15 July 2016
Global Justice and Human Rights
In September 2000 world leaders agreed to eight so-called Millennium Development Goals. With the first and most prominent Millennium Development Goal 191 member states of the United Nations committed themselves “to halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of the world’s people whose income is less than one dollar a day and the proportion of people who suffer from hunger”. On current trends this goal will not be achieved. In 2011 more than 1 billion people go hunger. Approximately 50.000 deaths per day are due to poverty-related causes. In contrast to the large segment of humankind that is living in extreme poverty, there is a large segment living in great affluence. According to Thomas Pogge it would cost only “around one percent of the disposable incomes of the most affluent tenth of humankind” to eradicate severe. The poor suffer more from the environmental pollution than the rich. They have less access to clean water and more often to deal with polluted air and soil.
The mentioned deprivations and the opportunity to eradicate severe poverty make global justice to one of the most pressing issues of our time. Fundamental to global justice is the question what the world’s rich owe to the world’s poor.
To put it a bit more abstractly: “Who must do what for whom?”. Many scholars argue that global justice requires a commitment to human rights. According to them freedom from poverty is a human right with corresponding obligations on the world’s rich. They contend that this right is massively violated by the present world order. This course will address the current controversies about the relations between global justice and human rights.
The course consists of 4 lectures, 4 group sessions and 1 conference.
Dr. René Gabriëls
This tutorial will be of interest to students of cultural studies, economics, European studies, international relations, law, political science, philosophy, sociology, and anyone reflecting on the relation between global justice and human rights.
In this course, you will learn:
• to reconstruct the different meanings of two contested concepts: global justice and human rights;
• to reflect on central problems related to both concepts, such as severe poverty, environmental pollution, the so-called ‘clash of cultures’, democratic deficits, the legitimacy of humanitarian interventions, the political constraints of the global justice movement and the gap between theory and practice;
• to present your ideas about a specific topic concerning global justice and human rights at a conference;
• to write a small paper (between 2000 and 3000 words).
EUR 800: Course + course materials