What's the New Human Rights Playbook?



Photo:Shutterstock/Donatas Dabravolskas (All rights reserved)

Photo: Walid BERRAZEG

In April 2018, Dejusticia (Center for Law, Justice, and Society), an action-research human rights organization based in Bogotá Colombia, in partnership with the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University, launched an edited volume: Rising to the Populist Challenge: A New Playbook for Human Rights Actors. The book, co-edited by César Rodríguez-Garavito and Krizna Gomez, coalesces a repertoire of innovative responses by human rights organizations to confront the growing crackdown on civil society and the erosion of democracy worldwide. As Rodríguez-Garavito notes, “populist leaders seem to have been learning from each other in terms of the tactics that they use in delegitimizing and attacking human rights actors.” The challenge, therefore, and consequently what this collection seeks to provide, is a collection of fresh, innovative, and high-impact strategies to contribute to a new playbook for those resisting these politically challenging contexts. Articles curated here are based on the contributions from this volume.





Dropping the defense: hopeful stories fight stigma in Hungary

August 24, 2018
By: Stefania Kapronczay & Anna Kertész

Dropping defensive tactics and reframing human rights in a relatable way are both key to responding ...

Better data can counteract soft repression

August 16, 2018
By: Katrin Kinzelbach & Janika Spannagel
Español | Français

Changing the way we document human rights abuses—such as paying more attention to soft repression—could ...

The end of tyranny: South Africa’s civil society fights back

August 8, 2018
By: Ivor Chipkin

Powerful civil society coalitions have re-emerged in South Africa, using litigation, social mobilization, ...

Rethinking the notion of a human rights crisis

July 31, 2018
By: Kathryn Sikkink
Español | Português

The frame of constant crisis has negative implications for human rights, especially when questions of ...

Death by a thousand paper cuts: regulatory attacks on NGOs

July 31, 2018
By: Edwin Rekosh

A wave of unjustified government regulation is threatening NGO operations, and proactive responses are ...

Strategic responses to the “Foreign Agent” label

July 25, 2018
By: Jonas Wolff

Instead of letting governments define the terms, CSOs need to take “foreign agent” allegations seriously ...

Resist or flee: NGOs respond to Egypt’s crackdown

July 24, 2018
By: Khaled Mansour
العربية | Español

In the last few years, the Egyptian government has launched an unprecedented crackdown on civil society, ...

Resilience in non-democratic contexts: perspectives from Venezuela

July 19, 2018
By: Rafael Uzcátegui

As elected governments increasingly launch power grabs and smear campaigns against their critics, NGOs ...

Populism and human rights: a new playbook

June 28, 2018
By: César Rodríguez-Garavito & Krizna Gomez
Español | العربية

With populist leaders stoking nationalism and violating basic rights, traditional advocacy strategies ...

Reducing dependence on foreign aid—what will it take?

June 14, 2018
By: James Ron & José Kaire & Archana Pandya & Andrea Martínez

Modest investments into local fundraising capacity could transform the global human rights community ...

Reclaiming civic space: global challenges, local responses

May 8, 2018
By: Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah & Mandeep Tiwana
Español | Português

To reclaim civic space, there are three key drivers that organizations must focus on, and three critical ...