The OpenPage

On the OpenPage, authors debate issues and challenges falling outside the scope of our thematic debates. OpenPage contributions often spark multiple responses and eventually turn into full-fledged debates of their own.

 

Climate litigation and human rights: averting the next global crisis

By: César Rodríguez-Garavito
Español

OGR's newest series explores a rising wave of lawsuits that is laying bare the profound impacts that a warming planet has on basic human rights and future generations.

Businesses for Black Lives Matter: a human rights-based approach

By: Manel Chibane

What role do corporations have in advocating for the rights of Black people and other racialized populations?

Why #BlackLivesMatter is about the right to life

By: Eseohe Ojo

The current protests should come as no surprise in the face of such blatant disregard of the human rights of Black people and the systemic, institutional and everyday ...

Chile’s constitutional awakening

By: Jorge Contesse
Español

In Chile, protests against metro fare price hikes led to an unprecedented constitutional process.

Global HIV/AIDS response, shows human rights is path to success against COVID-19

By: Steven L. B. Jensen
Español | Français

The global response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic found success when it put human rights at the core of its efforts, a lesson of key importance to our present and future ...

It’s time for human rights NGOs to challenge systems, not symptoms

By: Sherif Elsayed-Ali
Español

To win support, human rights NGOs must challenge systems, not symptoms, step up their work on ESR, and provide practical solutions to the problems they expose.

Marching against India’s discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act

By: Arpitha Kodiveri
Español

Demonstrators across India protested a new Act that prohibits certain religions from citizenship while fast-tracking others.

Is UN Secretary-General António Guterres committed to human rights?

By: Marc Limon
Español

Much of the criticism of UN SG Guterres for his “silence” on human rights is misplaced—he is rather making a good faith effort, alongside High Commissioner Bachelet, ...

Solidarity in the fight for justice: partnerships to oppose extractivism in Haiti

By: Nixon Boumba & Meg Satterthwaite
Español | Français | Kreyòl

Can activists in Haiti and American-based law students and professors create trust, honesty, and a commitment to equality in radically unequal conditions?

Rights and responsibilities in the Coronavirus pandemic

By: Kathryn Sikkink
Español | Português | Limba Română

To protect our collective right to health in the current pandemic situation, we need to balance our individual rights with collective responsibilities.

Fighting for rights in the streets—not just the courts—of Hong Kong

By: Katrin Kinzelbach & Eva Pils
Español | 简体中文

The Hong Kong protest movement has long given up hope that Hong Kong’s rule of law can be protected with judicial means only.

Seeing business and human rights as a web of corporate accountability

By: Joanne Bauer
Español

A “web of corporate accountability” illustrates the multiple ways in which actors can hold corporations to account for human rights harms—and the leeway that remains ...

What can national action plans on business and human rights do for women’s rights?

By: Nora Götzmann & Wangui Kimotho
Français | Español

National action plan processes can—and must—do more to contribute to the realisation of women’s rights.

Putting human rights at the centre of struggles for health and social equality

By: Alicia Ely Yamin
Español

We’ve made progress on economic and social rights, but the human rights community needs new, much more collaborative strategies to challenge the inequalities underlying ...

Human rights “inflation”—what’s the problem?

By: David Petrasek
Español | Français | العربية

Instead of talking about “rights inflation”, we should understand what we are witnessing are new interpretations that respond to new struggles for human dignity.

In a world of radical inequality, solidarity is a cornerstone of justice

By: Meg Satterthwaite
Español | Français | Kreyòl

Can a human rights clinic, based at a well-resourced law school in the United States, stand in solidarity with activists in the global South?

Can mapping human rights help in the global fight for equality?

By: Ilia Savelev
Español | Français

Human rights mapping has been key to global advocacy for LGBT+ and can be used elsewhere to flag issues of concern and provide empirical data on rights violations.

What battles over “gender ideology” mean for Colombia’s women human rights defenders

By: Rachel Schmidt
Español

Violence against women and the LGBTI community has a long history in Colombia’s state security apparatus, and recent murders of women human rights defenders are ...

The US can play a role in tackling global corporate abuse

By: Phil Bloomer & Alison Friedmann
Español

The recent declaration of the US Business Roundtable on the purpose of a corporation is a seismic shift and is symbolic of the growing power of the movement to ...

Graffiti creates positive human rights narratives in Lebanon

By: Nohad Elhajj
Français | العربية

During widespread protests in Lebanon, street artists have painted messages of hope and human rights activism across Beirut.

Counter-terrorism laws provide a smokescreen for civil society restrictions

By: Susan Wilding
Español

States need to focus on strategies that actually work and expose governments that are dismantling democracy in the name of countering terrorism.

Can international human rights law be creatively deployed to expand its protections?

By: Raymond A. Smith
Español

How can international human rights law be creatively deployed to expand protections to other characteristics related to severe and systematic rights violations?

Cross-border collaboration is key to protecting migrant rights

By: Regan Ralph

As hostile governments push nativist rhetoric and enact abusive policies, supporting the innovative work of grassroots activists is the best way for the human rights ...

Chile and a global revolution for dignity

By: Juan Francisco Lobo
Español

The protests in Chile, and indeed worldwide, demonstrate a demand for human dignity, in all of its diverse conceptions.

From impunity to justice and back again in Guatemala

By: Rachel Lopéz
Español

Guatemalan citizens must unite to resist the efforts of Guatemala’s clandestine powers to dismantle justice—but they cannot do it alone.

The lengthy journey towards a treaty on business and human rights

By: Maysa Zorob
Español

A new version of the UN’s draft treaty on business and human rights strengthens its protection focus, but must go further to ensure effective access to justice ...

The little tissue that couldn’t – the hymen’s role in determining sexual history or assault

By: Ranit Mishori & Karen Naimer & Thomas McHale
Español | Français

For such a small piece of tissue, the hymen has gained outsized status as the arbiter of virginity. But can it really do that?

Saving human rights

By: Hurst Hannum
Français | Español

Declining support for human rights is partly attributable to the expansion of the concept to cover all worthy causes, and to rights being seen as a solution to ...

Protecting abortion providers requires effective strategies to prevent harassment

By: Ximena Casas Isaza
Español | Français

Abortion providers working in national contexts where the law is poorly understood and abortion is socially stigmatized face harassment by police, spurious charges, ...

From Human rights to sentient rights: the next generation of rights thinking

By: Jamie Woodhouse
Español | العربية

If we grant rights in order to reduce suffering, should we grant rights to everything that can suffer?

Ultra-conservative speech as political capital: Chile’s “Republican Party”

By: Beatriz Romero Cruzat
Español

Chile has long held a moderate political tradition in Latin America, but recent trends point to alarming support for an ultra-conservative leader who will undoubtedly ...

Can the Universal Periodic Review hold governments accountable on digital rights?

By: Flavia Fascendini
Español | Français

The Universal Periodic Review can highlight that online rights are an essential part of human rights and that everyone’s digital rights should be protected and ...

Intellectual property as a tool of empowerment

By: Sarah Yookyung Kim
Español | Français

When much broader communities can harness intellectual property rights, these shifts can contribute to reducing inequality and improving the standard of life for ...

Myths and realities of #MeToo: Young feminists in the global South speak out

By: Deepa Ranganathan
Español

#MeToo ignited a conversation about sexual and gender-based violence, but young feminists in the global South have mixed feelings about the movement’s effectiveness.

Bringing human rights home: new strategies for local organizing

By: Jackie Smith & Joshua Cooper
Español

Declining economic conditions in cities and communities around the world have inspired more people to organize locally to defend and promote our “right to the city.”

The human rights wars heat up

By: Eric Posner
Español | العربية

The new US Commission on Unalienable Rights will provide a conservative interpretation on human rights. It will find allies abroad, and this poses a risk to dominant, ...

What Putin’s supposed “death” of liberalism means for human rights

By: Koldo Casla
Español

If Putin was right, and liberalism is dead, what would be the future of human rights in global politics?

American policy is strangling health access in the global South

By: Karen Chonofsky
Español

The US Global Gag Rule is impeding far more than access to abortion in the global South—services for HIV, tuberculosis, sanitation, and nutrition are all being ...

UN resolution acknowledges hidden victims of sexual violence in conflict—men and boys

By: Charu Lata Hogg
Español

In addressing conflict-related sexual violence, the UN Security Council has urged prevention, protection and relief efforts address all survivors – women and girls, ...

Incomplete information on emergency contraception drugs is risking women’s health

By: Leyla-Denisa Obreja
Español

Amidst growing debate on women’s reproductive rights, worldwide policies allowing free access to emergency contraception as non-prescription drugs are putting women ...

Can protecting indigenous human rights also improve conservation efforts?

By: Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
Español | Français

Lands under secure indigenous tenure often have better conservation outcomes—can stronger protections around indigenous rights also protect the environment?

Rising restrictions on labour rights threaten the heart of social justice

By: Ana Zbona & Sanyu Awori
Español | Français

When space closes for labour rights defenders, the situation is far worse for those at the margins. Labour rights are human rights and must be protected.

Genocide is an act of state, and demands a response by other states

By: John Packer
Français | Rohingya | العربية | Español | বাংলা | Türkçe

The Myanmar state can and must be held accountable for the genocide being perpetrated against the Rohingya, a point lost in largely illusory efforts to pursue international ...

Confronting Bolsonaro’s populism – key strategies to protect human rights

By: Iain Levine
Português

As Bolsonaro passes the 100 day mark of his presidency, human rights activists in Brazil can learn much from struggles to confront populism elsewhere.

Delinking the “human” from human rights: artificial intelligence and transhumanism

By: A. Kayum Ahmed
Español | isiXhosa

The development of artificial intelligence and transhumanism are challenging what it means to be human—and who (or what) constitutes the “human” in human rights.

Fragile Rights? New Challenges for LGBTQ People in the Americas

By: Ari Shaw & Mauricio Albarracín
Español | Português

The rise of religious fundamentalism in Latin America—in conjunction with the populist trend sweeping the globe—is threatening LGBTQ rights and placing people in ...

Putting respect for human rights at the heart of sport

By: Mary Harvey
Español | Français | العربية

Sport can unite and inspire, but it can have negative impacts too—a new Centre is bringing together key stakeholders to address the human rights risks of sport.

UN Human Rights Committee brings new vitality to the right to life

By: Lucy McKernan & Bret Thiele
Español

Through its expanding jurisprudence on the right to life, the UN Human Rights Committee has given advocates on economic and social rights a powerful new enforcement ...

The right to reparation: laudable goal or empty promise?

By: Bojan Gavrilovic
العربية

Human rights activists argue that victims of mass atrocities have a right to reparations, but the international community still struggles around how to fulfil this ...

UN standard-setting continues apace

By: Gordon DiGiacomo

Work at the UN is progressing on several fronts to agree new human rights standards – the topics reflecting new global concerns. But the hard work of implementation ...

The right to design babies? Human rights and bioethics

By: Roberto Andorno & Alicia Ely Yamin
Español

New developments in gene modifications make it more urgent than ever to raise societal awareness, and adopt appropriate measures to enforce existing international ...

Cities – a growing and necessary target for human rights advocacy

By: Annabel Short
Español

Cities exercise power in many areas that touch on human rights, and growing urban inequalities mean advocates must focus more attention on municipal governments.

What Bolsonaro means for human rights in Brazil

By: Oliver Hudson & Juana Kweitel
Español | Português

Under the leadership of president elect Bolsonaro, Brazil must be poised for increased threats to public security, the environment and democratic space.

New business and human rights treaty takes shape

By: Maysa Zorob
Español

The draft of a new business and human rights treaty is a good start, but needs to be strengthened to better protect victims and ensure their access to effective ...

Human and non-human rights – convergence or conflict?

By: David Petrasek
Español | Français | العربية

On the 70th anniversary of the UDHR, claims to recognize non-human rights are advancing and pose challenges to the anthropocentrism at the heart of the human rights ...

Imprisonment as a last resort? Reforming Brazil’s prisons

By: Náthaly Calixto
Português

Systematic discrimination means that—despite vocational programs—many prisoners in Brazil and elsewhere end up with less opportunities than before they were incarcerated.

Citizen action pushes judicial recognition of gay rights in India

By: Suhrith Parthasarathy

The Indian Supreme Court’s landmark decision to declare unconstitutional a colonial-era law criminalizing same-sex relations shows majoritarian prejudices must ...

The rights of nature gaining ground

By: Mari Margil
Español | Français

Nature has been treated in law as property, and exploited. But there is growing legal recognition that nature has rights, and affirming these is essential to both ...

Using the UN to advance LGBT rights in China

By: Yanzi Peng
简体中文

China’s engagement in UN human rights reviews provides real opportunities to advance protection for LGBT rights, although advocates in China face many obstacles.

Back to the Future: returning to human rights

By: Mona Younis
Español | العربية

By neglecting citizen engagement, the human rights movement has failed not only to secure all rights but has put the civil and political rights already secured ...

Venezuelan crisis shows the need to enhance the coherence of the UN human rights machinery

By: Ligia Bolivar
Español

Misconceived and poorly executed US efforts to reform the UN Human Rights Council failed. But the UN human rights machinery needs reform—shown by its response to ...

Values-based collective action helps resist the criminalization of compassion

By: Rachel Freed
Español

Humanitarian workers giving aid to migrants are being threatened and in some cases imprisoned. But compassionate assistance for imperiled people in all settings ...

Despite record inequality, UK and EU won’t challenge Swaziland’s monarch

By: Sunit Bagree

The UK and EU are ignoring Swaziland’s threats to human rights and civic space, refusing to hold the monarchy to account.

Understanding when and why countries adopt rights can improve activism

By: Yonatan Lupu
Español

Constitutional provisions are critical to protecting human rights, but adopting some rights protections may be more likely if other protections are already in place. ...

The privilege of remedy: how accessible is the ECtHR?

By: Leyla-Denisa Obreja

The European Court of Human Rights is supposed to help victims of rights violations seek justice, but procedural hurdles are preventing access for those that need ...

Public consultations push back against multinationals in Colombia

By: Antonio Sanchez Gomez
Español

In Colombia, public consultations have successfully halted exploitative mining projects. But can these consultations help to fight back against corruption?

A hidden violation—sexual violence against men and boys in Syria and Turkey

By: Charu Lata Hogg
العربية

A new report suggests sexual violence against men and boys in widespread in the Syria conflict. And this largely unacknowledged abuse is barely addressed in the ...

Battling impunity in Mexico: an innovative strategy of international advocacy

By: Gabriela Kletzel & Angel Gabriel Cabrera Silva
Español

An innovative intervention by international experts in Mexico invigorated the work of human rights organizations to fight against systemic impunity in the country

Battling exclusion: giving a voice to women affected by leprosy

By: Alice Cruz
Español

Women affected by leprosy in India and beyond face high levels of discrimination and stigmatization, with virtually no legal recourse or social support—what can ...

Amnesty International’s new drug policy puts it on a slippery slope

By: Saul Takahashi 
Español

Human rights arguments for decriminalizing drug use are often flawed, and in essence assert a right to use drugs that is nowhere to be found in international human ...

In Haiti, legal empowerment is resistance against exploitation

By: Samuel Nesner & Ellie Happel
Français

Social movements in Haiti are reimagining justice in order to fight back against exploitation by the mining industry.

With nationalism rising, do global human rights still have mass appeal?

By: Joel R. Pruce
Español

Caring about the rights of distant others was once fashionable but, as walls go up and societies retract, global citizen engagement may well be the next victim ...

Combatting modern slavery with human rights

By: Todd Landman 

Abolitionism was arguably the first human rights movement, but historical waves of anti-slavery activism have yet it to see it truly eliminated. How can a human ...

A shared learning agenda takes legal empowerment to the next level

By: Erin Kitchell
Español

Legal empowerment can be transformative across a wide range of issues, which can sometimes make such efforts feel disconnected. But practitioners need clearer questions ...

Bringing justice close: an experiment in accessing justice with technology

By: Shreya Sen
हिन्दी

Legal empowerment enables poor and marginalized communities to be partners in development and decision-making, and new technologies make it possible for women in ...

UN’s approach inside Myanmar abandons human rights principles

By: Liam Mahony

Although UN human rights bodies have criticized the persecution of the Rohingya, UN agencies inside Myanmar have been far too deferential to the authorities.

“Naming and shaming”: still the human rights movement’s best weapon

By: Aryeh Neier
Español

Naming and shaming may be less important as a foreign policy tool to promote rights, but the careful documenting and publicizing of rights abuses remains an essential ...

Decolonizing human rights: local struggles with global dynamics

By: Salil Shetty

Human rights have always been subject to efforts at misappropriation and manipulation for political ends—but power and agency must remain in the hands of those ...

Legal empowerment allows indigenous Ecuadoreans to fight multinationals

By: Juan Auz
Español

Activism against environmental exploitation in Ecuador requires going up against titanic powers, and legal empowerment has helped indigenous groups do just that.

Family separation: a flashpoint in the global migrant crisis

By: Brian Root  & Rachel Schmidt

Situations of inhumane treatment and abuses of power are where we need human rights the most, and the family separation issue in the United States is symptomatic ...

US loses patience with Human Rights Council reforms

By: Marc Limon

The US said it quit the UN Human Rights Council because it couldn’t reform it – but though others share some blame, the US’ own tactics undermined its effort.

Understanding sexual violence against men and boys in conflict

By: Charu Lata Hogg
العربية | Français | Español

Ten years after sexual violence in war was officially recognized as a threat to peace and security, sexual violence against men and boys still receives very little ...

Twenty-five years later, how much do national human rights institutions matter?

By: Steven L. B. Jensen
Français | Español

An expanding range of literature examines the effectiveness of national human rights institutions, and 25 years after the Paris Principles, a recent study draws ...

Human rights and development: has the connection sunk in?

By: Paul Nelson & Ellen Dorsey
Español | Français

The connection between human rights and development is hardly new, but even though human rights NGOs are increasingly engaged on ESC rights, too few development ...

The SDGs and gender equality: empty promises or beacon of hope?

By: Kate Donald  & Silke Staab
Français | Español

In a challenging global context for equality and women’s rights, a new UN Women report illustrates how human rights can move SDGs beyond rhetoric of “leaving no ...

From revolution to bureaucratization: human rights law becomes central to global health governance

By: Benjamin Mason Meier & Lawrence O. Gostin

Given the dramatic development of human rights under international law and the proliferation of global institutions for public health, it is essential to understand ...

Reimagining justice: human rights through legal empowerment

By: Sukti Dhital
Español

Legal empowerment offers promising new methods to improve access to justice and build legal systems that work for everyone.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: a difficult but do-able mandate

By: Matheus Hernandez

The same mandate that makes the work of the High Commissioner a nearly impossible task, also gives the High Commissioner the flexibility to explore different fields ...

Breaking the human rights gridlock by embracing the Sustainable Development Goals

By: Ted Piccone
Español | 简体中文 | العربية | Français

The dangers of a growing global divergence on human rights, with the rise of authoritarian powers, might be avoided by embracing the global consensus of rights-based ...

Avoiding the “access abyss”: palliative care, pain relief, and human rights

By: Ravindran Daniel
Español

The last decade has seen major developments in recognizing palliative care and pain treatment as a human rights issue, but governments have a long way to go in ...

Transitional justice—time for a re-think

By: Paul Seils
Español

The transitional justice toolkit was developed for circumstances unlike most of today’s violent conflicts. It needs to be re-thought to provide results on issues ...

New treaty on business and human rights must hold ‘home’ states accountable

By: Daniel Cerqueira & Alexandra Montgomery
Español | العربية | Français

To ensure justice for victims of corporate human rights abuse, transnational companies who evade accountability in the states hosting their operations must face ...

Ending corporate corruption means looking at the North-South nexus

By: Gillian Caldwell
Español | Français

By its very nature, standing up to corruption and corporate power means looking at the link between global North and global South players.

Learning and unlearning the alchemy of human rights education

By: Shayna Plaut
Español | Français | العربية | Deutsch

As human rights educators, fostering more effective learning and advocacy is often more about how we teach than what we teach.

Reframing sexual harassment as gender-based violence: the value of a rights framework

By: Sarah Dávila-Ruhaak
Français | Español

When sexual harassment is reframed as gender-based violence and a human rights violation, rather than just “bad behavior”, it changes the possibilities around responsibility ...

Using foreign aid for state repression in Thailand

By: Salvador Santino F. Regilme, Jr.

During transnational security crises, aid recipient governments use foreign aid to increase domestic state repression that targets unarmed political dissidents.

DNA testing can help – and hinder – sexual violence prosecutions

By: Karen Naimer
Español | Français

DNA technology in sexual violence cases can strengthen investigations and prosecutions, but training on how to collect and preserve evidence is equally important ...

Is being the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights an Impossible Job?

By: Marc Limon

Perhaps the role of High Commissioner for Human Rights is not do-able after all. Would splitting the position into multiple roles help?

The activist balance: being both globally connected and locally rooted

By: Urantsooj Gombosuren & Marte Hellema
Español

In the volatility in Asia's human rights situations, can rights defenders and organizations stay globally connected while remaining rooted in grassroots efforts?

Reproductive gene editing imperils universal human rights

By: Marcy Darnovsky & Leah Lowthorp & Katie Hasson
简体中文 | Русский | Español

The prohibition on reproductive gene editing to enhance human capabilities is weakening in the face of scientific breakthroughs—leaving universal human rights at ...

Another one bites the dust—what future for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights?

By: David Petrasek
Español | Français

The early departure—yet again—of a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights suggests it’s time to re-think the office’s priorities and strengthen its mandate.

The paradoxical existence of the LGBTI movement in Indonesia

By: Devandy Ario Putro
Bahasa

Indonesia used to have a reputation of tolerance, but inflammatory rhetoric from politicians has led to an increase in violations against the LGBTI community, forcing ...

Using cross-movement collaborations to tackle human rights complexities

By: Claudia Samcam
Español

Human rights problems are increasingly more complex and cross-cutting. Can collaboration across issue areas and geographic regions make advocacy more effective?

Empowering language of rights underlies increasing use in HIV advocacy

By: Kristi Heather Kenyon
Setswana | Zulu

Local HIV activists are expanding human rights discourse into health advocacy, largely due to belief in the empowering impact of rights language, not expectations ...

A new UN declaration could finally protect rural and landless peoples

By: Shivani Chaudhry
Español

The UN has drafted a groundbreaking declaration that has the potential to protect the human rights of peasants, rural workers, and landless peoples. There is room, ...

Finding research pathways to a slavery-free world

By: Zoe Trodd

Ending slavery means building a science of anti-slavery where advocates can use rigorous research to analyse how and why slavery practices persist.

Finding equity: shifting power structures in human rights

By: Barbara Klugman & Ravindran Daniel & Denise Dora & Maimouna Jallow
Español

The marker of progress towards an equitable human rights ecology is when local and national groups no longer have to wait to be invited in.

The value of diversity in creating systemic change for human rights

By: Barbara Klugman & Ravindran Daniel & Denise Dora & Maimouna Jallow
Español

The human rights system must value and mobilize the expertise of all players, from local to international levels. This is a work in progress that has only just ...

Putting to rest the Three Generations Theory of human rights

By: Steven L. B. Jensen
Español | Français | العربية

The notion of three generations of human rights has endured for 40 years. But it has no solid historical or analytic basis, and it obscures rather than clarifies ...

Human Rights “Light”: using rhetoric to unite disparate disciplines

By: Tony Talbott
العربية | Español | Français

The use of superficial human rights rhetoric across varied issue areas is not a “dumbing down” of a complicated legal concept—rather, it will expand the ranks of ...

Reforming drug laws to reduce prison populations in Latin America

By: Ana Jimena Bautista
Español

Three Latin American countries are experimenting with drug law reforms to reduce prison populations, but getting to the root of the issue is the hardest part.

The US role in forced migration from the Middle East

By: Azadeh Shahshahani
العربية

American foreign policy is at the root of forced migration from different parts of the world, and human rights advocates must address the problem at its heart.

Human rights justice requires corporate information sharing

By: Audrey Gaughran

Legal reform is needed to ensure that victims of human rights abuses have access to the relevant information they need to challenge corporations.

Elections without choice: “clean slates” in the Human Rights Council

By: Peter Splinter

The practice of candidates for election to the UN Human Rights Council appearing on clean slates makes a mockery of the “elections” and undermines the quality of ...

Indigenous rights in the Russian Arctic: self-determining communities or stakeholders?

By: Laura A. Henry
Русский

When indigenous rights are not observed, communities that shift their demands from the state to the corporation may trade in one form of power imbalance for another.

Losing the battle for hearts and minds

By: Stephen Hopgood
Español

The battle for human rights—as seen in the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar—may be losing ground as populist democracy becomes entrenched.

Contesting regression: citizen solidarity vs. the decline of democracy

By: Alison Brysk
Español

Even where rights are on the rocks, citizen solidarity and resilient rule of law are the best bets to contest regression.

Irreconcilable tensions? Global human rights institutions and democracy

By: Lisa Sundstrom
Español

To restore people’s faith in liberal democracy, will the human rights community need to scale back to a “core” set of rights, or open up to more diverse understandings?

Reforming the UN Human Rights Council: a call for new leadership

By: Peter Splinter

The UN Human Rights Council falls seriously short in its mandate to ensure effective enjoyment by all of all human rights. It needs real reform—not another reform ...

Research offers tough love to improve human rights practices

By: Joel R. Pruce
Français | العربية | Español

In human rights work, practicing the same habits does not guarantee improvement over time.

Creating effective new coalitions in tough political times

By: Andrew Hudson

To avoid sinking to the lowest common denominator, activist coalitions must play to individual strengths and find an effective strategic convener.

Defending free speech when laws do not apply equally to everyone

By: A. Kayum Ahmed

When the ACLU uses civil rights and free speech to defend white supremacists, it reflects the ideological foundations of rights discourses that try to erase white ...

Indonesia at a threshold: reinventing the human rights movement

By: Julius Ibrani & Marte Hellema
Bahasa

Combined with growing fundamentalism and sectarianism, Indonesia once again is in dire need of a human rights movement for change.

The world is marching towards—not away from—universal human rights

By: Marc Limon

Despite pessimism about the future of human rights, data on treaty ratification and reservations suggest that we are marching toward universality.

Hard times, but human rights defenders are resilient

By: Andrew Anderson
Español

These are hard times for human rights, but pessimists should not underestimate how resilient and powerful human rights defenders can be.

Orphan structures: holding companies accountable when owners don’t exist

By: Paul Beckett

When companies use legal loopholes to mask beneficial owners, it becomes almost impossible for human rights defenders to hold them to account.

Building communities to boost local fundraising

By: Sadhana Shrestha
Español | नेपाली | Français

Fundraising should never just be about money—it must also be about raising awareness of human rights and social justice.

Defining rather than defending our human rights “moment”

By: Nick Robinson

Rather than defending our existing human rights movement, advocates from multiple avenues must come together to debate the next step forward.

Breaking the fourth wall: theater as human rights activism

By: Christa Blackmon

Using theater to raise awareness on rights issues not only educates the audience—it also creates empathy and connection.

Hard times for human rights

By: David Forsythe
Español

Are we facing hard times for human rights, or are these ups and downs in global affairs to be expected with liberal norms and principles?

‘If I lose my freedom’: preemptive resistance to forced confessions in China

By: Michael Caster
简体中文

Human rights defenders in China are increasingly using pre-recorded statements to control narratives to protect themselves against forced confessions.

International organizations and the crisis of legitimacy

By: Aseem Prakash & Nives Dolšak

When international organizations face legitimacy problems, they need to address governance issues, conflicts of interest, and poor leadership.

Why it’s getting harder (and more dangerous) to hold companies accountable

By: Ciara Dowd & Elodie Aba
Español | Français

Corporations are using defamation lawsuits to shut down their detractors—and the problem is only getting worse.

Following orders: how expectations might reduce human rights abuses

By: Yonatan Lupu
Español

Understanding the logic of expectations could help us predict why some people follow orders to violate human rights—and others don’t.

Engagement versus endorsement: Western universities in China

By: Robert Edward Precht

The presence of Western universities in China is on the rise, but they are not following UN principles on corporate social responsibility.

Why the right to science matters for everyone

By: Jessica M. Wyndham & Margaret Weigers

The right to science influences everything from freeing wrongfully accused prisoners to crop rotation—but what happens when that right comes under threat?

“Speaking truth to power:” a call for praxis in human rights

By: Alicia Ely Yamin

Human rights require struggles over power and systems of thought—not just fights against individual violators and institutional inequities.

Evidence of trauma: the impact of human rights work on advocates

By: Meg Satterthwaite
Español | Français

It’s time to think seriously about the effects of trauma on human rights activists.

The collapse of authority: violence against prisoners in Latin America

By: Luis Felipe Cruz Olivera
Español

With prison riots and massacres getting out of control in many Latin American countries, what is the future of the region’s prison systems?

Seeing the myth in human rights

By: Jenna Reinbold
Español

To call human rights a “myth” would appear to discredit them, but myth was central in drafting the Universal Declaration.

To understand perpetrators, we must care about them

By: James Dawes
Español

Preventing future atrocities requires empathetic understanding of how regular people transform into monsters.

To change torture practices, we must change the entire system

By: Kiran Grewal

Preventing torture goes beyond understanding individuals—it requires changing an entire system that allows for extreme violence.

Will human rights law actually protect us from fascism?

By: Eva Nanopoulos

Human rights regimes such as the European Convention on Human Rights are unlikely to shield citizens against the wave of authoritarianism threatening liberal democracies.

An elusive justice—holding parent companies accountable for human rights abuse

By: Joe Westby
Español

A UK judgement on Shell’s operations in Nigeria yet again shows the need to prevent powerful multinationals hiding behind their subsidiaries to dodge accountability ...

Imagining justice for ethnic communities in Colombia

By: Helen Kerwin
Español

Reparations for conflict-related harms as set out in the peace accords are only a fraction of many pending debts owed to Colombia’s ethnic communities.

Business can and should ally with those defending human rights

By: Sarah Brooks
Español

Business should heed the views of human rights defenders, and do more to protect their crucial work—which advances the rule of law that benefits business too.

Haiti’s “linguistic apartheid” violates children’s rights and hampers development

By: Michel DeGraff
Kreyòl

Haiti’s educational system routinely discriminates against those who don’t speak French—which is the vast majority of the population.

Voter suppression and human rights in the 2016 American election

By: Amelia Shindelar

Increasing strictness in voter ID laws and voter intimidation are threatening the right to vote in the United States.

A butterfly effect—steps to improve UPR implementation

By: Hans Fridlund

The UN’s UPR process is proving its worth in encouraging human rights reform on the ground, but action depends on several factors—highlighted in a new report.

Shaming and blaming: assessing the impact of human rights organizations

By: Amanda Murdie

Shaming by human rights organizations can indeed change state practices, with the right combination of partners and conditions.

Beyond science fiction: Artificial Intelligence and human rights

By: Jonathan Drake
Français

Artificial Intelligence is growing at rapid pace, and so are significant ethical and human rights dilemmas.

Illicit drug sales in the deep web don’t really make trading safer

By: Isabel Pereira
Español

Crypto markets for buying drugs might make things safer for consumers, but they do nothing to protect people in producer or transit countries.

Satire as a tool of resistance in Egypt

By: M. B.
العربية

In countries where fear is employed as a weapon against freedom of speech, satire is one of the strongest tools of resistance.

The 1967 Convention on Religious Intolerance—the treaty that might have been

By: Steven L. B. Jensen
العربية

The two UN human rights covenants were to be buttressed by a treaty to fight religious intolerance. In 1967, a text was drafted but not adopted—a failure that haunts ...

Rethinking strategies of child protection

By: Rachel Schmidt
Français

When children become the lead players in recruitment strategies, how can child protection advocates weigh in?

The UN shakes up Guatemala with the Commission Against Impunity

By: Christian Medina-Ramirez  & Luis Mack 
Español

The UN-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has shaken the country’s political system to its core. However, the long-term consequences ...

Should funding agencies also share in the sacrifice of social change?

By: Michael Edwards
Español | Français | Português

What standards of behavior should we expect from the leaders of foundations, NGOs and aid agencies?

The private, the social, and the political: a human rights perspective on transgender bathrooms

By: Hà Lê Phan & Inga T. Winkler

When it comes to LGBTIQ rights, bathroom politics reflect and are often linked to much broader questions of inequality and empowerment.

Beyond blood diamonds: the violence behind the gold route

By: Natalia Duarte
Español

Illegal gold exchanges between the global North and South are fuelling violence and exploitation, but most consumers are oblivious.

States shouldn’t use ICC budget to interfere with its work

By: Elizabeth Evenson & Jonathan O’Donohue 

States complain that the ICC needs to broaden investigations beyond Africa—yet some of the same states are now trying to limit the increased budget needed to do ...

Torture prevention works, but only with the right ingredients

By: Mark Thomson 
Español | Français | Русский

A research study recently confirmed that some torture prevention works, but only with the right combination of factors.

Collaborating with scientists for climate justice

By: Ellen Platts & Claire Sabel

The impacts of climate change intensify existing social inequities by placing disproportionate burdens on vulnerable populations. Collaborations with scientists ...

Trump and the limits of human rights

By: Samuel Moyn
Español | Français

No matter how good our ancestors were in creating the international human rights system, it cannot change that we might need different options now.

International pressure on US human rights matters now more than ever

By: Kathryn Sikkink
Español | Français

Domestic politics are important, but we need international human rights law in the United States now more than ever.

Fascism rising

By: Stephen Hopgood
Español | Français

Global institutions and principles now face their sternest test. Trump’s victory suggests human rights activists should devote themselves to the morass of domestic ...

Time to recognize the right to life for those living in homelessness and inadequate housing

By: Leilani Farha
Español | Français

An estimated one third of deaths worldwide are linked to poverty and inadequate housing, yet widespread homelessness and inadequate housing are rarely regarded ...

No single dataset is sufficient for understanding human rights, nor should it be

By: K. Chad Clay

Yes, cross-national datasets are inappropriate for understanding the lived experience of those suffering from human rights abuse, but that’s not why we need them.

Yes, human rights scholars conceal social wrongs—when they miss the point

By: Todd Landman 

To suggest that relying on cross-national analyses perpetuates human rights abuses is simply fallacious.

How human rights scholars conceal social wrongs

By: Neve Gordon & Nitza Berkovitch

Using cross-national data in human rights research helps perpetuate social wrongs.

No data, no accountability: solving racial violence in the United States

By: Samuel L. Myers Jr.
Português

Without adequate data, the US racial divide remains a matter of perception, rather than of careful empirical analysis.

Decolonization—not western liberals—established human rights on the global agenda

By: Steven L. B. Jensen
Español

Human rights scholarship and advocacy claim to be grounded in universality, yet both are anything but in their privileging the Western role in building an international ...

Blame South Sudanese leadership, not George Clooney

By: Majak D’Agoôt & Remember Miamingi

The crisis in South Sudan is a result of its current leadership – the country wasn’t doomed to fail – and its people welcome celebrities like George Clooney who ...

Letter to George Clooney

By: Rita Abrahamsen

Celebrity activism risks reducing complex political issues to simple morality tales, leading to emotional politics and irresponsible interventions.

The right place for the Left: the World Social Forum in Montreal

By: Jamie K. Mccallum & Sarah Stroup

In August 2016, the World Social Forum brought global justice activists to Montreal, the first time it was ever held in the global North. But this reorientation ...

Two forums, two approaches to advancing the SDGs and human rights

By: Savio Carvalho

Recent global assemblies make it clear—to achieve the SDGs we need to find ways to hold governments, UN agencies and the private sector accountable for the pledges ...

Making economic rights “real” with stakeholder dialogues

By: Shareen Hertel

When businesses go into a poor community, how can those most affected have more influence over the agenda?

Demagogues and populists must be challenged – UN High Commissioner speaks out

By: Zeid Ra’Ad Al Hussein

A cross border bonding of demagogues and populists poses a grave risk to human rights, and we are doing too little to challenge their lies and half-truths.

Human rights data used the wrong way can be misleading

By: Meg Satterthwaite

While data is important for human rights advocacy, the risks of misleading people are also very real and advocates must insist on rigor.

The UN undermined both public health and human rights in Haiti

By: Valerie Percival 
Español

Failing to acknowledge its involvement in the 2010 Cholera outbreak in Haiti, the UN undermined public health norms and violated the human rights standards that ...

Will tougher sentences prevent female genital mutilation in Egypt?

By: Amel Fahmy
العربية

Egypt is considering tougher sentences and stiffer fines for doctors and parents who perform female genital mutilation on their daughters. But will that change ...

Human rights and the failed coup in Turkey

By: Richard Falk
Türkçe

There are risks for human rights in the post-coup purges in Turkey. But we must applaud more loudly the coup’s failure as a victory for human rights and democracy.

Taking stock—the Universal Periodic Review's achievements and opportunities

By: Aoife Hegarty & Hans Fridlund
Français

After 10 years, the UN’s Universal Periodic Review mechanism for scrutinizing Member States’ human rights records is having a real impact—but more must be done ...

Human rights organizations and the state: how different are we really?

By: Maayan Geva

How different are human rights organizations and the state institutions they challenge? A key Israel group has pulled away from cooperation with the army, arguing ...

Dying in pain in the global South

By: Diana Guarnizo
Español

Throughout the developing world, people are dying in pain due to an inability to access proper medication. But the problem is about much more than money.

Are human rights treaties a “reputational umbrella” for foreign investment?

By: Ana Carolina Garriga

Evidence suggests that human rights treaties provide a reputational shield for companies to invest in the worst rights-violating countries.

Scientists and engineers as partners in protecting human rights

By: Theresa Harris
Español

Growing interest in pro bono service among scientists and engineers is generating new opportunities for human rights organizations.

Mapping global business opinions on human rights

By: Marc Limon

A global survey of over 800 corporate leaders shows overwhelming recognition that companies must respect human rights, although confusion regarding the exact scope ...

Impact investing: a new player in protecting human rights?

By: Motoko Aizawa

Impact investing is rewriting the way companies can improve human rights conditions.

What can Brexit teach us about business and human rights?

By: Phil Bloomer

The economy we have built isn’t the economy that delivers shared prosperity and shared security for the majority. The business and human rights movement has a fundamental ...

Why America needs a truth commission

By: Todd Landman 

In the United States, gun deaths over the last three decades far exceed those reported in truth commissions and civil wars around the world in the 1970s, 1980s ...

Taking chances and innovating in human rights

By: Lucia Nader & José Guilherme F. De Campos
Español

In our research, human rights workers, academics, activists and funders gave us a lot of reasons not to innovate.

Three years of openGlobalRights

By: Holly Cartner
Español

In three years, openGlobalRights has become a central space for global human rights debate. A seasoned evaluator reviews its progress and recommends next steps.

Brexit and human rights: winter is coming

By: Stephen Hopgood

Given the toxic politics of Farage, Johnson, Le Pen and Trump, will human rights be enough to resist right-wing nationalism in the wake of Brexit?

Now more than ever the UK needs the compass of human rights

By: Benjamin Ward

It is in uncertain times—like the aftermath of the Brexit vote—that we need human rights the most.

Cross-movement organizing in Mexico leads to new resources

By: Jenny Barry
Español

Feminists and environmentalists are coming together in Mexico to form new partnerships with an emphasis on local resource mobilization.

Who will stand up to corruption?

By: Patrick Alley
Français

Corruption is entrenched throughout global systems—but when will political leaders have the courage to really confront it?

Will evidence of crimes against humanity change anything in Mexico?

By: Alejandro Anaya Munoz
Español

A new report argues that widespread human rights violations in Mexico constitute crimes against humanity. But who will stand accountable?

Revising perceptions of the rights of older people in Africa

By: Jamillah Mwanjisi

A new African treaty promises to protect the human rights of the elderly.

A treaty to protect the rights of older people is long overdue!

By: Gordon Digiacomo & Martine Lagacé
Français

As the world’s population ages, now is the time to begin work on a treaty to give explicit protection to the rights of the elderly.

From taboo to empowerment: menstruation and gender equality

By: Archana Patkar & Rockaya Aidara & Inga T. Winkler
Français

Menstruation and menstrual hygiene are emerging as pivotal issues for gender equality, human rights and development.

Quantitative data in human rights: what do the numbers really mean?

By: Will H. Moore

Everyone loves numbers, but when we use them in human rights, how often are we misrepresenting the data?

When national security trumps international humanitarian law, who wins?

By: Brad Gutierrez

International humanitarian law is not a diplomatic conversation devoid of real world implications, and ignoring it creates a free-for-all.

Choosing a new UN Secretary-General who will champion human rights

By: Yvonne Terlingen
Español | Français

A new UN Secretary-General must champion human rights – and that means a more transparent, inclusive and merit-based selection process.

When international agendas trump the people’s demand for reform, no one wins

By: Ahilan Kadirgamar & Swasthika Arulingam 

As Sri Lanka moves on a new constitution and transitional justice process, it must prioritize local concerns of deepening economic inequalities over an international ...

As the world ages, more must be done to protect the rights of older persons

By: Rosa Kornfeld-Matte 
Español

The UN’s expert on the human rights of the elderly describes the key issues she is dealing with and how she hopes to build support to advance her important agenda.

Violence data: what practitioners need to know

By: Amelia Hoover Green
Español

The demand for numerical data on human rights has never been higher, but no data can be taken at face value.

Building community around women’s rights: feminist philanthropy in Serbia

By: Zoe Gudovic
Español

Becoming agents of change for women’s rights in Serbian society requires creativity in building connections and solidarity.

Without addressing women’s security, we can’t hope for equality

By: Amrita Kapur
Español

Understanding why and how insecurity affects women is key to overcoming inequality across all dimensions of empowerment.

End the attacks—protecting the rights of persons with albinism

By: Ikponwosa Ero 
Kiswahili

A newly appointed UN expert sets out a plan to protect the rights of persons with albinism.

Action on justice facilitates political solutions to conflict

By: Niran Anketell

Taking decisive steps towards accountability will be critical to reconciliation in Sri Lanka before frustrations rise again.

The threat of human rights

By: Nicola Perugini & Neve Gordon
Español | العربية | עברית

Human rights become a threat when they endanger state structures of domination.

Holding businesses to account in Latin America

By: Nelson Camilo Sanchez
Español

Colombia and Argentina are taking steps to hold businesses accountable for human rights abuses – will they be effective?

Cambodian trials offer important lessons

By: James A. Goldston

The trials in a special, internationally-backed Court in Cambodia of Khmer Rouge leaders offer important lessons to those pursuing accountability for crimes against ...

What does Zika have to do with inequality? Everything.

By: Rachel Schmidt
Español

Women’s rights advocates are using fears around Zika to fight for better access to birth control, but in Latin America the issues run much deeper than that.

The politics of punishing war crimes in Sri Lanka

By: Ram Manikkalingam 

Prioritising the punishment of war criminals in Sri Lanka over other measures to achieve reconciliation risks re-empowering the extremists and undermining the government’s ...

Making the ASEAN Economic Community human rights-friendly

By: Haris Azhar
Bahasa

The ASEAN Economic Community should insert human rights rules into its implementation plan before integrating the vast Southeast Asian market.

Getting creative with local resource mobilization in Hong Kong

By: Linda To
Français

To get funding amidst intense non-profit competition in Hong Kong, human rights groups must get creative.

Insisting and resisting: women’s funds lead the way for local philanthropy

By: Lucía Carrasco Scherer & Christen Dobson
Español | Français

Women’s funds are gaining increasing recognition at the local and international levels as leading agents of social change.

Human rights and social justice—a false dichotomy?

By: David Petrasek

Even a narrow view of human rights will find at least some overlap with social justice demands, which are too often linked only to economic and social rights.

The ‘soft vengeance’ of peace in Colombia

By: César Rodríguez-Garavito
Español

An agreement recently concluded between the Colombian government and the FARC rebels promises both peace and justice, and deserves support by human rights advocates.

Human rights are revolutionary—in principle not practice

By: Joel R. Pruce
Español | Français

The practice of human rights is utterly inconsistent with the subversive backbone expressed in its norms, and this tension presents problems for the movement.

Beyond accountability: the struggle for co-existence in Sri Lanka

By: Ahilan Kadirgamar & Mahendran Thiruvarangan
தமிழ் | සිංහල

The promised report of a UN investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka will achieve little unless accompanied by real introspection by both Tamil and Sinhala communities.

Muzzling humor in the Ecuadorean Revolution

By: César Rodríguez-Garavito
Español

In Ecuador, Rafael Correa’s government muzzles critique and attacks satirists in an increasingly anti-democratic environment.

The Human Rights Council at 10: too much talk, too little action?

By: Marc Limon & Subhas Gujadhur
Français

There is lots of talk about human rights at the UN Human Rights Council, but too little attention to the violations of those rights in specific countries.

Ebola, human rights, and poverty – making the links

By: Alicia Ely Yamin

The Ebola crisis shows the necessity of a human rights approach to public health that focuses on discrimination and accountability, and the crisis itself has been ...

Transforming the development agenda requires more, not less, attention to human rights

By: Radhika Balakrishnan & Ignacio Saiz

The UN General Assembly later this month will begin negotiations over the content of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to succeed the Millennium Development ...

Will technology transform the human rights movement?

By: Iain Levine

Even as technological developments threaten human rights, they create new opportunities for activism. But there are risks, suggesting a ‘do no harm’ approach to ...