‘Can We Still Afford Human Rights?’ This was the provocative question asked by the four editors of the book Can We Still Afford Human Rights? Critical Reflections on Universality, Proliferation and Costs (Edward Elgar 2020). A question which several authors aim to answer in their contributions to the book. In the volume, 14 chapters focus on one of the three interlinked topics of universality, proliferation and costs. In this blog series, three posts relating to the book will focus on one of these topics respectively. In this first post, however, we draw from the book’s introduction to share the idea behind the project and the links between the three topics.
10 December is “International Human Rights Day”. This date was not chosen by chance; it is the date on which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“UDHR”) was adopted. This year, we celebrate the Declaration’s 70th anniversary. It was indeed in 1948, a few years after humanity revealed its darkest facets, that the UDHR was proclaimed “a common standard of achievement for all people and all nations”.