CFP: /Philosophies/ Special Issue: The Philosophy of Human Rights Obligations and Omissions

Submission deadline: June 30, 2021

Topic areas


Dear Colleagues,

The main topic of this Special Issue is human rights omissions. States as the primary human rights duty bearers are found wanting more often than not, failing to respect, protect and fulfill human rights according to the commitments made. Such omissions are hinged on the existence of obligations; thus, the two should be discussed in relation to each other. We welcome papers from a wide variety of philosophical and multi-disciplinary perspectives (philosophy, law, political science, economy, theology, etc.) that address these topics and the relationships between them.

Despite the many formal political achievements in the form of declarations, bills and treaties, actual human rights implementation remains illusionary to the majority of humans. The reasons are manyfold and include (1) deliberately vague terminology in legal documents, (2) a lack of national codification, (3) weak and failing states, (4) the inherently voluntary nature of commitments made by sovereign states and (5) the unclear responsibility of dominant and obtrusive actors such as large multinational corporations.

Problems such as these are known to states and grassroots activist alike, yet the common conclusion seems to be to proceed with caution. A possible explanation for this could be that the feasibility of new reforms is unclear to all, while the risks in terms of a possible loss of gains made in such a would-be renegotiation is equally clear. A careful maintenance of the status quo focusing on ceremonial implementation was hardly the aim of any actor but has still become a reasonable description of the current situation.

To promote progress in the field of human rights, academically as well as in society, it is crucial that the human rights discourse focuses more on known yet highly volatile issues such as these. The aim of this Special Issue is to contribute to a substantive discussion on human rights obligations and omissions by, among other things, formulating a concrete and functional critique of the understandings, assumptions and mechanisms for human rights protection and implementation.

Dr. Cathrine Felix
Dr. Olof Beckman
Guest Editors


  • Human rights claims
  • Structural violations
  • Philosophy of obligations and omissions
  • Non-state actors
  • State sovereignty
  • Just satisfaction

Please contact Special Issue editor Viktor Ćirković at [email protected] for further information.

Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287, is an international peer-reviewed open access journal. The journal has recently been indexed into Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) in Web of Science.

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