Righting Wrongs or Wronging Rights? The United States and Human Rights Post-September 11

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    What impact are US policies having on the fabric of international human rights law in the wake of September 11? This paper examines this question from three largely independent angles. First, US policies embody discrimination against non-citizens and between non-citizens, which is pushing international law to clarify the rights of non-citizens and the relationship between such discrimination and discrimination based on race, nationality and religion. Second, in assessing the impact of US policies, we must consider not only the actions of the United States but also the reactions of the rest of the world. When we broaden our focus in this way, interesting divisions emerge both between states and within states, which are relevant to the formation of customary international human rights law. Finally, the premise that the international terrorist threat is ‘novel’ has been used by the United States to justify picking and choosing between existing laws and to claim that there are legal vacuums in international law. This raises questions about the validity of taking an à la carte approach to international law and whether there are ways to protect against similar legal vacuums arising in the future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)721-749
    JournalEuropean Journal of International Law
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


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