World human rights guide /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Humana, Charles.
Edition:3rd ed.
Imprint:New York : Oxford University Press, 1992.
Description:xix, 393 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
Subject:Civil rights -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Human rights -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Civil rights.
Human rights.
Handbooks and manuals.
Format: Print Book
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Hidden Bibliographic Details
ISBN:0195079264 (pbk.)
0195076745 (acid-free paper)
Notes:Includes bibliographical references and index.
Review by Choice Review

This revised edition covers human rights in 120 countries. Its percentage-rating system is its most important difference from descriptive annuals, such as the US State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights or Amnesty International Report (1961-). Some 40 categories of rights are evaluated in 90 countries, but only summary information is given for the rest. This is misleading because summary entries are rated differently. Only careful reading reveals that a rating of ``poor'' equals 41 to 75 percent, a wide range. The 1985 State Department report notes the ``conceptual difficulty in applying a single standard'' to countries with different traditions and political realities, hence the rating system may obscure more than it explains. The Guide excludes Lebanon, Chad, and other contested places, but these areas often have the worst abuses. Although the compiler defends his ``Western, liberal'' bias, it can result in misunderstandings. For example, he states that confrontation in South Africa may lead to a ``moderation of apartheid,'' but the South African majority wants political power, not white moderation. Humana's use of the terms ``Bantu'' and ``tribal'' are unconscionable. In addressing human rights violations, the purpose should be not to rate them, but to stop them. The Amnesty International Report does this very well and its work is much more straightforward and useful.-A. Kagan, University of Connecticut

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review