Dr. Sharon (Shaimah) Mendoza Dreisbach International Business
Liberalism on Human Rights in the Context of International Relations
International Relations and Foreign Policy are both subfields of political science. There is a very thin line that can only differentiate the two disciplines, otherwise, both are interrelated in many aspects.
However, both disciplines have continuing importance in the study of politics. One of the most prevailing relevance is how to fully comprehend the deeply-rooted issues on human rights. In the context of International Relations, one of the most prominent perspectives is liberalism. In the history of liberalism, it is embedded in several philosophical aspects that hypothesized that every ‘human nature is fundamentally good’. Nonetheless, in the context of Foreign Policy, there is a continuing relevance in terms of its innovative contribution in comprehending the behavior of different international actors. These international actors are not only referring to political dignitaries or the government per se but it does involve other international organizations, transnational companies, a transnational terrorist group and non-state-based actors who play in the deployment of foreign policies.
The assumption on the normative or moral elements in political life, somehow raises many questions on the context ‘that every human nature is fundamentally good’. The state or government is the primary actor that plays an important role in demonstrating the context ‘that every human nature is fundamentally good’.
But what went wrong when the state or government become the abusers of human rights? The world knows about the plight of Rohingya that for many years had face discrimination and repression that leads to ethnic cleansing by the Burmese government. What about the other actors such as the transnational terrorist group who recently claimed the bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka? The transnational companies like the offshore supply ship Malaviya Seven that was detained on the grounds in UK port for not paying the wages of the crew? Should human rights be universalized? What will the state or government and international society do about it?
International human rights have transpired as another key issue in world politics. Treaties have been signed across the globe but for some countries, state or government sovereignty remains unchallenged and unchanged. Years ago, how the states or government treated its citizens and other nationalities within their own jurisdiction was their own responsibility. But in today’s century, that is no longer true. Whatever happens in one country or continent in this world is being watched and heard around the world. The human rights issues are becoming a prominent international agenda. The agenda on how individuals or group be treated ethically. Over the years, philosophers and theologians have been articulating about ethical treatment to every living being, while novelists and essayists have been calling to stop inhumane activities.
As human rights are increasingly calling the attention of the world leaders and other key actors, it is now becoming an international responsibility. International Humanitarian Law and the International Bill of Rights has been established for many years. It is through International Relations and Foreign Policy that the key actors can uphold the welfare of every living being in this world.