Human rights has become the dominant vernacular for framing social problems around the world. In this book, Dominique Clément presents a paradox in politics, law, and social practice: he argues that whereas framing grievances as human rights violations has become an effective strategy, the increasing appropriation of rights-talk to frame any and all grievances undermines attempts to address systemic social problems. His argument is followed by commentator response from several leading human rights scholars and practitioners in Canada and abroad who bridge the divide between academia, public policy, and practice.
“In Canada, as in many other advanced countries, human rights have proliferated, leading many commentators to proclaim that rights have triumphed over other modes of social organization. Perhaps so, but Dominique Clément worries that ‘rights inflation’ beyond the protection of core interests paradoxically interferes with broader efforts to achieve social justice. In this fascinating book, Clément lays out a powerful account of the dark side of the Canadian experience of human rights. Four responses by leading experts give the reader numerous perspectives on this difficult problem.” —Eric Posner, Professor, University of Chicago Law School