In The Origins of Totalitarianism Arendt developed with extraordinary clarity and incredible foresight the argument that men «deprived of their human rights guaranteed by citizenship found themselves without any rights». With this statement she highlights what still can be considered one of the key issues of human rights protection, even in the process of European integration. The relationship between the announced universality of human rights and the fact that, historically, these rights are guaranteed, at least in part, only for those who owns well-defined legal statutes related to the possession of national citizenship is still an open question. The ambiguity of the human rights system, with the misunderstanding of their assignment, which started as early as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, will let Arendt to recognize the belonging to a community as the only «right to have rights».
Paola B. Helzel, in "CITTADINANZA EUROPEA (LA)" 2/2015, pp. 103-115, DOI:10.3280/CEU2015-002006