Human Rights and International Law

Authored by: Robert Paul Churchill

The Routledge Handbook of Pacifism and Nonviolence

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138194663
eBook ISBN: 9781315638751
Adobe ISBN:


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Human rights and international law have been positive forces for global peace. Cosmopolitanism, the orientation taken in this essay, maintains that all human beings ought to receive equal respect and concern. Cosmopolitans hold that all agents are moral subjects. Heads of states, officials in multinational corporations, and international organizations such as the European Union are subject to the same moral demands and requirements that bind ordinary individuals. Cosmopolitans follow Kant (1724–1804), among the earliest advocates of an international federation in his Perpetual Peace (1795), in claiming that persons have equal dignity. Mere things have equivalents or substitutes, and thus have a price; by contrast, the dignity one has as a person is a value one has in oneself, not for others. Persons require respect; they must be treated as ends in themselves and never merely as means (Kant 2012).

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