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Inhuman and Degrading Treatment: the words themselves


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Speaker(s): Professor Jeremy Waldron
Chair: Professor Hugh Collins

Recorded on 16 October 2008 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

Many human rights charters contain prohibitions on inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners and detainees. Terms like "inhuman" and "degrading" are difficult to interpret, but they are certainly not meaningless. It is important to attend to attend to the meanings of the words themselves, as well as to the decisions that courts have made about particular practices. Reflection on the meanings of these highly-charged terms reveals important complexity, which we can unpack in a way that enables us to better focus our debate about the proper treatment of prisoners and detainees. Jeremy Waldron is University Professor at New York University School of Law and teaches legal and political philosophy.

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