When it comes to human rights, less is more, FRP’s Jacob Mchangama and Guglielmo Verdirame argue in the current issue of Foreign Affairs.
If human rights were a currency, its value would be in free fall, thanks to a gross inflation in the number of human rights treaties and nonbinding international instruments adopted by international organizations over the last several decades. These days, this currency is sometimes more likely to buy cover for dictatorships than protection for citizens. Human rights once enshrined the most basic principles of human freedom and dignity; today, they can include anything from the right to international solidarity to the right to peace.
The Freedom Rights Project counts a full 64 human-rights-related agreements under the auspices of the United Nations and the Council of Europe. A member state of both of these organizations that has ratified all these agreements would have to comply with 1,377 human rights provisions.
Add to this the hundreds of non-treaty instruments, such as the resolutions of the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council (HRC). The aggregate body of human rights law now has all the accessibility of a tax code. Read more here.