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Web Letter

On its face, Barbara Crossette picks up an interesting question and thoughtfully examines it from the perspective of existing international institutions and treaties. Unfortunately, Crossette falls into the trap of narrowly defining human rights to include only civil and political rights, while ignoring so-called "second-generation" human rights like economic, social and cultural rights.

The human rights framework is broader than torture and racism, and until the American human rights movement starts addressing the structural violence that is at the root of the current economic crisis, it will be forever prematurely handicapping itself to the confines of a limiting debate.

A more thoughtful essay would have made the case for why the Obama administration should adopt a holistic human rights framework to advance its domestic economic agenda instead of cherry-picking human rights to include only civil and political rights.

David Goodner

Iowa City, IO

Feb 11 2009 - 4:58pm

Web Letter

Note for Ms. Crossette re "adopted a clear declaration that 'the Holocaust must never be forgotten.' "

Perhaps a different frame? It could only be helpful to note that there've been many holocausts, and none of them should ever be forgotton. Supporting this kind of imagined exclusivity without mentioning that only exacerbates the problems. There is no hierarchy of victims, and there's always plenty of suffering to go around.

Novelle Saarinen

San Francisco, CA

Feb 10 2009 - 4:53am

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