Paper authored by Deepanshu Mohan Published in Journal of Governance and Regulation (Volume 6, Issue 3) -

August 08, 2017

A discourse on human rights, is built on including such rights as part of a broader, universal framework (accommodating for moral, ethical claims) that go beyond any constitutionally derived claims and rights or any given set of legitimate laws that are defined by the sovereign of a country. In recent decades, invoking a discussion on safeguarding human rights has become a major way of challenging the level of inequities and oppression within and across countries today that are circumscribing the possibilities of realizing any form of developmental growth. This paper makes an attempt to study the basic formulation of rights, particularly in context of a human rights based approach to development (through a right to development) and exploring its analytical affiliation with the discipline of social choice theory. The social choice approach, as discussed in the paper, has something substantial to offer within the moral, ethical considerations involved in human right(s) formulation by offering a more systematic, non-arbitrary, analytical reasoning basis to the subject. Without getting into the mathematical details of the axioms involved in the theoretical construction of social choice, I draw a general linkage between the formal reasoning behind social choice theory (i.e. involving a diverse set of individual values and preferences in its social welfare function) and its operational connection with human rights, using freedoms as an integral part of the human rights based approach to development.