Document Type : Article


1 Ph.D. Student in International Law, Islamic Azad University, Qaemshahr, Mazandaran, Iran

2 Assistance Prof., Department of Law, Faculty of Law and Political Science, Islamic Azad University, chaloos, Mazandaran, Iran



The international human-rights system includes a wide range of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights (about 40 different rights) that are enshrined in a number of international instruments, general and particular, regional and global. This dispersion implies a kind of separation and division within human rights. It also corresponds to a kind of hierarchy and prioritization between different rights with different content and principles. By explaining James Nickel's theory of indivisibility and interdependence of human rights, this paper seeks to answer whether it is possible to separate and hierarchize human rights, or whether all rights are interrelated and interdependent. The main purpose of this study is to explain the inter-relationship of human rights under the doctrine of indivisibility and interdependence of human rights with special emphasis on the theory of James Nickel. This theory leads to the finding that depending on the effect of one right on other rights in terms of necessity or usefulness, their relationship is either indivisible (based on the principle of necessity) or interdependent (based on the principle of usefulness).


  1. Engish

    1. A) Books
    2. Nickel, James W (2006), Making Sense of Human Rights, California: University of California Press, 2nd ed.
    3. Sen, Amartya Kumar (1999), Development as Freedom, New York: Oxford University Press.
    4. Shue, Henry (1996), Basic Rights: Subsistence, Affluence, and U.S. Foreign Policy, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2nd ed.
    5. Winston, Morton Emanuel (1999), Indivisibility and Interdependence of Human Rights, Nebraska: University of Nebraska-Lincoln.



    1. B) Articles
    2. Anthony, Dorothea (2010), “Indivisibility of Human Rights: A Theoretical Critique”, University of Technology, Sydney, LLB Student.
    3. Ashford, Elizabeth (2009), “In What Sense Is the Right to Subsistence a Basic Right?”, Journal of Social Philosophy, Vol. 40, No. 4, pp. 488-503.
    4. Beco, Gauthier De (2019), “The Indivisibility of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, International & Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol. 68, pp. 141-160.
    5. Domoraadzki, Spasimir, Khostova Margaryta & Pupovac David (2019),“Karel Vasak’s Generations of Rights and the Contemporary Human Rights Discourse”, Human Rights Review, Vol. 20, pp.423-443.
    6. Gilabert, Pablo (2010), “The Importance of Linkage Arguments for the Theory and Practice of Human Rights: A Response to James Nickel”, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 425-438.
    7. Marks, Stephen P (1985), “Emerging Human Rights: A New Generation for the 1980s”, Rutgers Law Review, Vol. 33, No. 2, 1981, pp. 435-452; reprinted International Law: A Contemporary Perspective, Falk, Kratochwil and Mendlovitz (eds.), Westview Press, pp. 501-513.
    8. Nickel, James W (2016), “Can a right to health care be justified by linkage arguments?”, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, Vol. 37, No. 4, pp. 293-306.
    9. Nickel, James W (2010), “Indivisibility and Linkage Arguments: A Reply to Gilabert”, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 32, pp. 433-440.
    10. Nickel, James W (2008), “Rethinking Indivisibility: Towards a Theory of Supporting Relations Between Human Rights”, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 30, pp.984-1001.
    11. Quane, Helen (2012), “A Further Dimension to the Interdependence: Recent Developments Concerning the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, Harvard Human Rights Journal, Vol. 25, pp. 49-84.
    12. Sano, Hans-Otto (2000), “Development and Human Rights: The Necessary, But Partial Integration of Human Rights and Development”, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp.734-752.
    13. Zylberman, Ariel (2017), “The Indivisibility of Human Rights”, Law and Philosophy, Vol. 36, No. 4, pp.389-418.


    1. C) Documents
    2. American Convention on Human Rights.
    3. European Convention on Human Rights and fundamental freedoms.
    4. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1966.
    5. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) 1966.
    6. Proclamation of Teheran 1968
    7. Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948.
    8. Vienna Declaration of human rights and programme of Action 1993.


    References in Persian:

    1. A) Books
    2. Rasekh, Mohammad (2016), Right and Expediency: Articles on The Philosophy of Law, Philosophy of Right and Philosophy of Value, Tehran: NEY (In Persian).
    3. Sen, Amartya (2012), Development as Freedom, Translated by Noori Seyyed Mohamad, Tehran: NEY (In Persian).


    1. B) Articles
    2. Ghari S Fatemi, Seyyed Mohammad (2001), “Analysis of Key Concepts of Contemporary Human Rights”, Legal Research Quarterly (LRQ), Shahid Beheshti University, No. 33-34, pp. 209-265 (In Persian).