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The Limits of Human Rights Limits
American Journal of International Law  (IF3.091),  Pub Date : 2021-01-15, DOI: 10.1017/ajil.2020.109
Henry J. Richardson

Rescuing Human Rights: A Radically Moderate Approach (Rescuing) was published shortly before the outbreak in 2020 of the novel coronavirus and its myriad human rights and class issues regarding equality, discrimination, health, and labor rights of people of color. This was also prior to the concurrent public murder of George Floyd as an unarmed Black man by the Minneapolis police in late May 2020, and the resulting continuing Black Lives Matter massive national and international movement against the deaths of Floyd and others and the history of systemic American racism, including police shooting deaths, discrimination, and brutality against African Americans, particularly unarmed Black men. Such comprehensive street protests have not been seen in America since 1968. They represent, inter alia, the cover of disguises of national racism being publicly stripped away, and the national confrontation with irrefutable evidence of a wide spectrum of systemic rights violations and the deficits of American law and government to ensure African Americans’ basic rights. Further, Rescuing was published before it became fully apparent that the federal government's responses to Black Lives Matter, particularly the executive branch, would fan the racial conflicts of national mourning and demands for new justice narratives, rather than healing and unifying for American citizens as a whole, even as these protests were the most diverse in recent memory.