Establishment and Revision of Rights

The negotiation of rights is usually a political process.  People’s differing moral views on the assignment of human rights tend to manifest themselves as political preferences.  Political systems vary in the extent to which they enable the population to influence its politicians and initiate meaningful negotiation (6.8.4), but all systems have to take some account of people’s political preferences.  Politicians can negotiate on behalf of the people for most categories of Human rights:

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Appendix 1)was politically negotiated; it could be renegotiated at the UN If there were pressure for change.
  • Some human rightswhich do not change rapidly, and for which coercive enforcement is thought appropriate, are embodied in the law. These are agreed by a country’s legislature (5.1.3), which includes elected politicians in democratic countries and political appointees elsewhere.
  • Governments assign socio-economic rights ( by taking account of people’s moral/political preferences and the economic considerations (3.5.2). The levels of entitlement need regular review, to balance fairness and affordability.

As described in chapter 6, politicians represent the people they serve when negotiating on their behalf to reach agreements to assign Moral, Legal and Political rights and to decide how those rights are to be upheld.



This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3a book, © PatternsofPower.org, 2020.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/4244.htm