Human rights and humanitarian diplomacy provides an up to date and accessible overview of the field, and serves as a practical guide to those seeking to engage in human rights work. Pease argues that while human rights are internationally recognised, important disagreements exist on definition, priority and implementation. With the help of human rights diplomacy, these differences can be bridged, and a new generation of human rights professionals will build better relationships.
This introductory chapter explores what international human rights are, why they are controversial, and why diplomacy is necessary for the actualization of human rights. It also explains the narrow distinctions between human rights and humanitarianism; discusses the different kinds of actors involved in multilevel human rights and humanitarian diplomacy; and outlines basic strategies and tools used to promote and protect human rights and humanitarian principles through diplomacy.
Chapter 2 examines the continued centrality of the state and how states, as the main duty-bearers, define and implement human rights and humanitarian principles domestically, as well as promote and protect them internationally.
Chapter 3 looks inside “the black box” of the state to highlight the roles of secretaries, ministers, ambassadors, bureaucrats, and ombudsmen. It also looks at how human rights reports are created and help frame the diplomatic process.
Chapter 4 shifts focus to IGOs. States create IGOs to help them achieve common goals or manage international problems. One of the central purposes of IGOs, such as the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU), is to promote and protect human rights and this chapter provides an overview of their respective multilateral architecture. This chapter explains the operation of international human rights commissions and councils, and how international criminal courts have become an important tool of human rights and humanitarian diplomacy.
Chapter 5 delves into the international civil service to show how IGO officials such as secretaries-general and high commissioners (and independent experts such as special rapporteurs) bargain and negotiate for human rights and humanitarian principles. It also explains the diplomatic functions of treaty monitoring bodies and courts in advancing respect for international human rights and humanitarian principles.
Chapter 6 details how NGOs engage in human rights and humanitarian diplomacy. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are just two of the many NGOs which monitor, report, advocate, and educate on human rights. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF; Doctors Without Borders) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) routinely and, oftentimes, quietly deliver humanitarian assistance.
Chapter 7 explores how the human rights and humanitarian professionals employed by NGOs and IGOs conduct day-to-day diplomacy in the field. This includes providing immediate protection, conducting interviews, negotiating humanitarian access, monitoring detention facilities, and creating humanitarian space.
Chapter 8 concludes the text with a discussion of key challenges facing future human rights and humanitarian diplomatic efforts: globalization, failed states, and illiberal challenges to existing norms, laws, and values.