The openGlobalRights 'openPage' provides a multi-lingual space for critical thinking on human rights discourse and advocacy. While other openGlobalRights pages curate focused debates, the openPage ranges across multiple human rights topics. Our authors raise emerging human rights issues, and debate all manner of strategic challenges. We bring together scholars, advocates, journalists, and practitioners, and publish diverse views from all world regions.

Global economic scorecards that ignore rights reward intolerance


There’s something wrong when the World Bank and other groups give top marks for ‘competitiveness’ and ‘ease of doing business’ to countries that would criminalize a company’s gay or lesbian employees. EspañolFrançais, Deutsch 

The decline of grand treaties? Thoughts after the Lima climate summit

7420Civil society pressure from the bottom-up, rather than top-down treaty obligations, is the only way to get governments to act on global warming. Español

Confronting racism in the US: are civil rights enough?


A UN committee has recommended that the United States set up a national human rights institution. But why are US government officials resisting the idea?

Doors closing on judicial remedies for corporate human rights abuse


It is getting harder to seek legal redress for corporate human rights abuse in the countries where they are headquartered, and those pursuing such efforts face increased harassment. EspañolFrançais, Ру́сский

Exposing torture - the virtue of American hypocrisy


While critics cry hypocrisy over the recent US Senate report on torture, we need to rethink whether hypocrisy might have some virtue and if it might be better than some alternatives. Español

Human rights – help or hindrance to combatting climate change?

6928Although the human rights framework brings out the inequities inherent in both the causes and impacts of global warming, it risks perpetuating a flawed development model that is the root of the problem.

Time for the US to reaffirm its commitment to children’s rights


On the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the US should join this important treaty so that it can better promote children’s rights at home and abroad.

Prosecuting corporate complicity in Argentina’s dictatorship

6653Argentina put its dictators on trial after the 1976-1983 reign of state terror. Now courts are investigating the role of prominent corporations in the kidnapping, torture and disappearance of their workers. Español

Privacy and security in cyberspace: right of all or luxury of the few?


Evidence shows human rights groups subject to persistent and targeted digital attacks, compromising their information. Governments, donors and companies need to act to protect the privacy rights of all. EspañolFrançais

One step forward, two back? Dalit women’s rights under economic globalisation

6047The economic reforms begun in India in 1991 were couched in the language of ‘modernisation’, yet they have done little to challenge the caste and gender discrimination faced by Dalit women - in some ways their situation is worse.   

Ebola, human rights, and poverty – making the links

5890The Ebola crisis shows the necessity of a human rights approach to public health that focuses on discrimination and accountability, and the crisis itself has been driven by deep inequities in access to basic rights and a legacy of conflict and mass human rights abuse.  

Development and human rights – a plea for a more critical embrace

5791The human rights framework provides an inadequate tool for understanding the deeper processes of development, and its uncritical embrace risks imposing a legal and bureaucratic rationality that will further mask violence and degradation. Español

Inside and out at the human rights museum

5670Controversy at Canada'a new Museum for Human Rights about what gets in is unsurprising, but we should welcome – not bemoan – such dispute. Few things are more undermining of the human rights project than the notion that human rights are beyond controversy.

Human rights dilemmas in the never-ending peace process

The logic of the promised two-state solution to the Israeli—Palestinian conflict can lead human rights advocates to downplay or ignore the defense of important rights, like full equality and political participation.  

Transforming the development agenda requires more, not less, attention to human rights

Human rights have become a casualty of geo-politics in the post-2015 development process. A more holistic understanding of human rights accountability across borders can turn the tables in a stale debate. العربية

Strengthening UN treaty bodies: some modest steps forward

The recently concluded process to strengthen the UN human rights treaty bodies fell far short of expectations, but still offers some hope for a more effective and better-resourced system. 

Business & human rights standards fail indigenous peoples in Bolivia & Chile

Many international standards require business to consult with indigenous groups regarding major infrastructure and mining projects, but recent research in Bolivia and Chile shows too few do, and governments are failing to enforce these standards.    

Social justice in the penal state – can human rights help?

Most human rights advocacy that focuses on the criminal justice system is largely concerned with questions of treatment and procedure, and fails to critically examine and expose the increasing penalization of poverty.   

Human rights advocates must challenge class and exclusion, not fall prey to sectarian analysis

Those defending human rights must undertake a more rigorous and political analysis of the economic and social factors that breed exclusion, or risk tacitly supporting facile, sectarian explanations for conflict and discrimination.

“Where the Emperor can’t enter:” rethinking the case for property and housing rights in China

China’s property boom and the struggles over land and housing it entails shows that arguments for human rights should not hinge on considerations of economic growth.

The Responsibility to Protect after Libya – dead, dying or thriving?

Controversy over the UN-authorized NATO intervention in Libya has not – contrary to what some expected – diminished support for R2P in the UN the Security Council, which increasingly invokes the concept.     

Illicit financial flows, poverty and human rights

Lawyers have played an important role in creating the offshore system – they cannot wash their hands of responsibility for its impact on fundamental human rights.

Human rights and just taxation

Half of the world’s population is denied the right to an adequate standard of living. To remedy this, governments must secure adequate tax revenues from large companies and wealthy individuals. Reform of the rules governing transnational financial flows is central to the cause of universal human rights.

A truly bad idea: a World Court for human rights

A proposed World Court of Human Rights is a bad idea - driven by a misguided legalism, that risks giving undue influence to an elite judicial coterie, and diverting resources from more important and achievable reforms.

A do and don’t do list for the new High Commissioner

A new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has just been appointed - Prince Zeid, Jordan’s UN Ambassador in New York. He will need to move quickly to improve the visibility and viability of the Office’s mandate in a changing global environment.    

Human rights: gated community or ecosystem?

Proposals for the human rights movement to set priorities assume a hierarchical model of action that is outdated for today’s networked and decentralized activism – this gatekeeping model would privilege the influence of northern states and international NGOs. Español

#BringBackOurGirls – Not ‘clicktivism’ but growing citizen mobilisation

The campaign begun on Twitter to demand action to secure the release of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls is not an isolated action, but a sign of growing citizen mobilisation in Nigeria through social media.  

A step forward? A sceptical view on the need for a new business and human rights treaty

Enforceable rules and accessible remedies are needed to address negative corporate impacts on human rights, but negotiating a new international treaty isn’t the right approach. 

The world needs a treaty on business and human rights

To ensure governments take seriously their duty to regulate to prevent corporate harm to human rights - and companies take seriously their duty to respect these rights - respond to the widespread demand from civil society and many governments and start negotiations on a new business and human rights treaty.

Before we get carried away – politics, security and Nigeria’s missing girls

The kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram is a heinous act, but there is a risk the much-needed rescue mission will become a moral cover for the global war on terror and the further militarization of Africa.

Voices in the wilderness and the imperative of solidarity

Of course, human rights NGOs should better measure the impact of their work. But even when it can change little, reporting abuses has intrinsic value as an act of bearing witness and maintaining solidarity with the victims. 

A ‘global human rights movement’ and the ‘southern’ middle class - a tale of two fetishes

The burgeoning middle class in the ‘global south’ may pose risks for a progressive human rights agenda, marginalizing the concerns of the powerless – that are already side lined by a supposed ‘global human rights movement’.     

Human rights in a multi-polar world

Growing global contests over territory and values, played out against backdrop of a still dominant anti-terror security paradigm, pose a serious risk to human rights worldwide. New thinking is needed to find ways of action that can overcome or avoid the political paralysis in the UN

Beyond the law – towards more effective strategies for protecting human rights

International human rights advocacy relies too heavily on international law and institutions to achieve change. It needs to be better informed by local realities, better prioritized and better coordinated with key states that wield the pressure which - when linked to local efforts - really makes a difference. Español. 

Independent and impartial? Re-thinking the adjudication of trade and investment disputes

Those adjudicating international trade and investment disputes pay too little heed to the human rights impacts of their decisions. To ensure they do so, we need a much broader understanding of their independence and impartiality than the narrow manner in which these terms are understood today. 

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