Amsterdam University Press
De Universele Verklaring van de Rechten van de Mens en de historicus
Title
De Universele Verklaring van de Rechten van de Mens en de historicus
Price
€ 15,99
ISBN
9789085550976
Format
Paperback
Number of pages
58
Publication date
Dimensions
14.8 x 21 cm
Discipline
History

Antoon de Baets

De Universele Verklaring van de Rechten van de Mens en de historicus

There is perhaps no text with a broader impact on our lives than the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It is strange, therefore, that historians have paid so little attention to it. I argue that the potential impact of the UDHR on historians is profound. After asking whether the UDHR contains a general view of history, I address the consequences of the UDHR for the rights and duties of historians, and explain how it deals with their subjects of study. I demonstrate that the UDHR is a direct source of five important rights for historians: the rights to free expression and information, to meet and found associations, to copyright, to academic freedom, and to silence. It is also an indirect source of three duties for historians: the duties to produce expert knowledge about the past, to disseminate it, and to teach about it. I further discuss the limits to, and conflicts among, these rights and duties. The UDHR has also an impact on historians' subjects of study: I argue that the UDHR applies to the living but not to the dead, and that, consequently, it is a compass for studying recent rather than remote historical injustice. Nevertheless, and although it is itself silent about the historians' core duties to find and tell the historical truth, the UDHR firmly supports an emerging imprescriptible right to the truth. If the UDHR is a 'Magna Carta of all men everywhere' (Eleanor Roosevelt), it surely is for all historians.
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Author

Antoon de Baets

Antoon de Baets is Professor of History, Ethics and Human Rights at the University of Groningen.