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In Search of a Solid Foundation for Universally Binding Legal Human Rights

by Marc-André Desrosiers
Concordia University

98-12-23

Preface

When I wrote this essay, I had in mind the experience of some people I had worked with that reported to me their experiences on human rights. It so happens that these people worked in different part of the world (Canada, South-East Asia, India, Middle-east, Brazil, and so on) ; however, it turns out that they all insisted that human rights were real and important. To me, this was an indication that there was something in "human nature" that allowed for a grounding of human rights as they are defended in international law. Notwithstanding my belief about the Universality of human rights, I cannot help but be impressed by the oppositions to human rights that are reported in many papers. I interpreted that as a sign that not everybody thinks human rights exist and, presumably, these people who believe that human rights do not exist have reasons to believe so. One way to look at what I intend to do in this essay is that I am proposing a scheme to justify why human rights exists and should be followed. But, it would be a mistake to think that I want to impose my views on other people. I intend to share my vision of the world and explain why I think human rights exist. This vision of the world comes with a diversity of "things" that I have come to believe to be true and justified. I do not expect that everybody will agree with me on all counts. Despite that, I can only hope that such a theoretical scheme can provoke a reflection that will allow other individuals to clarify their views clear about the reality and importance of human rights. I should ask the reader to be attentive to the derivations I will attempt starting with what I take a human being to be. If there were to be significant contradictions in what I will put forward here, I would like to be warned so that I can correct my views on the subject.

Thank you in advance !

Marc-André Desrosiers

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