THE CASE FOR SOLIDARITY RIGHTS: APPLYING CHARLES BEITZ’S POLITICAL APPROACH TO HUMAN RIGHTS
MetadataShow full item record
Solidarity rights protect interests of individuals that can only be meaningfully experienced in the context of society as a whole (“common-good interests”). This thesis applies Charles Beitz’s approach, in which rights are modelled as political presumptions, to determine whether solidarity rights can be considered human rights. Solidarity rights have been treated with scepticism by rights scholars, yet the states and regional bodies that promote them are increasingly influential in international politics. While this has brought discourses about solidarity rights to new prominence, we lack a corresponding theoretical assessment. The first part of the thesis will explore the key tenets of Beitz’s model, with a focus criteria used to identify those interests which merit recognition as rights. It will argue that Beitz’s approach is preferable to orthodox accounts of human rights, for the purposes of this project, because it offers a model that more closely reflects how rights manifest in international law and politics. Human rights traditionally protect interests held by the individual against the group. In the second part of the thesis it is argued that they can also protect common-good interests. The transnationally interconnected nature of post-industrial modernity means that individuals necessarily have interests, experienced in a collective context, on a global scale. These interests can be urgent in a manner equivalent to those protected by other classes of rights. They therefore merit protection with the rights mechanism. Solidarity rights protect these interests by imposing duties on states to work together to address corresponding transnational threats. The strength of this case will be demonstrated with an argumentum a priori exercise, examining the case for solidarity rights from a hostile perspective. The arguments will then be applied in practice, with case studies of the rights to self-determination, peace, and a clean and healthy environment.
- Theses