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December 4, 2016
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Rhoda Howard-Hassmann, PhD, FRSC

Social Change and Human Rights

Rhoda Howard-Hassmann

published: 2012 | Working paper | unpublished work

This chapter argues that those countries that protect human rights have undergone long-term social change. Very complex interactions among citizen activism; political and legal arrangements; institutional development; and economic arrangements produce these rights-protective societies. Both political democracy and a market economy are necessary aspects of a rights-protective society. States that protect human rights also manifest advanced institutional development, in the form of accountable and transparent governments and bureaucracies and disciplined, uncorrupt militaries and police under the control of and obedient to civilian rule. None of this occurs without citizen activism from below; moreover, there is no necessary progress to human rights, and regression in their protection can occur.

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revised Apr 3/12

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