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3.1 Types of incident

Now we can progress to an examination of some incidents by studying selected reports and publications.

Returning to the word ‘accident’, we can cite another definition:

An accident is an undesired event which results in physical harm and/or property damage. It usually results from a contact with a source of energy above the threshold limit of the body or structure.

(Kuhlman, 1977, p. 5)


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5.8 Review of criticisms of international rights

Activity 1

Review the four criticisms of rights at the international level discussed in the previous sections.

  1. Identify which of these criticisms are objections in principle to
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5.7 Relating individual rights to state sovereignty

The fourth set of problems is really a specific example of the third set and relates to the ways in which individual rights relate to state sovereignty. The Millennium Conference of the UN in 2000 endorsed the need for people-centred changes to the institution and renounced its previous ‘state-centred’ structure. The human-centred logic of rights regards human rights as a value which places legitimate constraints upon the politics of national self-interest and interstate competition. Chan
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5.6 Against whom are rights claims made?

The third set of problems relates to whom the rights claims are made against, and what kinds of claims can be made. In the case of individual human rights, a rights claim is usually addressed to or claimed against the legal order of the state. However, it is often one of the problems at the international level that either the state claimed against does not recognise the claim, or that the body claimed against is not a state (that is, a political entity that is in some sense morally accountabl
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5.4 The influence of the Western perspective

With regard to the first set of problems – that the rights discourse is not universal but is deeply informed by a Western perspective – it is striking that many actors and commentators on the international stage now frame their arguments and assertions in terms of the language of rights and justice. Yet we need to ask to what extent this language of rights and justice really underpins shared understandings and values. There is a strong case for saying that if there are shared understandin
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5.3 Problems with international rights

The international human rights discourse claims that the value of its conception of rights lies in it being universal, empowering and human-centred. The idea of universality asserts the relevance of human rights to anyone, anywhere. Empowerment is the concept of human rights as a defence against inequality and the domination of the powerful over the weak. The human-centred feature of international rights seeks to provide a perspective on global questions, ‘putting the value of human dignity
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5.2 Human rights in the international arena

The UN's 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserted that the ‘recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world’. It further affirmed that human rights should be protected by the rule of law, that they were ‘essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations’, that these fundamental human rights include the equal rights between men
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5.1 Rights, justice and international politics

What happens to notions of rights and justice when we move the discussion to the level of international politics?

In fact, three crucial things happen:

  1. The meaning of rights takes its bearings from the rights discourse developed from the UN Declaration. We will investigate the effects of this, both on rights and on international politics.

  2. We find that it is not always easy to establish who the right can be claimed against.
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4.2 Social and political justice

A particularly important set of debates arises in relation to different notions of distributive justice. Do notions of distributive justice apply to the rights of individuals and the acts that they commit, or do they also apply to states of affairs, to the pattern of the results arising from those actions? In the former case, an outcome is just or unjust if it arises from just or unjust actions; whereas in the latter, the principles of justice apply to the pattern of outcomes. This latter not
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4.1 Distributive and commutative justice

Justice is commonly thought to have two applications which Aristotle distinguished as ‘distributive’ and ‘commutative’ justice. The first, distributive justice, is concerned with the distributions of things (rights, goods, services and so on) among a class of individuals.

What is distributive justice?


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3.4 Debates about rights

There are at least four big debates about modern individual rights. The aim in putting these before you is to introduce these hotly contested issues to which there are no conclusive answers, but which help frame discussions about human rights. Considering these debates is designed to help you weigh up the different arguments and form your own opinions about the meaning and effectiveness of rights claims.

The first debate concerns how our rights are grounded. One view is that our
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3.2 What are rights?

The modern discourse of universal human rights has a number of features. The idea that everyone, everywhere has rights refers to the concept that there are certain entitlements justifiably owed to all individuals by virtue of certain features that all human beings have in common. As the nineteenth-century French politician and historian Alexis de Tocqueville put it, the idea of rights ‘removes from any request its supplicant character, and places the one who claims it on the same level as t
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2.1.1 Where did the attempt to define notions of rights internationally come from?

To some extent, this ideology of rights was new because it was expressed at the international level with new vigour, with the horrors of the Second World War and the calculated extermination of Jews, gypsies and others in mind. The discourse of individual rights had a stronger impact on international politics than at any time previously, as did the notion of a right to national self-determination. Yet this new departure for international politics also built upon ideas about rights that had be
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1 International human rights: an introduction

There are many examples of claims for rights in the international sphere.

One example was reported in September 2002. The British government was asked to make efforts to have a British man held by the Americans at Guantanamo Bay deported to Britain to face charges of terrorism there in connection with the attacks on 11 September 2001. Concerns were expressed about the denial of this man's human rights at Guantanamo Bay. Are alleged terrorists entitled to human rights? Can the denial of
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the different interpretations of internationally recognised notions of rights and justice

  • give examples of implementing justice in an international sphere

  • investigate questions in international studies

  • analyse the different agencies of change in the international system.


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Introduction

This course is about rights and rights claims, and the idea of implementing justice in the international sphere based on the concept of rights. It is agreed by most people that ‘rights are a good thing’ and in many respects they are. However, this course deliberately takes a critical view. It seeks to examine closely why rights are a good thing and highlights some of the problems associated with rights. In this way, we hope that the sense in which rights are still, ultimately, ‘a good t
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Acknowledgements

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce materia
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Approaches to software development
This free course, Approaches to software development, presents an engineering approach to the development of software systems – a software engineering approach. The course pays particular attention to issues of software quality, in terms of both product (what is built) and process (how we build it). First published on Mon, 18 Jun 2018 as Author(s): Creator not set

6.3 Summary of Section 6

  • In trying to find solutions to the specific problem of the water-boiler, where the need was for a particular response to a certain temperature change, we have gone into the principles behind the three classes of temperature effect – gradual, accelerating and sudden. This has provided you with mathematical models that are of real use in putting definite numbers to the magnitudes of these effects in any designs that are proposed. The ability to do this is ju
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