Amy Kapczynski and Talha Syed Think Advocates Can Learn from Human Rights Debate

Intellectual Property Watch, February 19, 2010 by Kaitlin Mara

It is necessary to examine what ‘human rights’ means, said Amy Kapczynski of University of California Berkeley Law School. There are at least three different ways to look at human rights: as an analytic or philosophical framework, as “t-shirt rights” or political claims that are more normative than legal, and as a set of legal structures and commitments, she said.

“Distributive justice is a much more promising approach” than rights, suggested Talha Syed, an assistant professor at the University of California Berkeley Law School, as rights are often associated with “absolutist claims of inviolable interest” which can be impractical.