New Casebook—International Human Rights by P. Alston available in an Open Access Publication

Philip Alston’s International Human Rights textbook is now available free of charge in a comprehensively revised edition and on an Open Access basis starting July 8, 2024.

This book examines the world of contemporary human rights, including legal norms, political contexts and moral ideals. It acknowledges the regime’s strengths and weaknesses, and focuses on today’s principal challenges. These include the struggles against resurgent racism and anti-gender ideology, the implications of new technologies for fact-finding and many other parts of the regime, the continuing marginality of economic, social and cultural rights, radical inequality, climate change, and the evermore central role of the private sector.

The boundaries of the subject have steadily expanded as the post-World War II regime has become an indelible part of the legal, political and moral landscape. Given the breadth and complexity of the regime, the book takes an interdisciplinary and critical approach.

imaginative and stimulating materials with thought-provoking commentary… a wonderful teaching tool, as well as a valuable starting point for research.

Judge Hilary Charlesworth, Judge of the International Court of Justice.

Features include:

  • A focus on current issues such as new technologies, climate change, counter-terrorism, reparations, sanctions, and universal jurisdiction;
  • Expanded focus on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and other forms of discrimination and the backlash against efforts to combat them;
  • Introductory chapters that provide the necessary overview of international law;
  • An interdisciplinary approach that puts human rights issues into their broader political, economic, and cultural contexts;
  • Diverse and critical perspectives dealt with throughout;
  • Sections dealing with political economy of human rights and the challenge of growing inequality;
  • Issues of international humanitarian law are widely reflected; and
  • Focus on current situations in Ukraine, Gaza, Myanmar, Venezuela, and others

Major themes that run through the book include the colonial and imperial objectives often pursued in the name of human rights, evolving notions of autonomy and sovereignty, the changing configuration of the public-private divide in human rights ordering, the escalating tensions between international human rights and national security, and the striking evolution of ideas about the nature and purposes of the regime itself.

This book is a successor to previous volumes entitled International Human Rights in Context (1996, 2000 and 2008, all co-authored with Henry Steiner and in 2008 also with Ryan Goodman) and International Human Rights: Text and Materials (2013, co-authored with Ryan Goodman). “All four volumes were published by Oxford University Press, and I am grateful to them for reverting all rights to the author in order to enable this Open Access publication” says Alston. 

The 2024 comprehensively revised edition will be available free of charge and can be downloaded in either a single pdf file for the entire book or separate files for each of the eighteen chapters.