The Process of Decolonization, the Emergence of International Human Rights, and the Current De Facto Inequality of International Law

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Abstract

An analysis of the process of decolonization in the Cold War decades after World War II offers two fundamental insights about the undercurrents of modern international law. Firstly, as developing ‘Third World’ states acquired formal sovereignty, the international legal system of European origins had truly become universal. Secondly, through this acquisition of statehood, the international community no longer solely consisted of the traditional club of European states. This article analyzes the ramifications of developing states subscribing to the Eurocentric international legal system. In light of its foundations in exclusively catering to European interests, it is contemplated whether modern international law can adequately accommodate the desires and needs of the new non-European states, who collectively represent over half of the global community. The analysis focuses on the emergence of international human rights to find that formal sovereign equality of developing states has not translated into actual power equality on the international plane. The article endeavors to provide a foundation for future scholarship by proposing a search for an approach that first and foremost values functional harmony and compatibility
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-266
JournalYonsei Journal of International Studies
Volume7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

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