Over the last couple of months, OpenGlobalRights launched its new website and has been expanding on the themes from our previous site at openDemocracy. In our Perspectives section, authors from across the world have debated the rising threats against human rights defenders, closing space for civil society, how to improve funding opportunities, social science experiments, the use of polling data in human rights messaging, and much more.
In July, Padre Melo discussed new threats that are arising against human rights defenders and how organizations must adapt their security measures to offer adequate protection. David Forsythe outlined the many challenges facing the human rights movement but debated whether these “hard times” were simply the expected ups and downs of liberal norms and principals. Nick Robinson emphasized how important it is to reframe and adapt human rights to global shifts, rather than constantly defending the existing rights movements. Christa Blackmon explored the ways in which theatre can complement and even become activism, and Sadhana Shrestha wrote about the importance of building communities and local ownership in order to boost fundraising opportunities. In addition, Garth Meintjes argued that public interest lawyers need to start exploring new tools to protect vulnerable populations.
In August, Joe Braun and Stephen Arves provided scientific evidence on how the political left and right think differently about human rights, and why human rights activists need to use this data to tailor their messaging. Paul Beckett explained the problems inherent in certain “orphan” tax structures that enable corporations to hide who is responsible for rights violations, and Victoria Ohaeri discussed the closing space in Nigerian civil society and outlined ways in which activists can confront new and restrictive legislation. Samira Bueno and Renato Sérgio de Lima used public opinion polls to demonstrate how both the state and the general public in Brazil have legitimized violence as a solution to social problems, and Geoff Dancy articulated several ways in which the anti-ICC narrative growing in Africa has been helping Kenyan leaders win votes. Marc Limon disagreed with pessimism about the state of human rights and argued that the world is actually moving towards universality, while Andrew Anderson acknowledged that human rights are indeed in peril, but human rights defenders are highly resilient. Julius Ibrani and Marte Hellema then analyzed the political situation in Indonesia and argued that the country’s human rights movement will need to reinvent itself to have any real impact.
Protesters in Emancipation Park in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017. Flickr/Rodney Dunning/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (Some Rights Reserved).
In our latest articles in September, Myrella Saadeh describes the failure of the Guatemalan government to protect the country’s children and discusses mounting threats facing Guatemala’s child rights advocates. Finally, Kayum Ahmed outlines the ACLU’s problematic use of free speech when it comes to defending white supremacists and what that means for human rights defenders.
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