Human Rights and Peace: Laws, Institutions and Movements explores the shifts in the way peace has been envisaged in the rhetoric and practice of human rights. Peace has come to be seen as a continuing process of the pursuit of liberation, a progressive dismantling of relationships, of exploitation based on gender, caste, class, race, ethnicity and nationality, and a countervailing force to the coercive practices of the state. Woven around the themes of ideas, laws and institutions, and movements, the articles in this volume show how peace has become an over-arching framework in the domain of human rights. The book traces how the idea of peace has transformed from a passive condition of 'sepulchral silence' associated with 'guided' peace, into a praxis led by and producing radical politics of liberatory change. The volume examines: " The distinct claims that peace makes to durable rights which are not subject to arbitrary withdrawals or selective investment by the state; " The articulations of right to peace in the largely unexplored processes of 'conflict resolution' in South Asia; and " The role of human rights movement and institutions in situations of prolonged absence of peace, sustained repression by the state, and unprecedented growth in non-state violence of all kinds.
While as a bundle of ideas the human rights discourse has expanded to include civil, political, economic and cultural rights, moving from individual rights to rights of groups and communities, in practice these rights have been dispensed with wherever they were incompatible with state power and the interests of private capital. When exploring the idea of peace as enumerated in human rights instruments and articulated in scholarly writings on rights, the questions that one must necessarily ask are: (a) What are the claims that peace allows to be made which are different from those that have hitherto existed? (b) How do these claims create the enabling conditions which assure the durability of rights so that they are not subject to arbitrary withdrawals or selective ...