From the Cold War to Kosovo: The Rise and Renewal of the Field of International Human Rights
Posted: 18 Oct 2010
Date Written: December 2006
This review explores the creation and transformation of the field of international human rights in the period after World War II. The narrative proceeds through an examination, based on documentary evidence and interviews, of three generations of human rights nongovernmental organizations: the International Commission of Jurists, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. Each was created in part to overcome the limitations of the previous generation, and the process, linked to developments in the U.S. field of state power and U.S. activities abroad - especially in Latin America - gradually produced a field with substantial legal autonomy. At the same time, however, the structure of the field moved increasingly close to U.S. power and the issues and strategies that would gain credibility in the United States. The autonomy is therefore structurally close to U.S. power.
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