This note draws on the book Diritti umani e soggetti vulnerabili. Violazioni, trasformazioni, aporie (edited by Thomas Casadei for Giappichelli, Torino 2012), in which a classical theme is tackled from different but complementary perspectives and related to the main issues in recent debate. While the most significant controversies emerge from certain genealogical and underlying issues (starting with the very concept of ‘humanity’), established rights are often found to be breached when certain sectors of social reality are investigated from the perspective of vulnerable subjects. Recognition of differences becomes a vital factor, as does the terrain where individual and collective battles take place and claims are located: this indicates the complexity and multilateral nature of the human rights prism, but also the persistence of their emancipatory potential. A comparison between the many declarations made by the subjects and their material conditions is the flag that calls attention to the contradictions at work, but also the moving force for overcoming them.
Keywords: Human rights, Vulnerability, Humanity, Differences