Let’s not talk about universality

10 December 2018
Lea Raible in Law

Seventy years to the day have passed since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted. International human rights have since gained ground in theory, discourse, and practice. In this short post, I argue that for human rights to regain some of their traction, we should take care not to use claims to universality in order to avoid substantive moral and legal debates.

Lea Raible

Lea is an Assistant Professor in International Law. Before coming to Maastricht, she held an Early Career Fellowship in International Law at the University of Edinburgh and taught at University College London and the University of Zurich. She holds a PhD in Law from University College London.


Her research concerns questions about the value of territory and political community (or lack thereof) in international and comparative constitutional law. In particular, she is interested in the extraterritorial application of human rights obligations and the constitutional management of secessions, including through referendums. Her work cuts across international and constitutional law, as well as legal and political philosophy.