Insurrections and the Cooptation of Human Rights Language

8 Pages Posted: 7 May 2013

See all articles by Seval Yildirim

Seval Yildirim

California State University, San Bernardino

Date Written: 2012


In this essay, I argue that the current international human rights discourse is by its nature an exclusionary and selective one. By privileging certain types of human rights over others, current international human rights law alleviates state responsibility to ensure human dignity at the most basic levels, such as adequate and meaningful access to food, water and shelter for all. Moreover, human rights rhetoric has been corrupted, coopted and poisoned by its utilization to justify neo-imperialist projects that use military force to ensure easy access to Middle Eastern natural resources, specifically oil and water. Current rhetoric of human rights is simply inadequate to address the realities on the ground, as it focuses on a specific set of rights, while rendering other fundamental points of human dignity as of secondary or of no importance.

Keywords: international human rights, Middle East, uprisings, revolution

Suggested Citation

Yildirim, Seval, Insurrections and the Cooptation of Human Rights Language (2012). UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Seval Yildirim (Contact Author)

California State University, San Bernardino ( email )

5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407
United States

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