At Davos on January 17, President Xi Jinping spoke of China’s determination to play a responsible role to “secure peace and reduce poverty.” Xi was applauded. Yet China abuses the fundamental human rights of its people, undermines international human rights institutions, and indeed subverts the very concept of individual human rights.
Had Castro been executed while in prison, history may indeed have absolved him for his role in attempting to overthrow the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Instead, Castro would live to become an even more brutal and ruthless despot than the one he replaced.
The over-emphasis on human rights multilateralism, despite its paltry results (not to mention the expanding range of human rights claims), has undermined faith in those standards and, indeed, faith in the idea of human rights itself.
Samuel Moyn’s Christian Human Rights argues that human rights should not be associated exclusively with the secular liberal left and liberal politics when the Christian right was historically involved with this project.