Re: Is democracy a prerequisite for human rights?

Democracy – or that is to say the right to elect one’s government; to have the rule of law; to have a civil society – those are all rights issues. In order to have a democracy, you really do have respect for a broad range of rights. It’s hard to conceive . . . In fact almost ___________, if you don’t have democracy, you won’t have respect for basic rights. The real problem though is that many people take a . . . a sort of a narrow conception of democracy and equate that with rights. And that equation is wrong. You find this where governments – you know from Reagan all the way up to the current Bush administration – have tried to promote mere elections as being the . . . the . . . the full scope of the human rights agenda. And if we can just, you know, get a government to hold an election – regardless of how corrupt it is; regardless of what’s done to . . . to imprison the opposition; or to shut down the opposition newspaper; or to get rid of dissidents – we’ll still call it a democracy because they held an election, and then everything’s fine. We can ignore their human rights record. That superficial notion which, unfortunately, tends to prevail all too frequently in Washington . . . that in no . . . that has very little to do with a human rights agenda. But I think a more sophisticated . . . a fuller understanding of democracy is very compatible indeed . . . to a larger extent equates with a complete human rights agenda

The two go hand in hand, says Roth.

Related Articles

A controversial theory claims past, present, and future exist at the same time

Our experience of time may be blinding us to its true nature, say scientists.

Back to the Future.
Surprising Science
  • Time may not be passing at all, says the Block Universe Theory.
  • Time travel may be possible.
  • Your perception of time is likely relative to you and limited.
Keep reading Show less

Six disastrous encounters with the world’s most hostile uncontacted tribe

From questionable shipwrecks to outright attacks, they clearly don't want to be bothered.

Culture & Religion
  • Many have tried to contact the Sentinelese, to write about them, or otherwise.
  • But the inhabitants of the 23 square mile island in the Bay of Bengal don't want anything to do with the outside world.
  • Their numbers are unknown, but either 40 or 500 remain.
Keep reading Show less