only search openDemocracy.net

Newest Debates:   Engaging with perpetrators for human rights: When, how and at what cost?

This debate explores various perspectives on whether, when and how to engage with perpetrators of human rights abuses, including discussions of ethical, moral and strategic considerations. Read on...


New business models for human rights: What innovative structures and strategies?

Scholars, activists and NGO leaders explore whether and how non-governmental human rights activity can develop outside the prevailing framework of foreign funded non-profit entities. Read on...


Trump and human rights—how should activists respond?

Leading scholars, activists and NGO leaders debate how best to grapple with the rise of an explicitly rights-rejecting superpower. Read on...


Our latest:

Navigating the minefield of working with perpetrators

Judgments about when collaboration becomes cooptation are too easily made in the abstract, based on moral tastes rather than evidence. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on engaging with perpetrators. Español

Seeing the myth in human rights

To call human rights a “myth” would appear to discredit them, but myth was central in drafting the Universal Declaration. Español


Ethics, technology and human rights: navigating new roads

When we incorporate new technologies into human rights work, we need to be acutely aware of agency, participation and consent. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on data and human rights.

Republicans move to break with the United Nations

Republicans are revisiting a move to withdraw from the United Nations and related human rights treaties—what would this really mean? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Trump and Human Rights.

Taking the battle for civic space online

As online spaces become increasingly restricted, human rights activists must stay aware of the risks and benefits of technological developments. A contribution to openGlobalRights’ closing space for civil society debate. Español.

To understand perpetrators, we must care about them

Preventing future atrocities requires empathetic understanding of how regular people transform into monsters. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on engaging perpetratorsEspañol

Crowdfunding to bypass Russia’s civil society crackdown

With heightened restrictions on foreign funding, reporting on the Russian government’s repression requires creative social media projects. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on new business models for human rights. Ру́сский.

To change torture practices, we must change the entire system

Preventing torture goes beyond understanding individuals—it requires changing an entire system that allows for extreme violence. A contribution to openGlobalRights’ series on engaging with perpetrators in human rights.

Will human rights law actually protect us from fascism?

Human rights regimes such as the European Convention on Human Rights are unlikely to shield citizens against the wave of authoritarianism threatening liberal democracies. 

The fine print: seeing beyond the hype in technology for human rights

With all the hype about new technologies for human rights, activists must think critically and strategically. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on data and human rights

Preparing for terrorism—and potential torture—under President Trump

Will Trump’s unequivocal position on torture affect how the US responds to future terrorist attacks? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Trump and human rights

Tackling inequality: the potential of the Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goal 10 on reducing inequality will require profound changes to “business-as-usual” and close attention to human rights. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on economic inequality and human rights. Español.

Working with the enemy: the pros and cons of collaborating with perpetrators

What is the best way for human rights activists to engage with perpetrators? There are ethical and strategic reasons to focus on accountability over understanding, but there are also costs. Español. हिंदी.

Might Trump lead US activists to rediscover international human rights?

Recent social justice struggles in the US have largely eschewed the language of global human rights. But, Trump might lead US activists to seize human rights again. A contribution to openGlobalRights’ Trump series. Français.

Opportunities for resistance: Trump’s authoritarianism and the law

Human rights values and rule of law are lost on authoritarians, but the need to clothe their action in forms of law is not. A contribution to openGlobalRights’ series on Trump.

Could volunteer-based CSOs be a model for practicing human rights in China?

In China, new laws make fundraising even harder, but the LGBTQ community is getting creative. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on new business models for human rightsEspañol简体中文

Refugee politics from the local to the international

The Trump administration is affecting refugee politics from small towns to the world stage, and activists have a long road ahead. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on the future of refugee protection.

The death knell of American Exceptionalism under Trump

If Trump pushes his agenda too far, Republicans concerned with liberal democracy and rule of law might start to push back. A contribution to openGlobalRights’ Trump and human rights debate.

Ordinary people will pay for rights. We asked them

New research suggests that if human rights organizations use evidence-based fundraising strategies, the public will donate. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debates on funding and public opinion and human rights. Español

An elusive justice—holding parent companies accountable for human rights abuse

A UK judgement on Shell’s operations in Nigeria yet again shows the need to prevent powerful multinationals hiding behind their subsidiaries to dodge accountability for human rights abuses. Español

Imagining justice for ethnic communities in Colombia

Reparations for conflict-related harms as set out in the peace accords are only a fraction of many pending debts owed to Colombia’s ethnic communities. Español

“Quit before they get hit”: withdrawals from the ICC are an indicator of the Court’s success

Are presidents who seek to withdraw from the ICC in denial about a rare instance of achieved gender equality? A contribution to the openGlobalRIghts debate on the International Criminal Court.