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This ground breaking book discusses whether human rights can be forged into a common set of transcendent principles against which actions of every nation can be judged and whether such a common understanding, or civil religion, could one day become a vehicle for global peace. Eminent international scholars from political science, international relations, human rights and civil religion argue both sides of this debate.
In the first section the theoretical issues relating to why human rights have come about and whether they should be fought for are discussed. Part two focuses on the reality of actions brought about by human rights ideas with illuminating case studies showing that human rights ideas and practice are generated from both the bottom up and top down by individual actors and institutions. The unique book will be of great interest to scholars in the field of history, human rights, international relations and political science in general.