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International Human Rights
A Survey

$41.99 (C)

  • Date Published: November 2022
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108735384

$ 41.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This book provides an interdisciplinary overview of international human rights issues, offering truly international coverage including the Global South. Considering the philosophical foundations of human rights, Chen and Renteln explore the interpretive difficulties associated with identifying what constitute human rights abuses, and evaluate various perspectives on human rights. This book goes on to analyze institutions that strive to promote and enforce human rights standards, including the United Nations system, regional human rights bodies, and domestic courts. It also discusses a wide variety of substantive human rights including genocide, torture, capital punishment, and other cruel and unusual punishments. In particular, the book offers an accessible introduction to key understudied topics within human rights, such as socioeconomic rights, cultural rights, and environmental rights. It also focuses on the rights of marginalized groups, including children's rights, rights of persons with disabilities, women's rights, labor rights, indigenous rights, and LGBTQ+ rights, making this an engaging and invaluable resource for the contemporary student.

    • Adopting a thoroughly interdisciplinary approach throughout, this book is suitable for students from both legal and non-legal backgrounds and introduces complex terminology and concepts in a clear and accessible way
    • Clear definitions of key concepts are provided at the beginning of each chapter, aiding students in understanding the core issues and theories without tackling dry and dense text
    • Accompanying online resources, including class activities, simulations, discussion questions, and suggested media and film brings the subject to life, engaging students and highlighting the daily relevance of human rights principles in a range of contexts
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘What a tour de force … readable, accessible, and analytically rigorous … As the world commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this timely book provides a teachable review of some of the most pressing human rights topics from interdisciplinary perspectives. It is strategically designed to enable readers to act on their sense of justice to move toward fairer horizons.' Rebecca J. Cook, Professor of Law Emerita, University of Toronto, Canada

    ‘Its approach is likely to engage an audience that goes beyond the usual suspects – lawyerly and academic circles. Highly recommended.' Christian Courtis, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

    ‘Chen and Renteln's tremendous International Human Rights: A Survey provides a thoroughly modern account of international human rights. Without shying away from controversies, it goes beyond a standard legal analysis, embracing perspectives from different disciplines and tackling the normative architecture, contextual dimensions, and cultural complexities, as well as the perennial enforcement challenges. A powerful and ambitious work that will stand as an invaluable resource for academics and practitioners.' Siobhan McInerney-Lankford, Senior Counsel, World Bank

    ‘International Human Rights: A Survey is a monumental achievement, integrating careful theoretical exposition of human rights with practical considerations. Chen and Renteln masterfully analyze the promises and challenges facing those concerned with the betterment of the human condition, and offer wise and practical counsel for navigating the fraught circumstances in which they approach their goals. This book is a signal achievement, and an essential resource for anyone interested in human rights.' Robert A. Rubinstein, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Professor of International Relations, Syracuse University, USA

    ‘A comprehensive critical coverage of the evolution of the human rights movement at national, regional and international levels. It also explores emerging issues we can no longer ignore today like protection of the environment, rights of persons with disabilities and of LGBTQ+ people. These are not only pertinent to the North, but more crucially to the Global South, enhancing the book's value and appealing to the wider audience.' Tomoya Obokata, UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Professor of International Law and Human Rights, Keele University, The United Kingdom

    ‘A major highlight of this volume is its rights-based approach, which unpacks questions of cultural relativism, genocide studies, torture and inhuman punishments within the universal human rights discourse, and its critical examination of the fractures introduced by histories of imperialism and colonialism. Chen and Renteln judiciously and meticulously capture the heroic journey of the human rights movement right from 1948 through the contemporary evolution of new regional human rights systems.' Vibhuti Patel, Vice President, Indian Association for Women's Studies, India

    ‘Chen and Renteln offer an accessible, but in-depth and critical, appraisal informed by anthropology, political sciences, and international relations to tackle some of the most contentious contemporary challenges in international human rights law. At a time when authoritarian governments appear ever more emboldened to challenge the centrality of human rights discourse, this book is a crucial contribution to a necessary reflection on the future of human rights.' René Provost, Professor of Law, McGill University, Canada

    ‘International Human Rights: A Survey is a must-read for students who want to deepen their knowledge on human rights and ready themselves to face the challenges posed by their violation. The book provides a comprehensive and fully updated analysis of all the human rights internationally protected in an easy and rigorous legal language. With this work, Chen and Renteln provided an important landmark in the road toward a global justice.' Ilenia Ruggiu, Professor of Constitutional Law and Vice-President, University of Cagliari, Italy

    ‘Comprehensive and readable, International Human Rights: A Survey is the essential contemporary human rights reader. It leaves no current issue, group, or region behind – from identity to culture, racial disparities, and gendercide. The book's 16 chapters, each clearly organized around the legal concepts, instruments, and movements that make human rights matter, expose students to the history, promise, and potential of human rights.' Mark Fathi Massoud, Professor of Politics, UC Santa Cruz and Visiting Professor of Law, University of Oxford

    ‘The authors have done a brilliant job elucidating various aspects of human rights, demonstrating persuasively that an understanding of the underlying ideas and their application in different areas is critically important not just in distant countries under authoritarian governments, but to all. This is an important book for the general reader and an essential work for the academic.' David Miller, former Mayor of Toronto, Canada and the author of Solved: How the Great Cities of the World are Fixing the Climate Crisis

    ‘This is the most comprehensive and accessible treatment of human rights available. Chen and Renteln cover every aspect of human rights – from genocide to the right to be forgotten – in this multidisciplinary book. Examining rights from international, national and local levels adds rare depth. A valuable resource for students and experts alike.' Beth Simmons, Andrea Mitchell University Professor in Law, Political Science and Business Ethics, Penn Law

    'In this essential book Dr. Chen and Dr. Renteln provide a much needed overview of humanity’s first normative line of defense against repression … in an age of brutality, but also of hope and opportunity.' Jan Egeland, Secretary General, Norwegian Refuge Council and former UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs

    ‘The term ‘tour de force’ is overused, but in the case of Chen and Renteln’s International Human Rights: A Survey, it is an entirely appropriate description of the work.’ Human Rights Quarterly (

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2022
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108735384
    • length: 606 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 190 x 38 mm
    • weight: 1.16kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: overview of human rights
    2. Human rights machinery: enforcement mechanisms
    3. Genocide
    4. Torture
    5. The death penalty and cruel, degrading, and inhuman punishments
    6. Socio-economic rights
    7. Cultural rights
    8. Environmental protection and human rights
    9. Indigenous rights
    10. Disability and human rights
    11. Labor rights as human rights
    12. Children's rights
    13. Women's rights
    14. LGBTQ+ rights
    15. Media and human rights: freedom of expression and of the press, access to information, and the right to privacy
    16. Conclusion: the future of human rights.

  • Authors

    Cher Weixia Chen, George Mason University
    Cher Weixia Chen is Associate Professor in the School of Integrative Studies and founder of the Human Rights and Global Justice Initiative, George Mason University.

    Alison Dundes Renteln, University of Southern California
    Alison Dundes Renteln is Professor of Political Science, Anthropology, Public Policy, and Law at the University of Southern California.



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