The Populist Challenge to Human Rights
Journal of Human Rights Practice, Volume 9, Issue 1, 1 February 2017, Pages 1–15, doi/10.1093/jhuman/hux007
30 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2018
Date Written: February 2, 2018
The nationalistic, xenophobic, misogynistic, and explicitly anti-human rights agenda of many populist political leaders requires human rights proponents to rethink many longstanding assumptions. There is a need to re-evaluate strategies and broaden outreach, while reaffirming the basic principles on which the human rights movement is founded. Amongst the challenges are the need to achieve more effective synergies between international and local human rights movements and to embrace and assert economic and social rights as human rights rather than as welfare or development objectives. It will be crucial to engage with issues of resources and redistribution, including budgets, tax policy, and fiscal policies. There is a need for collaboration with a broader range of actors, to be more persuasive and less didactic, and to be prepared to break with some of the old certainties. Academics should pay attention to the unintended consequences of their scholarship, and everyone in the human rights movement needs to reflect on the contributions each can make.
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