Human Rights

human-dignityWith this website, we seek to make a contribution for a better protection, and a fuller understanding, of Human Rights.

Human Rights are in a deep crisis today. That crisis is not due to a lack of international bureaucracies, non-governmental institutions, academics, or politicians, seeking to promote human rights, or at least paying profuse lip-service to them. Instead, the concept itself is losing its credibility. And that loss of credibility is to a large extent due to the activities of the bureaucracies and experts who, whilst pretending to protect and foster human rights, are in fact undermining them. Quis custodit custodes? 

The term “human rights” can have two different meanings. Either it refers to the compound of international legal documents that acknowledge and protect human rights (such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and many more), or to the notion of pre-positive set of norms that are, or should be, universally recognized, and with which all positive legislation should comply.

On this website, we consistently use “human rights” in the first of these two senses, whereas when we speak of universally valid moral principles we use the term “Natural Law“.

It follows that “human rights” are only positive legal norms, albeit of a high rank. As such, they are sub-ordinate to Natural Law. Like any other positive legislation, human rights norms can be in contradiction to Natural Law – either because they are  from the outset badly drafted (this is the case with the EU’s new Fundamental Rights Charter), or because they are made the subject of (deliberately?) aberrant interpretations. Such misinterpretations are, unfortunately, not infrequent nowadays, including at the various UN Treaty Monitoring Bodies and the European Court of Human Rights.

The best way to defend human rights against manipulation and distortion is to work towards a deepened understanding of Natural Law and Human Dignity. These two concepts provide the basis for a reasoned critique.