The organization is an outgrowth of the efforts of a...

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10. The Worldwide Movement

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pp. 233-257

Though Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are the largest, best known, and most influential human rights groups operating worldwide, literally thousands of other organizations are also active in the field. Many of them make distinctive contributions by focusing on...

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11. Accountability

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pp. 258-284

For about a quarter of a century, a major goal of the international human rights movement has been to secure accountability for especially grave abuses. This focus has led to the so-called “truth commissions” in many countries, principally in Latin America and Sub-Saharan...

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12. Rights after 9/11

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pp. 285-317

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, some of those active in efforts to promote human rights feared that the era in which their cause held a prominent place on the world stage could be over. That era began about a quarter of a century...

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13. Going Forward

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pp. 318-334

It is too soon at this writing to know how the Arab revolutions of 2011 will turn out. Will one or more of the Arab states become liberal democracies? Will they become military dictatorships? Is it possible that Islamists will take power? Or will the new regimes that...

Notes

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pp. 335-358

Index

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pp. 359-381