Human Rights as Legal Rights
This essay is a reply to Joseph Raz’s ‘Human Rights in the Emerging World Order’. In that essay Professor Raz made a series of typically sophisticated and subtle arguments about human rights. His analysis suffers, however, from three important flaws that render its arguments unpersuasive. First, in the course of that essay Raz identifies rights with the legal relations that these may entail. Second, he presents human rights as summaries of value. Third, he considers human rights as continuous with interpersonal rights. The best philosophical account of human rights ought to reject all three propositions. Such a theory must, first, draw a clear distinction between legal rights and the legal relations these may entail as their deliberative conclusions. It must, second, highlight the way in which rights are peremptory reasons for action that escape the balancing of value. Finally, it ought to locate human rights in the institutional domain of international relations.
P. Eleftheriadis, 'Human Rights as Legal Rights' (2010) 1(3) Transnational Legal Theory 371–392