Sad News

Human rights just lost one of its giants: Louis Henkin died this morning.

Professor Henkin is often referred to as “the father of human rights” for his (at the time groundbreaking) insistence that international law and constitutional law belonged in the same conversation. All of us in the field owe him a great debt, especially those of us who, as his students at Columbia, benefited directly from his wisdom and kindness.

He’s probably best known for his quote “almost all nations observe almost all principles of international law and almost all of their obligations almost all of the time,” but I’ll leave you with this one instead:

“[T]here is now a working consensus that every man and woman, between birth and death, counts, and has a claim to an irreducible core of integrity and dignity. In that consensus, in the world we have and are shaping, the idea of human rights is the essential idea.”

Kate Cronin-Furman

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