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Natural and Un-Natural Law
Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-Fam) - International Organisations Research Group (IORG) - Legal Studies Series (2010)
  • Jakob Cornides
On the basis of two recent publications (O’Flaherty/Fisher, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and International Human Rights Law: Contextualising the Yogyakarta Principles , and Zampas/Gher, Abortion as a Human Right – International and Regional Standards, both published in the Human Rights Law Review 2/2008), this paper examines how human rights related language is used by advocacy groups to promote their particular political agendas. A key element in this strategy is to assert ‘consensus’ around these agendas, be it of a political or academic nature, which remains to be implemented through legislation and administrative practice. A closer examination casts doubt on this ‘consensus’, with regard to its content as well as the procedure in which it is reached. This raises wider questions with regard to the way how human rights are ‘made’ nowadays: the ‘experts’ and advocacy groups that have gained control over much of the academic and political discourse on human rights, refusing to acknowledge an inalienable and inalterable Natural Law, underpin their campaigning with sentiments rather than with rational arguments. This paper was offered to the Human Rights Law Review for publication on 9 November 2008, in order to give this journal the possibility to equilibrate the position it had taken by publishing the two aforementioned articles. On 3 March 2009, the author was informed that “on this occasion you have not been successful in having your submission published: there are only 12 spaces a year to fill and there is, of course, stiff competition”. It seems thus that the Human Rights Law Review is determined to use its pages not as a forum for scholarly debate, but to promote a very questionable political agenda, wrapping it in human rights language.
Publication Date
May 13, 2010
Citation Information
Jakob Cornides, Natural and Un-Natural Law (2009); available at: