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Can Human Rights Survive?

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Conor Gearty|
Cambridge University Press (18 May 2006)

In this set of three essays, originally presented as the 2005 Hamlyn Lectures, Conor Gearty considers whether human rights can survive the challenges of the war on terror, the revival of political religion, and the steady erosion of the world's natural resources. He also looks deeper than this to consider the fundamental question: How can we tell what human rights are?

In his first essay, Professor Gearty asks how the idea of human rights needs to be made to work in our age of relativism, uncertainty and anxiety. In the second, he assesses how the idea of human rights has coped with its incorporation in legal form in the UK Human Rights Act, arguing that the record is much better and more democratic than many human rights enthusiasts allow. In his final essay, Gearty confronts the challenges that may destroy the language of human rights for the generations that follow us.

The book:

  • explains the subject of human rights to a general academic audience, appealing to all disciplines and not restricting its reach to any specialisation in particular
  • argues for an approach to human rights that fits well with, rather than is undermined by, our contemporary culture of doubt and uncertainty
  • shows how human rights are an essential tool in keeping the nations of the world civilised in the face of huge pressure from proponents of the 'war on terror'.

Seminar - 25 May

Professor Gearty will also be participating in a seminar discussion panel on Thursday 25 May, chaired by Lord Justice Stephen Sedley, in which commentators including Shami Chakrabarti, the Director of Liberty, will respond to the book. The seminar will be held at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies from 4-6pm.

Purchase this book from the publisher|