This chapter traces the history of the international human rights movement back to the anti-slavery movement that took hold in England in the second half of the eighteenth century. It details how the anti-slavery movement was instrumental in securing the abolition of slavery in many countries. It also reviews ways in which the human rights cause became an important force in world affairs in the mid-to-late 1970s. The chapter looks into the favorable development in the recent years for human rights, such as the readiness of a number of leading business corporations to take stands on human rights issues. It also suggests that the progress in the human rights movement is to keep building the public constituency for rights, until the dynamic that resulted in significant improvements that that took place in the 1980s and 1990s is re-created.
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