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What comes first, democracy or human rights

Meckled-Garcia, S; (2014) What comes first, democracy or human rights. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy , 17 (6) pp. 681-688. 10.1080/13698230.2014.930783. Green open access

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Abstract

Minimalists about human rights hold that a state can have political legitimacy if it protects a basic list of rights and democratic rights do not have to be on that list. In this paper, I consider two arguments from Benhabib against the minimalist view. The first is that a political community cannot be said to have self-determination, which minimalists take to be the value at the heart of legitimacy, without democracy. The second is that even the human rights protections minimalists take to legitimize institutions cannot be had without democracy. These rights can only be adequately interpreted and specified for any social context if the interpretations and specifications result from democratic processes. Here, I bring out some important problems with these arguments and so conclude that they do not represent a robust case for rejecting minimalism. © 2014 Taylor and Francis.

Type: Article
Title: What comes first, democracy or human rights
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13698230.2014.930783
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/13698230.2014.930783
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: human rights, legitimacy, democracy, interpretation, specification of rights, human rights minimalism
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10063293
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