Intellectual Foundations and Legal Means
Edited By Alexander Stepkowski
The Legal Anthropology of Human Rights: A Canvass of Approaches to Explain the Same Reality
The purpose of this paper is to offer three different ways of explaining the anthropological foundation of human rights. The paper argues that each approach presents international human rights law as an integral whole, revealing an underlying interconnectedness between the nature and meaning of the human person, his or her human dignity, as well as the rights of the family, parents and children. It is beyond the scope of this part to consider the drafting history of key documents and their working papers, such as the UDHR, since such an appeal to supplementary sources of interpretation is unnecessary, and in any event has been studied elsewhere.1 The paper is divided into two main parts and contains an appendix.
Part I fleshes out, in a chronological fashion, the legal-anthropological “golden thread” that runs through international human rights law within the system of the United Nations. This part argues that the International Bill of Rights commonly understood as the1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“UDHR”),2 the ← 15 | 16 → foundational text for the modern human rights movement, and the two 1966 Covenants – the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”)3 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (“ICESCR”)4 – remain the linchpin for understanding treaties such as the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (“CRC”),5 and other documents. It will consider what is contained in the International Bill of Human Rights and the...
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