Declarations of rights are unique acts within legal history. They have an unusual dual dimension since they are both instruments of the rule of law and guarantors of the rights of the individual against the legal state. They thus blur the boundaries between private and public law and between positive and natural rights. In her work, A Declaration of Rights, Christine Fauré raises a simple question that amazingly has not been asked previously: What exactly does "declaring" rights mean?
Fauré thoroughly analyzes the makings of national and supranational declarations, from the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776 to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. She not only considers the political events or context that gave birth to these declarations, but also dissects their formulation, terms, and symbols in order to highlight their similitude.
The first declarations of human rights of the eighteenth century are linked by a progressive evolution in time to the supranational declarations that appeared during the twentieth century. Each declaration of rights responded to the concerns of a particular time and was born from some major historical event, such as the American War of Independence, the French Revolution, the two World Wars. These declarative texts, however, although they have never been considered obsolete, have been constantly readapted to fit current needs. They have been transmitted through time, along with a formal standardization, but never simply copied; they were always given a new interpretation in the light of specific events.
Fauré traces the trail of rights backward, from the creation of legal states to the establishment of an international community, bounded by the same concern about the preservation of human rights.
By demystifying the declarations of rights, Fauré offers an original study on a subject that was thought to have been exhausted, and allows the reader to understand how and why these texts—texts on which our civilizations are founded—were written.
A Declaration of Rights received the Prix Henri Texier I from the Academy of Moral and Political sciences.