Why we cannot truly implement human rights unless we also recognize human responsibilities When we debate questions in international law, politics, and justice, we often use the language of rights—and far less often the language of responsibilities. Human rights scholars and activists talk about state responsibility for rights, but they do not articulate clear norms about other actors’ obligations. In this book, Kathryn Sikkink argues that we cannot truly implement human rights unless we also recognize and practice the corresponding human responsibilities. Focusing on five areas—climate change, voting, digital privacy, freedom of speech, and sexual assault—and providing many examples of on‑the‑ground initiatives where people choose to embrace a close relationship between rights and responsibilities, Sikkink argues for the importance of responsibilities to any comprehensive understanding of political ethics and human rights.
About the Author
Kathryn Sikkink is the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Table of Contents
Preface: In Memory xi
1 What Together We Can Do 1
2 Laying Out the Theoretical Groundwork 26
3 Global Rights and Responsibilities: Climate Change and Digital Defense against the Dark Arts 53
4 National Rights and Responsibilities: Voting 79
5 What Do the Students Think? 93
6 Changing Norms and Practices 110
7 The Rights and Responsibilities Framework on Campus: Speech and Sexual Assault 125