What are human rights? What justifies us in believing we have them? What are rights-holders and duty-bearers? Who should bear the costs and responsibilities for making human rights real? Why have some criticized the human rights perspective? And how can those supportive of human rights best respond? These and other conceptual issues are discussed in full in the first part of this book. The second part offers a detailed account of how the human rights idea came to be such a powerful force in the contemporary world; it traces the evolution of human rights from their origins to their present position in our daily lives, in political struggles, and in both national and international law.