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To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.
~Nelson Mandela, South African civil rights activist
Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don't give up the fight.
~Bob Marley, Jamaican singer
A political struggle that does not have women at the heart of it, above it, below it, and within it is no struggle at all.
~Arundhati Roy, Indian author
Peace does not just mean putting an end to violence or war, but to all other factors that threaten peace, such as discrimination, such as inequality, poverty.
~Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese politician and activist and Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience
It means a great deal to those who are oppressed to know that they are not alone. Never let anyone tell you that what you are doing is insignificant.
~Desmond Tutu, South African civil rights activist
Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.
~Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani education activistAndre Mcgary, Kevin. Justly Justice: Social Justice, Racial Justice, Human Rights...Done! (JUST "Justly Justice”, 2014)
Bonds, Eric. Social Problems: A Human Rights Perspective (Framing 21st Century Social Issues) (Routledge, 2014).
This short book lays out a new definition for what constitutes a social problem: the violation of a group’s human rights, which are understood as commonly upheld standards about what people deserve and should be protected from in life. Evaluating U.S. society from an international human rights perspective, Bonds also stresses that human rights are necessarily political and can therefore never be part of a purely objective exercise to assess wellbeing in a particular society. His approach recognizes that there is no one single interpretation of what rights mean, and that different groups with differing interests are going to promote divergent views, some better than others. This book is ideal for undergraduate sociology courses on social problems, as well as courses on social justice and human rights.
Bullard, Robert D. and Waters, Maxine. The Quest for Environmental Justice: Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution (Counterpoint, 2005).
This much anticipated follow-up to Dr. Robert D. Bullard’s highly acclaimed Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice and Communities of Color captures the voices of frontline warriors who are battling environmental injustice and human rights abuses at the grassroots level around the world, and challenging government and industry. policies and globalization trends that place people of color and the poor at special risk.Part I presents an overview of the early environmental justice movement and highlights key leadership roles assumed by women activists. Part II examines the lives of people living in “sacrifice zones”—toxic corridors (such as Louisiana’s infamous “Cancer Alley”) where high concentrations of polluting industries are found. Part III explores land use, land rights, resource extraction, and sustainable development conflicts, including Chicano struggles in America’s Southwest. Part IV examines human rights and global justice issues, including an analysis of South Africa’s legacy of environmental racism and the corruption and continuing violence plaguing the oil-rich Niger Delta. Together, the diverse contributors to this much-anticipated follow-up anthology present an inspiring and illuminating picture of the environmental justice movement in the first decade of the twenty-first century.
De Feyter, Koen. Human Rights: Social Justice in the Age of the Market (Global Issues) (Zed Books 2013).
Koen De Feyter, who has chaired Amnesty International's Working Group on economic, social and cultural rights, shows the many ways in which rampant market economics in today's world leads to violations of human rights. He questions how far the present-day international human rights system really provides effective protection against the adverse effects of globalization. This accessible and thought-provoking book shows both human rights activists and participants in the anti-globalization movement that there is a large, but hitherto untapped, overlap in their agendas, and real potential for a strategic alliance between them in joint campaigns around issues they share.
Dittmer, John. The Good Doctors: The Medical Committee for Human Rights and the Struggle for Social Justice in Health Care (Bloomsbury Press, 2010).
The Medical Committee for Human Rights was organized in 1964 to support civil rights activists during Mississippi's Freedom Summer. MCHR volunteers exposed racism within the American Medical Association, desegregated southern hospitals, set up free clinics in inner cities, and created the model for the community health center. They were early advocates of single-payer universal health insurance. In The Good Doctors, celebrated historian John Dittmer gives an insightful account of a group of idealists whose message and example are an inspiration to all who believe that "Health Care is a Human Right."
Echo-Hawk, Walter and James, Anaya S. In the Light of Justice: The Rise of Human Rights in Native America and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Fulcrum Publishing, 2016).
In 2007 the United Nations approved the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. United States endorsement in 2010 ushered in a new era of Indian law and policy. This book highlights steps that the United States, as well as other nations, must take to provide a more just society and heal past injustices committed against indigenous peoples.
Evans, John H. What Is a Human?: What the Answers Mean for Human Rights (Oxford University Press, 2016).
What is a human? Are humans those with human DNA, those in possession of traits like rationality, or those made in the image of God? The debate over what makes human beings unique has raged for centuries. Many think that if society accepts the wrong definition of what it is to be human, people will look at their neighbor as more of an animal, object, or machine-making maltreatment more likely. In the longest running claim, for over 150 years critics have claimed that taking a Darwinist definition results in people treating each other more like animals.
Despite their seriousness, these claims have never been empirically investigated. In this groundbreaking book John H. Evans shows that the definitions promoted by biologists and philosophers actually are associated with less support for human rights. Members of the public who agree with these definitions are less willing to sacrifice to stop genocides and are more supportive of buying organs from poor people, of experimenting on prisoners against their will, and of torturing people to potentially save lives. It appears that the critics are right.
However, Evans finds that few Americans agree with these academic definitions. Looking at how most of the public defines humanity, we see a much more nuanced picture. In a fascinating account, he shows that the dominant definitions are unlikely to lead to human rights abuses. He concludes that the critics are right about the definitions of a human promoted by academic biologists and philosophers, and are therefore justified in their vigilance. However, because at present few Americans agree with these definitions, the academic definitions would have to spread much more extensively before impacting how the general public acts. Evans' book is a major corrective to the more than century-long debate about the impact of definitions of a human.
Gill, Aisha and Anitha, Sundari. Forced Marriage: Introducing a Social Justice and Human Rights Perspective (Zed Books, 2012).
Forced Marriage: Introducing a social justice and human rights perspective brings together leading practitioners and researchers from the disciplines of criminology, sociology and law. Together the contributors provide an international, multi-disciplinary perspective that offers a compelling alternative to prevailing conceptualisations of the problem of forced marriage. This unique book, which is informed by practitioner insights and academic research, is essential reading for practitioners and students of sociology, criminology, gender studies and law.
Goodheart, Michael. Human Rights: Politics and Practice, 2nd Edition (Oxford University Press, 2013).
Featuring twenty-two chapters written by a multidisciplinary group of international experts, Human Rights: Politics and Practice, Second Edition, is designed for politics students. Offering unparalleled breadth and depth of coverage, it takes students beyond a purely legal perspective with discussions of core theoretical approaches and detailed studies of major issues. The first seven chapters introduce the main theoretical issues and challenges in the study of human rights as a political phenomenon. The following fifteen thematic chapters offer detailed analysis and case studies of such key issues as economic globalization, genocide, the environment, and humanitarian intervention. The book is enhanced by pedagogical features and in-depth, concrete examples. A Companion Website provides web links and a flashcard glossary for students and a test bank and PowerPoint-based lecture slides for instructors.
Ife, Jim. Human Rights and Social Work (Cambridge University Press, 2008).
Human rights ideals are at the pinnacle of contemporary social work practice and international political discourse. Yet in recent years, with the heightened threat of terrorism, we have begun to witness an erosion of many traditional civil liberties. Set against this backdrop, the revised edition of Human Rights and Social Work moves beyond the limitations of conventional legal frameworks. With customary clarity and ease of style, Jim Ife challenges the notion of the 'three generations of human rights', teasing out the conceptual problems of this approach and demonstrating how the three generations actually overlap at an intrinsic level. Essential reading for scholars, students and practitioners alike, this book shows how an implicit understanding of human rights principles can provide a foundation for practice that is central to social work, community development and the broader human services.
Jackson, Thomas F. From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Struggle for Economic Justice (Politics and Culture in Modern America) (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013).
Martin Luther King, Jr., is widely celebrated as an American civil rights hero. Yet King's nonviolent opposition to racism, militarism, and economic injustice had deeper roots and more radical implications than is commonly appreciated, Thomas F. Jackson argues in this searching reinterpretation of King's public ministry. Between the 1940s and the 1960s, King was influenced by and in turn reshaped the political cultures of the black freedom movement and democratic left. His vision of unfettered human rights drew on the diverse tenets of the African American social gospel, socialism, left-New Deal liberalism, Gandhian philosophy, and Popular Front internationalism.
King's early leadership reached beyond southern desegregation and voting rights. As the freedom movement of the 1950s and early 1960s confronted poverty and economic reprisals, King championed trade union rights, equal job opportunities, metropolitan integration, and full employment. When the civil rights and antipoverty policies of the Johnson administration failed to deliver on the movement's goals of economic freedom for all, King demanded that the federal government guarantee jobs, income, and local power for poor people. When the Vietnam war stalled domestic liberalism, King called on the nation to abandon imperialism and become a global force for multiracial democracy and economic justice.
Drawing widely on published and unpublished archival sources, Jackson explains the contexts and meanings of King's increasingly open call for "a radical redistribution of political and economic power" in American cities, the nation, and the world. The mid-1960s ghetto uprisings were in fact revolts against unemployment, powerlessness, police violence, and institutionalized racism, King argued. His final dream, a Poor People's March on Washington, aimed to mobilize Americans across racial and class lines to reverse a national cycle of urban conflict, political backlash, and policy retrenchment. King's vision of economic democracy and international human rights remains a powerful inspiration for those committed to ending racism and poverty in our time.
Kesselring, Rita. Bodies of Truth: Law, Memory, and Emancipation in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Stanford Studies in Human Rights) (Stanford University Press, 2016).
Bodies of Truth offers an intimate account of how apartheid victims deal with the long-term effects of violence, focusing on the intertwined themes of embodiment, injury, victimhood, and memory. In 2002, victims of apartheid-era violence filed suit against multinational corporations, accusing them of aiding and abetting the security forces of the apartheid regime. While the litigation made its way through the U.S. courts, thousands of victims of gross human rights violations have had to cope with painful memories of violence. They have also confronted an official discourse claiming that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of the 1990s sufficiently addressed past injuries. This book shows victims' attempts to emancipate from their experiences by participating in legal actions, but also by creating new forms of sociality among themselves and in relation to broader South African society.
Lundy, Colleen. Social Work, Social Justice, and Human Rights: A Structural Approach to Practice, Second Edition (University of Toronto Press, 2011).
Social workers take pride in their commitment to social and economic justice, peace, and human rights, and in their responses to related inequalities and social problems. At a time when economic globalization, armed conflict, and ecological devastation continue to undermine human rights and the possibilities for social justice, the need for linking a structural analysis to social work practice is greater than ever. The second edition of this popular social work practice text more fully addresses the connection between social justice and human rights. It includes a discussion of social work's role in promoting peace and responding to environmental problems. It also places a greater attention on the links between social work theories/concepts and practice skill/responses. The text has been updated and revised throughout with four new chapters: social work and human rights, cultural competence and practice with immigrant communities, social work and mental health communities, and practice with couples and families. Detailed case studies demonstrate the integration of theory, policy, and practice.
Mapp, Susan C. Human Rights and Social Justice in a Global Perspective: An Introduction to International Social Work (Oxford University Press, 2007).
An eye-opening overview of international human rights and social justice, this exemplary introductory text focuses on current global problems of pressing concern for social workers. Susan Mapp addresses difficult topics such as healthcare, violence against women, war and conflict, forced labor, and child soldiers in an accessible manner that encourages students to think critically about such problems, research the issues, and get involved with organizations that are working on them. The content comes alive with brief but vivid narratives of individuals suffering from these social problems, and with suggestions for what students can do to create change: both now and what they will be able to do as professionals. Mapp analyzes problems in their cultural contexts to help the reader understand how they developed, why they persist, and what the local and international responses, both governmental and nongovernmental, have been. As the world becomes ever more interconnected and problems in the Global South affect those in the North, this volume will educate and empower the next generation of social workers to effect real change in the world.
Morrison, Toni. Race-ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality. (Pantheon, 1992).
It was perhaps the most wretchedly aspersive race and gender scandal of recent times: the dramatic testimony of Anita Hill at the Senate hearings on the confirmation of Clarence Thomas as Supreme Court Justice. Yet even as the televised proceedings shocked and galvanized viewers not only in this country but the world over, they cast a long shadow on essential issues that define America. In Race-ing Justice, En-gendering Power, Toni Morrison contributes an introduction and brings together eighteen provocative essays, all but one written especially for this book, by prominent and distinguished academicians—black and white, male and female. These writings powerfully elucidate not only the racial and sexual but also the historical, political, cultural, legal, psychological, and linguistic aspects of a signal and revelatory moment in American history.
NA NA and Power, Samantha. Realizing Human Rights: Moving from Inspiration to Impact (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).
At the dawn of a new era, this book brings together leading activists, policy-makers and critics to reflect upon fifty years of attempts to improve respect for human rights. Authors include President Jimmy Carter, who helped inject human rights concerns into US policy; Wei Jingsheng, who struggled to do so in China; Louis Henkin, the modern "father" of international law, and Richard Goldstone, the former chief prosecutor for the Yugoslav and Rwandan war crimes tribunals. A half-century since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the time is right to assess how policies and actions effect the realization of human rights and to point to new directions and challenges that lie ahead. A must have for everyone in the human rights community and the broader foreign policy community as well as the reader who is increasingly aware of the visibility of human rights concerns on the public stage.
Rothberg, Shaiya. Human Rights as Mashiach - A Jewish Theology of Human Rights (City of Justice Press – Jerusalem, 2013).
While religion is sometimes the enemy of human dignity, it can also be a powerful force for its protection. When John Woolman, an American Quaker born in 1720, began preaching that faithfulness to God requires abolishing slavery, he ignited a religious passion that helped facilitate the global paradigm shift that outlawed human bondage across the planet. That religious passion united humanity's moral intuition with her awe in the face of God's creation; it wove the mysterious and enthralling presence of the divine into the love that humans can know for the other. The time has come to preach global moral responsibility: God commands that we enact a "human covenant" to protect and nurture all human beings. While all doctrines may be criticized and all laws revised, the confidence that humanity has placed in human rights establishes them as the foundation of that sacred effort.
Schaffer, Kay and Smith, Sidonie. Human Rights and Narrated Lives: The Ethics of Recognition (Palgrave Macmillan , 2004).
Personal narratives have become one of the most potent vehicles for advancing human rights claims across the world. These two contemporary domains, personal narrative and human rights, literature and international politics, are commonly understood to operate on separate planes. This study however, examines the ways these intersecting realms unfold and are enfolded in one another in ways both productive of and problematic for the achievement of social justice. Human Rights and Narrated Lives explores what happens when autobiographical narratives are produced, received, and circulated in the field of human rights. It asks how personal narratives emerge in local settings; how international rights discourse enables and constrains individual and collective subjectivities in narration; how personal narratives circulate and take on new meanings in new contexts; and how and under what conditions they feed into, affect, and are affected by the reorganizations of politics in the post cold war, postcolonial, globalizing human rights contexts. To explore these intersections, the authors attend the production, circulation, reception, and affective currents of stories in action across local, national, transnational, and global arenas. They do so by looking at five case studies: in the context of the Truth and Reconciliation processes in South Africa; the National Inquiry into the Forced Removal of Indigenous Children from their Families in Australia; activism on behalf of former 'comfort women' from South/East Asia; U.S. prison activism; and democratic reforms in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in China.
Schweiger, Gottfried and Graf, Gunter. A Philosophical Examination of Social Justice and Child Poverty (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
This book investigates child poverty from a philosophical perspective. It identifies the injustices of child poverty, relates them to the well-being of children, and discusses who has a moral responsibility to secure social justice for children.
Wronka, Joseph M. Human Rights and Social Justice: Social Action and Service for the Helping and Health Professions (SAGE Publication, 2016).
Offering a unique perspective that views human rights as the foundation of social justice, Joseph Wronka’s groundbreaking Human Rights and Social Justice outlines human rights and social justice concerns as a powerful conceptual framework for policy and practice interventions for the helping and health professions. This highly accessible, interdisciplinary text urges the creation of a human rights culture as a “lived awareness” of human rights principles, including human dignity, nondiscrimination, civil and political rights, economic, social, and cultural rights, and solidarity rights. The Second Edition includes numerous social action activities and questions for discussion to help scholars, activists, and practitioners promote a human rights culture and the overall well-being of populations across the globe.