SOGOLAS Research Seminar "The Decrease of Universality and Abstractness Thesis in New Human Rights Development"

02/20/2019 - 16:00 - 17:30

SOGOLAS Research Seminar: Mart Susi 20.02

"The decrease of universality and abstractness thesis in new human rights development"
Mart Susi, Professor of Human Rights Law
Tallinn University School of Governance, Law and Society

20.02.2019 at 16:00-17:30 at Tallinn University, room M-648 (Uus-Sadama 5)

SOGOLAS Research Seminar: Mart Susi 20.02


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The presentation by Professor of Human Rights Law Mart Susi will give an overview of the research into the phenomenon of new human rights development, conducted during the Horizon 2020 project Hurmur. It will concentrate on the aspect of novelty and will discuss two theses. “The inadequacy of protection thesis” says that the main reason for the advancement of a new human rights claim is the incapability of established human rights to provide adequate protection of certain vulnerable or marginalized groups in comparison with the others, or that the novel contemporary conditions challenge the capability of an established human right to provide sufficient protection of an important social value.

There are two main groups of new human rights claims, the first being related to the enhanced protection of certain groups using the existing human rights, and the second being related to the derivation from or implication of new human rights from established stand-alone human rights. The first process is characterized by the decrease of the universality of established human rights, and the second by the decrease of the level of abstractness of the respective new human rights claim. This is termed “the decrease in universality and abstractness thesis”, which, inter alia, leads to the rejection of the proposition that the universe of human rights can grow endlessly.

Due to the elements of abstractness and universality required by definition in all human rights, and since the evidence shows that these elements are decreasing in new human rights claims, then the elements of universality and abstractness cannot diminish indefinitely and at some point new claims cannot surpass the threshold of a human right. Consequently, the process of human rights inflation has limits.

Everyone is welcome to participate!


Activity is financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the institutional package measure for R&D institutions and higher education institutions (ASTRA) and is organised by Doctoral School of Behavioural, Social and Health Sciences.