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UNICEF Social Inclusion, Policy and Budgeting

Human Rights and Capabilities

Cover Image
AUTHOR Amartya Sen
ORGANIZATION Journal of Human Development
TYPE Journal Article
DATE 2005
TOPIC Child poverty and disparities

The two concepts -- human rights and capabilities -- go well with each other, so long as we do not try to subsume either concept entirely within the territory of the other. There are many human rights that can been seen as rights to particular capabilities. However, human rights to important process freedoms cannot be adequately analysed within the capability framework. Furthermore, both human rights and capabilities have to depend on the process of public reasoning. The methodology of public scrutiny draws on Rawlsian understanding of objectivity in ethics, but the impartiality that is needed cannot be confined within the borders of a nation. Public reasoning without territorial confinement is important for both.                        

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