I must admit that I thought I was going to write a more joyful note today than the one I am about to draft. My interest this week was on Francisco de Vitoria (1483-1546). Francisco de Vitoria is one of the founding father of international law. He is usually presented as a rather progressive thinker. He is in particular known for his defense of the rights of the native Americans – at a time when this position was far from mainstream. His De Indis (literally “on the Indians”) is often seen as an important intellectual contribution to the development of the idea of a universal legal regime to protect basic human rights.
I hadn’t actually read his writings but I thought that, being a naturalist, his plea for the “Indians” would be based on some sort of natural right to freedom to which every living creature would be Continue reading