Renewing Rights & Responsibilities

Viktor Orban’s Viral Authoritarianism
John Shattuck. 4/6/2020. “Viktor Orban’s Viral Authoritarianism.” The American Prospect . See full text.Abstract
Countries around the world are restricting freedom of movement, however, Hungary is taking it one step further.

The global pandemic claimed its first democracy on March 30 when Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban won approval from his parliament to rule Hungary indefinitely by decree. Orban’s new powers give him unlimited authority to fight the coronavirus by suspending parliament and all future elections, overriding Hungarian law and imprisoning persons found guilty of the new crimes of “violating a quarantine” and “spreading false information.”

Democratic governments all over the world are undertaking temporary emergency measures to address the pandemic crisis, but none are as sweeping as Hungary’s. Temporarily restricting freedom of movement and prescribing social distancing are reasonable limits on civil liberties aimed at containing the virus. But the Hungarian case demonstrates how the public-health crisis can be used as an excuse to promote authoritarianism far beyond the current emergency.

 

Rights and Responsibilities in the Coronavirus Pandemic
Kathryn Sikkink. 3/16/2020. “Rights and Responsibilities in the Coronavirus Pandemic.” OpenGlobalRights. See full text.Abstract
Touching on points from her newly published book, The Hidden Face of Rights: Towards a Politics of Responsibilities, Kathryn Sikkink urges the global community to place responsibility on all actors to uphold human rights during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Building on the work of Iris Marion Young in her posthumous book, Responsibility for Justice, in The Hidden Face of Rights, I argue that all actors socially connected to structural injustice and able to act, need to take action to address the injustice. One problem with the word responsibility is that people often use it in the common legal meaning focused on who is to blame or liable. This is what Iris Young has called backward-looking responsibility or the “liability model.” She focused on political responsibility that is forward-looking. This kind of responsibility asks not “who is to blame,” but “what should we do?” Forward-looking responsibility is necessary to address the Coronavirus pandemic and to think about what we should do in the world after the pandemic. I also draw on Max Weber’s idea of an ethic of responsibility in Politics as a Vocation to stress that it is not enough to act with good intentions. We also need to have done our research about the most effective way to act so that our actions have the impact we seek.


This framework is useful in the context of the Coronavirus crisis because it involves both a range of rights and responsibilities of many actors. Our right to health, but also rights to liberty, freedom of movement, to education, to information, to food and shelter are all at stake. As countries ramp up exclusionary travel and border policies, some of these rights may be imperiled, and governments need to strike a balance between protecting the health and respecting human rights, as the WHO Secretary General recognized in his briefing on March 12. A quarantine is a legitimate state policy in times of health emergencies, but the state must attend to the rights of individuals caught in the quarantine to adequate health care, food, and shelter. 

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Legitimate Leadership?

February 21, 2020

Arthur Applbaum explains in his recently published book, Legitimacy: The Right to Rule in a Wanton World, Americans tend to discuss legitimacy in procedural terms: if a government comes to power through certain correct steps, such as free elections, it must be legitimate.

... Read more about Legitimate Leadership?

College Students Don’t Turn out to Vote. Here’s How to Change That
Kathryn Sikkink. 1/30/2020. “College Students Don’t Turn out to Vote. Here’s How to Change That.” Los Angeles Times. See full text.Abstract

Kathryn Sikkink maps out a plan to encourage voter turnout among college students. 

College students have traditionally voted at one of the lowest rates of any group in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In the 2018 midterm election, the voting rate at U.S. colleges and universities more than doubled from the previous midterm, jumping from 19% in 2014 to 40%. That increase was 7 percentage points higher than the increase in voting rates among all Americans.

Human Rights Aren’t Just from the Global North – so Why Aren’t We Talking About It?
Kathryn Sikkink. 3/14/2018. “Human Rights Aren’t Just from the Global North – so Why Aren’t We Talking About It?” EachOther.Abstract
Kathryn Sikkink looks at the outstanding contributions of human rights activists from Chile to China.

When we discuss the origins of human rights, we tend to focus on contributors from the Global North like Eleanor Roosevelt and René Cassin. But are we getting the full picture? Kathryn Sikkink, author of Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century, says no. She argues that human rights owe their existence to a global effort, with important contributors from the Global South.   

RightsInfo went to her talk, organised by the Centre on Conflict, Rights and Justice and the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, to find out more.

When we discuss the origins of human rights, we tend to focus on contributors from the Global North like Eleanor Roosevelt and René Cassin. But are we getting the full picture? Kathryn Sikkink, author of Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century, says no. She argues that human rights owe their existence to a global effort, with important contributors from the Global South.  

Original Article on Rights Info.

Wake Up, Hapless Technology Users
Kathryn Sikkink. 3/21/2018. “Wake Up, Hapless Technology Users.” The Boston Globe. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Read this Op-Ed in the Boston Globe by Professor Kathryn Sikkink.

"Wake up, users of technology! You are not just a hapless victim, but you too have obligations — along with, of course, the multiple obligations of governments and corporations. We all should know by now that our smartphones are little spy machines that we carry around in our pockets and our Facebook pages are open invitations for violations of privacy. They are usually benevolent spy machines, and certainly, indispensable ones, but spy machines nonetheless."
 

Read the full Op-Ed here.

From Unalienable Rights to Membership Rights in the World Society
Mathias Risse. 12/11/2019. “From Unalienable Rights to Membership Rights in the World Society.” Carr Center Discussion Paper Series (2019-009). See full text.Abstract

The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy launched an ambitious initiative in the fall of 2019 to advance the renewal of rights and responsibilities in the United States. The initiative aims to develop research and policy recommendations around six broad themes of concern: democratic process; due process of law; equal protection; freedom of speech, religion, and association; human sustainability; and privacy.

In the most recent Carr Center Discussion Paper, Mathias Risse looks at the Pompeo Commission as a jumping off point to reexamine the distinction between natural law, natural rights, and human rights in the modern day.

Download the full paper

Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the U.S.
Ralph Ranalli. 9/30/2019. “Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the U.S.” Harvard Kennedy School. See full text.Abstract

Americans live in a country founded on the concept of individual rights, but human rights experts say more work still needs to be done teaching people what rights actually are, where they come from, and how their neighbors’ rights intertwine with their own.

A major new initiative from the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy will seek to bridge that gap, particularly in the area of how individual rights are inextricably linked to societal responsibility. The two-year research initiative is titled “Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the US.”

Read the full article here

Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the U.S.
Ralph Ranalli. 9/30/2019. “Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the U.S.” Harvard Kennedy School .Abstract
See the HKS article on the new Carr Center Rights and Responsibilities Initiative.

Americans live in a country founded on the concept of individual rights, but human rights experts say more work still needs to be done teaching people what rights actually are, where they come from, and how their neighbors’ rights intertwine with their own.

A major new initiative from the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy will seek to bridge that gap, particularly in the area of how individual rights are inextricably linked to societal responsibility. The two-year research initiative is titled “Renewing Rights and Responsibilities in the US.”

“We want to get people to think about human rights and to remind them of their relevance,” said Mathias Risse, the Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Philosophy and Public Administration and faculty director of the Carr Center. “We want to remind people of the content of the American Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to remind people of the significance of looking after every single person. That’s really the purpose of this initiative.”

See full article here. 

 

 

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