Towards an Empathic Human Rights

Applications and Evaluations in Re-Asserting the Human

  • Richard Raber


This article conceives of human rights as a tool for promoting the values of its users. It links human rights to a continuous pursuit of a dynamic equality, which is rooted in empathy. Highlighting issues including the problematic association of human rights with the judiciary and the tool’s co-optation by sources of power, the article calls for a re-evaluation of our institutions. States are pre-eminent agents in providing human rights protections, but this must be challenged as the constitution of the state’s organs are reconsidered, specifically regarding how the colonial experience has shaped the modern state. This leads to a reconfiguration of understandings of responsibility for human rights protections and violations. The piece calls for a reconsideration of whom the “humans” are that human rights are designed to protect. The article concludes by condemning the extension of property rights, and their abuse by corporate entities through intellectual, moral and practical lenses.