The Alleged Backlash Against Human Rights: Evidence From Denmark and the UK
Forthcoming in Human Rights in Times of Transition: Liberal Democracies and Challenges of National Security (K McCall-Smith, A Birdsall & E Casanas Adam, eds) Edward Elgar Publishing
18 Pages Posted: 5 May 2020
Date Written: April 9, 2020
Contemporary populism is at loggerheads with human rights. As a result, the challenges now facing the human rights movement are fundamentally different to those of the past. Yet, proposed remedies to this malaise often seem ill-conceived. Populists tend to claim that the institutions charged with the protection of fundamental rights not only limit the capacity of the people to exercise their sovereign power, but are also the source of a growing discontent with the human rights system itself. This narrative is often uncritically accepted and leads to suggestions that human rights must be fundamentally reformed. Although intuitively appealing, such suggestions often lack support from empirical evidence. Focusing on Denmark and the UK, the chapter suggests that existing assumptions may be questioned. It draws on new and existing surveys, including four country-wide surveys in Denmark conducted between 2016-2018.
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