Comparative Constitutional Law, Democracy, Dutch Politics, Law and Religion, Public Theology, Religion and Politics, Whither Europe?

Chapter on “Natural Law and the Future of Human Rights”

Today marks the publication date of the volume Human Rights at Risk. Global Governance, American Power, and the Future of Dignity (New Brunswick, Camden, and Newark, New Jersey, and London: Rutgers University Press).

The synopsis of this volume, edited by Salvador Santino F. Regilme Jr. and Irene Hadiprayitno, reads as follows:

Human Rights at Risk brings together social scientists, legal scholars, and humanities scholars to analyze the policy challenges of human rights protection in the twenty-first century. The volume is organized based on three overarching themes that highlight the challenges and risks in international human rights: international institutions and global governance of human rights; thematic blind spots in human rights protection; and the human rights challenges of the United States as a global and domestic actor amidst the contemporary global shifts to authoritarianism and illiberal populism. One of the very few books that offer new perspectives that envision the future of transnational human rights norms and human dignity from a multidisciplinary perspective, Human Rights at Risk comprehensively examines the causes and consequences of the challenges faced by international human rights. Scholars, students, and policy practitioners who are interested in the challenges and reform prospects of the international human rights regime, United States foreign policy, and international institutions will find this multidisciplinary volume an invaluable guide to the state of global politics in the twenty-first century.”

The central question my chapter, entitled “Natural Law and the Future of Human Rights,” attempts to answer is:

Why are human rights currently at risk not just outside but also within the West, and how can the natural law and natural rights tradition contribute to remedying this situation?

As the first editor writes in his introduction:

“Written by constitutional law scholar Hans-Martien ten Napel, chapter 10 highlights the apparent deviation of Western constitutional practices from natural law and argues that this deviation poses a serious risk to the future of international human rights.”

The second editor adds in her concluding chapter that:

“… what we observed in the past decade is a regression in human rights protection in connection to a development where constitutional practice is no longer in conformity with the idea of protecting freedom and dignity of every individual. Such an inconsistency, as argued by ten Napel, puts human rights at risk not just outside but also within the West themselves. Western governments are currently sometimes concerned that some member states of the European Union, notably Hungary and Poland, are developing in the direction of illiberal democracies. In reality, however, many Western countries have themselves turned into proponents of a rather undemocratic form of liberalism.”

For more (ordering) information about the book, see: https://www.rutgersuniversitypress.org/human-rights-at-risk/9781978828421.

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