Sabotage as a citizenship enactment at the fringes
people with a different immigrant status) who can prove their identity. It was citizenship sabotage, an incognito act of lending and borrowing health insurance cards, that revealed this problem.
Through the efforts of legal NGOs and advocacy groups, statelessness came to the agenda of internationalorganisations such as the UNHCR. As part of the #IBelong campaign, the UNHCR published a short video on the predicament of Romani individuals who face statelessness in the former Yugoslavian country of North Macedonia. The initial caption of the video
made Roma more visible as a target for hostile politicians and media with antigypsyist stances, who have reinterpreted Roma as the minority privileged by the EU and internationalorganisations (Stewart, 2012 ; Vermeersch, 2012 ; McGarry and Agarin, 2014 ; van Baar and Vermeersch, 2018 ). A number of politicians have echoed deeply rooted antigypsyist sentiments, present in the majority population, that equate Roma with beggars, thieves, nomads or misfits who are not compatible with the mainstream social order (Okely, 1994 ; Willems, 1997 ; Van de Port, 1998
merely the advancement of legal protections per se but the systemic integration of a human rights “culture” into the functioning of States, businesses, internationalorganisations, and courts.
This rhetorical commitment manifests itself in various techniques which are often framed as aspects of “mainstreaming.” 82
The immediate goal of this is easily stated: ensuring that “due regard” is paid to human rights when planning or carrying out policy of any kind. 83
But that apparently simple formulation naturally gives rise to the perceived need for greater
This book describes how human rights have given rise to a vision of benevolent governance that, if fully realised, would be antithetical to individual freedom. It shows that contemporary human rights practice is increasingly managerial in nature, interested above all in measuring and improving human rights performance. This has the effect of shifting the focus of human rights from the individual rights-holder to the activities of the duty-bearer: the state, international organisation, or business. The result is a preoccupation with achieving measured improvements within abstract groups such as the population or ‘stakeholders’, with the individual rights-holder being relevant only insofar as he or she is a datapoint in a larger grouping. The book then analyses this trend and its consequences. It describes human rights’ evolution into a grand but nebulous project, rooted in compassion, with the overarching aim of improving universal welfare by defining the conditions of human well-being and imposing obligations on the state and other actors to realise them. The ultimate result is the ‘governmentalisation’ of a pastoral form of global human rights governance, in which power is exercised for the general good, moulded by a complex regulatory sphere which shapes the field of action for the individual at every turn. The conclusion is that it is unsurprising that this alienating discourse has failed to capture the popular imagination – and that if the human rights movement is to succeed it may be necessary for it to do less rather than more.
Canada and to Roma in Europe. The procedures behind such occurrences were strikingly similar despite their happening across different geographical and historical contexts. Moreover, for both Roma and Indigenous people, different internationalorganisations have applied developmental and project-based logic (such as designated decades) to improve their position. Such logic had two adverse effects. First, it portrayed marginalised minorities as backward, frozen in time and having incompatible cultural traits with liberal democracies, leading to an assumption that they
interpretation has developed. Second, we consider the expansion of the scope of human rights obligations in their “positive” dimensions, which have resulted in recent decades in a vast proliferation of circumstances in which duties are said to exist where they would previously have been considered absent. Third, and finally, we turn to the related broadening of the scope of human rights duties beyond the mere State and its organs to include, for example, corporations and internationalorganisations and how they “respect” rights.
The evolutive interpretation of treaty texts
countries. Roma are mostly citizens but have been constructed as aliens and presented as Europe's own internal outsiders (Powell and Lever, 2015 ). Romani minorities have not come from ‘anywhere else’ but have been considered strangers among citizens.
Romani activists around Europe have been addressing ethnic discrimination faced by Roma at least since the establishment of the World Romani Congress (later named the International Romani Union) in 1971 (Nirenberg, 2009 ; Donert, 2017 ). However, internationalorganisations started referring to Roma as
irritations are being met with considerable resistance. Can
transnational regimes become suitable constitutional subjects, that is,
are they social institutions capable of having their own constitution?
Constitutional lawyers have raised this question and answered it with a
resounding ‘No!’ 9 In their view, only nation states can
be constitutional subjects – not internationalorganisations or
pity, then of our wisdom, ultimately of our coercion.” 2
The subject matter of this book is how that paradox finds expression in modern international human rights law and practice. The core of its argument is that the chief concern of the human rights movement has become the deployment of political and economic power through the State, internationalorganisation, and private enterprise in order to improve human well-being. This makes its character increasingly managerial, concerned above all with the technical and programmatic implementation of policies
perfectly possible for them to take on a teleocratic orientation. This is not to suggest, therefore, that international human rights law should only instantiate or resemble what Oakeshott called lex . That would be both impossible and undesirable; law will always be to some extent purposive. Much the same can be said of the role of human rights in global governance. Internationalorganisation cannot be forced into the civil condition – it would be impossible to do this, and it would indeed constitute the direct and foolish pursuit of ideals “as the crow flies” which