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

NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 18-05

30 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2018

See all articles by Philip Alston

Philip Alston

New York University School of Law

Date Written: February 2, 2018

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Alston, Philip, The Populist Challenge to Human Rights (February 2, 2018). Journal of Human Rights Practice, Volume 9, Issue 1, 1 February 2017, Pages 1–15, doi/10.1093/jhuman/hux007; NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 18-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3117093

Philip Alston (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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