US "Human Rights" Policy : an appraisal

  • Koenraad Lenaerts


In the wake of the 1980 CSCE follow-up meeting US human rights objectives should be defined contextually so as to include besides the traditional human rights ingredients, i.e. the right to personal integrity, civil and politica! liberties, such values as peace, national security, nuclear non-proliferation, economie growth and redistribution. To this effect, the US should stress more a proper «world order» as its ultimate policy goal. Doing so would provide it at once with the flexibility needed in the international forum and with the credibility needed on the domestic scene, in order to achieve some visible results. A high-pitched declaratory policy in favor of human rights leads to ineffectiveness with Communist nations and to arbitrary pressures on authoritarian countries which somehow rely on US assistance.
Thus, the US should proceed contextually on the basis of a more balanced «human rights» concept.

How to Cite:

Lenaerts, K., (1980) “US "Human Rights" Policy : an appraisal”, Res Publica 22(4), 619-632. doi:

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Published on
30 Dec 1980
Peer Reviewed