The concept of 'human rights' as a universal goal is at the centre of the international stage. It is now a key part in discourse, treaties and in domestic jurisdictions. However, as this study shows, the debate around this development is actually about human rights law. This text scrutinizes the extent to which legalization shapes the human rights ideal, and surveys its ethical, political and practical repercussions. How does the law influence what we think about rights? What more is there to such rights than their legal protection?