Human Rights Transformed: Positive Rights and Positive Duties

Human Rights Transformed: Positive Rights and Positive Duties

By: Sandra Fredman (author)Paperback

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Human rights have traditionally been understood as protecting individual freedom against intrusion by the State. In this book, Sandra Fredman argues that this understanding requires radical revision. Human rights are based on a far richer view of freedom, which goes beyond being let alone, and instead pays attention to individuals' ability to exercise their rights. This view fundamentally shifts the focus of human rights. As well as restraining the State, human rights require the State to act positively to remove barriers and facilitate the exercise of freedom. This in turn breaks down traditional distinctions between civil and political rights and socio-economic rights. Instead, all rights give rise to a range of duties, both negative and positive. However, because positive duties have for so long been regarded as a question of policy or aspiration, little sustained attention has been given to their role in actualising human rights. Drawing on comparative experience from India, South Africa, the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Union, Canada and the UK, this book aims to create a theoretical and applied framework for understanding positive human rights duties. Part I elaborates the values of freedom, equality, and solidarity underpinning a positive approach to human rights duties, and argues that the dichotomy between democracy and human rights is misplaced. Instead, positive human rights duties should strengthen rather than substitute for democracy, particularly in the face of globalization and privatization. Part II considers justiciability, fashioning a democratic role for the courts based on their potential to stimulate deliberative democracy in the wider environment. Part III applies this framework to key positive duties, particularly substantive equality and positive duties to provide, traditionally associated with the Welfare State or socio-economic rights.

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About Author

Sandra Fredman is Professor of Law at Oxford University and Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. In 2000, she became the first woman professor in the Oxford law faculty and she was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2005. She has also been active in the policy field, including acting as an expert advisor on a range of human rights, equality, and labour law issues in the EU, Northern Ireland, the UK and Canada. She is a barrister, practising as an academic consultant at Old Square Chambers.


Introduction ; PART I: UNDERSTANDING POSITIVE DUTIES ; 1. Human Rights Values Refashioned: Liberty, Equality, and Solidarity ; 2. The Nature of the State: Democracy, Globalization, and Privatization ; PART II: JUDGING AND ENFORCING: COURTS AND COMPLIANCE ; 3. The Strcture of Positive Duties ; 4. Justiciability and the Role of Courts ; 5. Restructuring the Courts: Public Interest Litigation in the Indian Courts ; 6. Achieving Compliance: Positive Duties Beyond the Courts ; PART III: SUBSTANTIVE RIGHTS AND POSITIVE DUTIES ; 7. Equality ; 8. Socio-Economic Rights and Positive Duties

Product Details

  • publication date: 06/03/2008
  • ISBN13: 9780199535057
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 288
  • ID: 9780199535057
  • weight: 424
  • ISBN10: 0199535051

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