The philosopher Immanuel Kant developed the principle of rights theory that essentially states that each individual human has a unique dignity and worth that must be respected. The current collection of essays discusses human rights and dignity from a global perspective. This continues to be a universal concern, manifesting itself in numerous specific situations. If you are concerned about how dignity should be expressed in diverse settings, such as the Internet, issues touching women’s work and human trafficking, and the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, there are thoughtful thinkers who explore these topics.
Twenty-two essays are clustered under three headings: “Special Problems,” “Women and Children Issues,” and “Indigenous and Migrant Issues.” The editors state in the preface:
Their writings support Jack Donnelly’s (1984) comment in his analysis of cultural relativism that there is near universal agreement that certain things cannot be legitimately done to human beings and failure to act or even speak out against the grossest affronts to human dignity on the grounds of cultural relativism would constitute moral cowardice.
This work seeks to foster debate and a search for solutions by shining a spotlight on the daily lives of indignity that so many live. While possibly a depressing enterprise, it is also essential.
Each essay concludes with a list of references and a biographical sketch of the contributor. There is a comprehensive index covering all the essays. One concludes the readings by thinking that, surely, we humans can do better and must do better as our global world becomes increasingly interconnected. We will do better as knowledge informs power.