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    Human rights, ideology and population policies.


    Genus. 1977; 33(3-4):1-45.

    Only too often ideology means fanaticism, intolerance, even violence, but the term can be used also to denote sets of preconceptions and presuppositions which act as a stimulus and a guide to scientific innovation, particularly in the field of social science. This sort of insight into the realities of life and the world is a contribution to knowledge and the search for truth, also in the field of human rights. These are taken in the paper as those rights whose infringement constitutes a "vulnus" of the essential characteristics of human beings and those which assume the role of a basic safeguard of them. The meaning of the insistence on the human rights theme in the United Nations system is briefly touched upon, but the main effort is spent in trying to find a firm base for both fundamental rights and duties, shown as strictly and simmetrically linked. Various examples of population policies - broadly defined as governmental interventions influencing demographic variables - are then examined in the light of the basic principles laid down in the said effort. The fields taken up in succession for consideration are international and internal migration, mortality, marriage, fertility in countries at different stages of demographic transition, and growth. Rather than trying an extensive coverage of the whole horizon, a line of critical and deep thought about typical problematic themes is preferred. One of the main conclusions which may be quoted is a statement according to which the problem remains wide open of discovering acceptable ways aiming at a modification of fertility patterns which combine a reduction of the average family size with the maintenance of its variability in order to respect free and responsible individual choices. How important and urgent this task is, is underscored by the observations advanced in the final section of the paper including a meditation on the limits that human sexuality appears to have imposed on itself.(AUTHOR ABSTRACT)
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