Human Rights: Sometimes One Thought Too Many?


Hope S (2016) Human Rights: Sometimes One Thought Too Many?. Jurisprudence, 7 (1), pp. 111-126.

It is commonly claimed, in the global justice literature, that global injustices are best characterised in terms of the violation or unfulfilment of human rights. I suggest that global justice theorists are overconfident on this point. For decolonising peoples, contemporary global injustice is likely to be characterised in terms drawn from local histories of injustice and the constellations of thick ethical concepts they contain. To make the point I describe how the Māori of New Zealand, who do not reject human rights, typically make no reference to human rights in political argument. I argue that the Māori are reasonable to consider human rights talk to be ‘one thought too many’, and the considerations that make this so typically apply in other postcolonial contexts of political activity.

human rights; colonisation; global justice; Māori

Jurisprudence: Volume 7, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2016
Publication date online04/04/2016
Date accepted by journal13/03/2016
PublisherTaylor and Francis