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The promotion of human rights in international politics
Author: M. Anne Brown

This book argues for greater openness in the ways we approach human rights and international rights promotion, and in so doing brings some new understanding to old debates. Starting with the realities of abuse rather than the liberal architecture of rights, it casts human rights as a language for probing the political dimensions of suffering. Seen in this context, the predominant Western models of right generate a substantial but also problematic and not always emancipatory array of practices. These models are far from answering the questions about the nature of political community that are raised by the systemic infliction of suffering. Rather than a simple message from ‘us’ to ‘them’, then, rights promotion is a long and difficult conversation about the relationship between political organisations and suffering. Three case studies are explored: the Tiananmen Square massacre, East Timor's violent modern history and the circumstances of indigenous Australians. The purpose of these discussions is not to elaborate on a new theory of rights, but to work towards rights practices that are more responsive to the spectrum of injury that we inflict and endure.

Dominant approaches
M. Anne Brown

THE IDEA OF human rights covers a complex and fragmentary terrain. As R. J. Vincent comments near the beginning of his work on human rights in international relations, ‘human rights’ is a readily used term that has become a ‘staple of world politics’, the meaning of which is by no means self-evident (1986: 7). After glossing the term as the ‘idea that humans have rights’ (1986: 7) – a deceptively simple approach – Vincent notes that this is a profoundly contested territory, philosophically as well as politically. This is not surprising, as

in Human rights and the borders of suffering
Umberto Tulli

In his memoirs, Jimmy Carter has underlined how his personal attention to human rights had a long history that preceded his announcement to run for the Democratic nomination on 12 December 1974. Similarly, many historians have pointed out that his commitment to human rights was rooted in his strong moral and religious beliefs, as well as in the experience of the civil rights movement. The human rights campaign, Carter’s speechwriter Hendrik Hertzberg wrote, was “pure Jimmy”. 1 However, human rights became a specific theme that qualified Carter’s platform for

in A precarious equilibrium
Image management in conflicts in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
Julia Gallagher and V. Y. Mudimbe

access to a range of audiences, allowing them to engage with members of the international community directly and with greater speed. Web 2.0 technologies serve to amplify the voices of non-state armed groups at the international level. Yet, these actors are required to work within the discursive power structures that define African subjects within the international system, as well as negotiate narratives about conflict and insecurity in Africa produced externally by states, intergovernmental organisations and human rights interest groups. This chapter considers the

in Images of Africa
Umberto Tulli

During the 1970s, human rights gained unexpected and sudden prominence in international politics. Discussions of human rights were everywhere, providing a vocabulary to oppressed religious groups, national minorities and political dissidents, as well as workers’ or women’s groups. However different these claims were, they all converged on making human rights the central concern of the decade. As popular as the concept was, it was also a contested one. For many activists around the world, human rights offered a tool to transcend political divisions on behalf

in A precarious equilibrium
An Interview with Celso Amorim, Former Brazilian Foreign Minister
Juliano Fiori

decorated living Brazilian diplomat. As we began discussing international affairs and strategy, Amorim’s speech assumed a calm, professorial cadence. ‘Global disorder’ undermines international cooperation, he suggested soberly. And there is a need to rescue human rights discourse, despite the hypocrisy and selectivity of its liberal proponents. Amorim leant forward when I brought up Brazil’s recent withdrawal from the world stage. As foreign minister throughout the two presidential terms of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, from 2003 to 2011, he guided

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order
Stephen Hopgood

practicality prevents it). This is the same foundational commitment that animates human rights work. The humanist core to both of these forms of social practice is a similar kind of belief in the ultimate priority of moral claims made by human beings as human beings rather than as possessors of any markers of identity or citizenship. What differences exist between humanitarianism and human rights are largely sociological – the contextual specifics of the evolution of two different forms of social activism. I have argued elsewhere, for example, that

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Timothy Longman

Introduction Beginning in 1990, the small Central African country of Rwanda was shaken by a pro-democracy movement and a rebel invasion, led by exiled members of the minority Tutsi ethnic group. The government responded to the dual pressures of protest and war by offering political reforms while simultaneously seeking to regain popularity with the members of the majority Hutu group by stirring up anti-Tutsi ethnic sentiments. Both a number of new domestic human rights groups and international human rights organisations documented the regime’s repression of

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Human rights and détente in Jimmy Carter’s Soviet policy
Author: Umberto Tulli

The book explores Carter’s human rights policy and its contradictory impact on US–Soviet affairs. It argues that the administration envisioned its approach to the Soviet Union as moving along two interdependent tracks that were supposed to form a “virtuous circle”. On the one side, the United States aimed to renew its ideological challenge to the USSR through human rights and to persuade the Soviets to ease internal repression in order to strengthen Congressional support for détente and arms control. On the other, continuing the bipolar dialogue, the administration aimed to promote human rights further in the USSR. Contrary to what he envisioned, Carter was caught between Scylla and Charybdis. The more vigorously the White House pursued human rights in bipolar relations, the more the Soviets lost interest in détente; the more the administration relegated human rights to quiet diplomacy, the more critics within the United States accused the president of abandoning his commitment to human rights. Trapped in this contradiction, Carter’s human rights policy did not build domestic support for arms control and worsened bipolar relations. In the end, the White House lost the opportunity to stabilize bipolar relations and the domestic support Carter had managed to garner in 1976. Critics of détente, helped by the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, defeated him.

Open Access (free)
A Belated but Welcome Theory of Change on Mental Health and Development
Laura Davidson

failure to respect human rights. 2 Calling for a paradigm shift towards a multisectoral, empowering rights-based approach favouring psychological and psychosocial treatment options, 3 he also highlighted the negative impact of social determinants on health which cause inequities likely to have an adverse effect on mental health ( Pūras, 2017 : 15–16). Unfortunately, the much-heralded sea-change in mental health has largely failed to come to fruition, as evidenced by the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs