Do Affluent Countries Violate the Human Rights of the Global Poor?
AbstractIn this article I consider Thomas Pogge’s thesis that affluent countries are violating the human rights of the global poor by contributing support to the current global institutional order. My claim is that affluent countries are not violating the human rights of the global poor in the ways suggested by Pogge. I start by defining a set of conditions that ought to obtain in order to say that a human rights violation has taken place. Then I consider two possible interpretations of Pogge’s thesis and argue that none of them fulfills the conditions required to speak of a human rights violation. On my view, as long as domestic states have the capacity to fulfill the human rights of their own people, poverty constitutes a domestic human rights violation even if the international institutional order somehow contributes to creating this state of affairs. Finally, I examine what transnational duties human rights entail and claim that affluent countries must contribute to the creation of an international order providing domestic states accurate background conditions for the promotion of human rights at the domestic level.