A Magna Carta for all Humanity
Homing in on Human Rights
Routledge – 2016 – 304 pages
Routledge – 2016 – 304 pages
The year 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta by King John of England at Runnymede. Yet 2015 will also see the British general election partly fought over the issue of disenchantment with international human rights norms in the UK. For the first time since it was ratified in 1950, there is a serious call to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), with at least two mainstream parties (the Conservatives and UKIP) committed to repealing the UK’s Human Rights Act (HRA), passed in 2000 to incorporate the rights in the ECHR into UK law. If the UK cannot live with universal human rights norms incorporated in its law can it realistically expect other states to do so?
This book illuminates the contemporary debate in the UK over this country’s future adherence to international human rights norms through the prism of the ethic of human rights. The evolving discourse on human rights standards and values – the moral framework for public life that they evoke – will be deconstructed and analyzed as a recurring backdrop to current human rights disputes in the UK.
Following an introduction on the legacy of the Magna Carta, the book is divided into two sections. The first section provides a context to the rest of the book by exploring the ethic of post-war universal human rights. The second section ‘homes in’ on human rights ‘at home’, giving an insider’s perspective on the background to, and purpose of, the UK’s 1998 Human Rights Act, based on the European Convention on Human Rights. An anthology of already published, and unpublished, material by the author follows both sections.
'If you read one book on rights this is it - a global citizen's guidebook to human rights, infused with the compassion and ethics which are the hallmark of Francesca Klug.' - Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
'Professor Francesca Klug, one of Britain’s most distinguished authorities, offers an intellectual and personal exploration of the Universal Declaration of 1948 and the very idea of human rights.' - Professor Philippe Sands, University College London
'This is an outstanding account of how, in a fast moving world, human rights have developed into ethical values for pluralist societies. It draws on history, politics and law with all the authority and insight of an insider who helped to shape recent stages of the journey in the UK.' Sir Keir Starmer QC
INTRODUCTION: The Magna Carta: marvel or myth?
SECTION ONE: HUMAN RIGHTS: A TIME TRAVELLERS’ GUIDE. 1. First stop: in search of British values. 2. Fast -forward to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 3. Exploring the Human Rights Ethic. 4. The meaning of ‘universal’. 5. Conclusion: inspiration or foundation? Section One Anthology of other work by the author.
SECTION TWO: WHEN UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHTS HIT HOME: THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT CONTROVERSY UNCUT. 6. The disputed parentage of the ECHR. 7. On the road to the HRA. 8. Principles and values. 9. Critiques and Controversies. 10. Back to the future? 11. Conclusion: Human Rights: endgame or lit flame? Section Two Anthology of other work by the author.
Francesca Klug is a Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics and has researched, written and lectured on human rights for 25 years. She is a former Commissioner on the Equality and Human Rights Commission and advised on the model for incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights reflected in the UK’s Human Rights Act.