Human Rights: Legal Aspects

Publication Type:

Book Chapter


International {Encyclopedia} of the {Social} & {Behavioral} {Sciences} ({Second} {Edition}), Elsevier, Oxford, p.375–379 (2015)





African human rights, Betweenness, Discipline, HUMAN rights, Human rights activism, Human rights instruments, Human rights movement, international human rights, international law, Law, rights, Social life, Transnational activist network


Human rights can be viewed from legal and sociolegal perspectives. From a legal perspective, human rights are the rights derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other human rights instruments; they are enforced on both international and domestic levels. Sociolegal perspectives, embedded within the disciplines of history, sociology, anthropology, and international relations, instruct that human rights are not constrained only by law; they have their own history, sociology, social life, and transnational activist networks. The issue may be posed whether the field of human rights has moved beyond a topic of interdisciplinary research to become a distinct discipline.

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