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The last decade has witnessed an increased criticism against the human rights paradigm for its obsession with the 'culture of claims and rights'.
According to the critics, this culture has led to an obsession with the rights of individuals at the expense of due attention to groups and to communities worldwide, and moreover, at the neglect of responsibilities and duties.,P. It is also argued that there should be a shift from the western emphasis on the rights for individuals to more attention for the responsibilities of individuals and collectivities as present in other cultures of the world, and several documents have been drafted to this effect.
These discussions, and the ensuing documents, are far from only theoretical or abstract. They bear consequences in everyday life, as evidenced in a number of areas, such as globalization, terrorism, multiculturalism, etc.,P. The book contains the main contributions presented at a symposium in Leuven in 2006, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Summer Course Human Rights, a joint organisation of the Faculty of Law, K.U.Leuven and the Dutch Research School in Human Rights. It wishes to address some of the salient features of the relationship between rights on the one hand and responsibilities on the other, and is aimed at academics and researchers, policy-makers and civil society at large.