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Perspectives from Philosophers, Historians, and Lawyers of various traditions.

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1 Perspectives from Philosophers, Historians, and Lawyers of various traditions

2  Universal/ relativist debate  Individual versus collective emphasis  The critique of the nation-state as the framework within which human rights are implemented.  The critique of the language of law in defining the “human”; the rejection of the juridical framework of human rights.

3  Universality of human rights is the “product of a process,” not a given (cultures must negotiate this process within themselves and not as a response to external pressures)  Human rights cannot be imagined as an abstract ideal “without reference to the concrete daily experience of the people who are supposed to implement them.”  “The more we appreciate our shared, universal, human vulnerability, in all its different and varied forms and manifestations, the more we can respond to the challenge of terrorism and all other forms of political violence whoever the perpetrator happens to be, as well as to poverty, disease and other evils in general.”

4  “rights in the sense of subjective entitlements are conceptually incompatible with classical Buddhist ethics, and their introduction would require a fundamental conceptual transformation....  Buddhism conceptualizes “duties and obligations as the role responsibilities of persons in a cooperative scheme” and not “as constraints on individuals” (Craig Ihara)  Asian voices express “concern that a liberal individualistic ethos in conjunction with a legalistic, aggressive, and consumerist attitude does not meet traditional values of Asian societies, i.e. social harmony, respect for family and authorities and, in particular, emphasis on duty and responsibility rather than on rights that can be claimed” (Perry Schmidt- Leukel)

5  THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE NATION-STATE  States have the right to include and expel and to define membership.  “We became aware of the existence of a right to have rights…and a right to belong to some kind of organized community, only when millions of people emerged who had lost and could not regain these rights…”  “The Rights of Man [are] defined as ‘inalienable’ because they were supposed to be independent of all governments; but it turned out that the moment human beings lacked their own government and had to fall back upon their minimum rights, no authority was left to protect them and no institution was willing to guarantee them.” [ [

6  The refugee should be considered for what it is, namely, nothing less than a limit-concept that at once brings a radical crisis to the principles of the nation-state and clears the way for a renewal of categories that can no longer be delayed.  That there is no autonomous space in the political order of the nation-state for something like the pure human in itself is evident at the very least from the fact that, even in the best of cases, the status of refugee has always been considered a temporary condition that ought to lead either to naturalization or to repatriation. A stable statute for the human in itself is inconceivable in the law of the nation-state

7  we could conceive of Europe not as an impossible ‘Europe of the nations’,... but rather as an aterritorial or extraterritorial space in which all the (citizen and noncitizen) residents of the European states would be in a position of exodus or refuge; the status of European would then mean the being-in-exodus of the citizen.  Only in a world in which the spaces of states have been... perforated and topologically deformed and in which the citizen has been able to recognize the refugee that he or she is – only in such a world is the political survival of humankind today thinkable.

8  “beneath [the] depoliticized, let's-just- protect-human-rights rhetoric, there is an extremely violent gesture of reducing the other to the helpless victim.”  “the paradox of victimization: The other to be protected is good insofar as it remains a victim”

9  Criticizes the legalistic framework of human rights and the juridical concept of humanity.  The problem with linking humanity with “the logic of legal status” is that one’s humanity becomes fragile.  A juridical concept of humanity rests on the assumption that “humanity can be taken away.”  “What is needed is the forging of concrete alliances with human beings who await not our [legal] recognition but our participation in their struggles.”

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