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Emerging Powers

Emerging powers and human rights


In our first discussion our contributors evaluated the stance that newly powerful states take towards human rights.


The twilight of human rights law

The international human rights regime is too expansive in scope and feeble in enforcement to have any real impact; good government can’t be reduced to a set of rules or rights.  FrançaisالعربيةEspañol

Latest responses:

Twilight or dark glasses? A reply to Eric Posner

Beth A. Simmons

Human rights law makes a difference

Michael O'Flaherty

Challenges and opportunities in a changing world

Emerging powers are starting to wield some clout on global rights but they need to do much more says Amnesty International’s Secretary General. Translations: Türkçe, Español, 中国语文, العربية

Latest responses:

OSCE gathering needs to redefine its approach to human rights

Alexander Sergunin

No more doble-cara: it’s time for Peña Nieto to practise what he preaches

Ben Leather

Putin emboldens neighbors, irks US

J. Brian Atwood

Can China be a normative power?

Until now, the west has been attempting to tell China how to behave when it comes to human rights. But things are changing. Increasingly, China is engaging in international debate over rights. Does China aim to redefine the norms? Translations: 中国语文, Español, العربي.

Latest responses:

Taking to the streets of Hong Kong: are both sides losing control?

Han Dongfang

Collective apathy: nationalism and human rights in China

Tianghzao Yang and Jiangnan Zhu

Justice in China: common ground to discuss rights

Kerry Brown

Is China a challenge to the existing international order?

Jiangnan Zhu

Common ground and preserving differences

Xiaoyu Pu

Deeds, not words

David Schlesinger

The end of a temporary advantage

Hugh Shapiro

Can India be an international human rights leader?

As an emerging economy with a growing work force, India believes it should have a voice in global affairs. No one disagrees. But then, on crucial foreign policy issues, India should take initiatives that seek an end to human suffering. Translations: Español, 中国语文हिंदी

Latest responses:

Playing both sides: India’s muted response to the Gaza conflict

Seema Guha

Time for India to clean up its act

Babloo Loitongbam

India's global human rights advocacy: hamstrung by Kashmir and Cold War syndrome

Suhas Chakma

The so-called rights revolution in India

Neera Chandhoke

Rights reconceived: India’s new approach

Mathew Idiculla

A reformed role model: India, a reluctant rights promoter

Ram Mashru

Misplaced priorities? Global leadership and India’s domestic neglect of human rights

Aseem Prakash

Can Brazil promote change without changing itself

Brazil has an adroit capacity to identify problems in the way human rights are being addressed internationally. But Brazil needs to set an example through its own actions. Translations: Português, Français, Español.

Latest responses:

Who’s afraid of the diplomatic dwarf?

Guilherme Casarões

Can Brazil help roll back US surveillance?

Robert Valencia

Brazil too ‘traditional’ to be a global human rights leader

Jeffrey Cason

Human rights: past their sell-by date

It is activists, not states who will make a difference in future. But western-led rights organizations may have seen their day. Translations: Español, العربي.

Latest responses:

Legalizing economic and social rights can help the poor: reflections from South Africa

Stuart Wilson

Yes, economic and social rights really are human rights

Stanley Ibe

Legalizing economic and social rights won’t help the poor

Jacob Mchangama

Does social justice work against human rights?

Pedro Pizano

Human rights: the global expansion

Stanley Ibe

Making human rights work for the Palestines of the world

Valentina Azarov

The hidden authors and missing histories of human rights

Neil Stammers

Can we decolonise human rights?

Jose-Manuel Barreto

Making women's rights human rights

Jean H. Quataert

Misunderstanding the mass politics of the rights mission

Jack Snyder

Human rights from the bottom up: beyond the ideological export model

Anthony Tirado Chase

Beyond geopolitics: realizing international human rights globally

Edwin Rekosh

It begins and ends with power

Stephen Hopgood

Moving beyond cold war visions and endtime prophecies: claiming all human rights for all (once and for all)

Global Initiative for Economic Social and Cultural Rights

Global Human Rights: For futures unlike the past

Vijay Nagaraj

Against reductionist views of human rights

César Rodríguez-Garavito

Human rights and social justice: the in(di)visible link

Ignacio Saiz and Alicia Ely Yamin

Human rights are also about social justice

Margot Salomon

Misunderstanding our mission

Aryeh Neier

Leaving the struggle for women’s rights out of your account

Marsha A. Freeman

‘Human Rights’ must join activists in social struggle

Hadas Ziv

Encouraging stronger engagement by emerging powers on human rights

Resentment of the west is making emerging powers hold back when they could be using their strengths and experiences to challenge the world’s abusive regimes. Translations: Español.


South Africa’s foreign policy: between idealism and the realpolitik of being an emerging power

More than most, South Africa is expected to be a defender and a promoter of human rights, because of its past. The country has the potential to lead the way in pushing for a more democratic international order. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human RightsEspañol, Français, العربية


Turkey and the neo-Ottoman approach to human rights

Erdoğan is trying to carve out a role for Turkey as the protector of the rights of Muslims worldwide while punishing dissent within its own borders. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human Rights.  Español, Türkçe, Россия.


Mexico can lead the way in protecting migrant workers worldwide

Mexico has deployed few resources to take up the cases of horrific abuse of Central American trans-migrants and of its migrants in the US. It is in a unique position to take up this cause and create a model for the rest of the world. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human Rights. Español

Latest responses:

México, la permanente encrucijada y su (¿cínica?) política migratoria

Rodolfo Córdova Alcarez
Latest articles and responses in date order:

OSCE gathering needs to redefine its approach to human rights

The OSCE needs to overhaul the focus of its annual meeting on human rights. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on emerging powers and human rightsРу́сский

Twilight or dark glasses? A reply to Eric Posner

Eric Posner argues that the proliferation of human rights norms is essentially useless, but his argument ignores key evidence to the contrary. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human RightsFrançais, Espanol

Human rights law makes a difference

Though far from perfect, international human rights treaties do make a difference, and their many weaknesses point to the need to strengthen not reject the system they uphold. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human Rights.

The twilight of human rights law

The international human rights regime is too expansive in scope and feeble in enforcement to have any real impact; good government can’t be reduced to a set of rules or rights. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human Rights. FrançaisالعربيةEspañol 

No more doble-cara: it’s time for Peña Nieto to practise what he preaches

In Mexico, forty-three students remain missing, amidst mass graves and claims of widespread human rights violations. How is this possible in a country known for its UN human rights advocacy? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human Rights. Español

Putin emboldens neighbors, irks US

Russia’s crackdown on internal critics and Ukraine aggression has emboldened increasingly authoritarian governments in the former Soviet bloc, and raised regional human rights and political tensions. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human Rights Ру́сский

Taking to the streets of Hong Kong: are both sides losing control?

Protest organizers and Beijing are both losing control of the situation in Hong Kong. What compromises can each side make in order to resolve the chaos? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human Rights.

Playing both sides: India’s muted response to the Gaza conflict

With a new right-wing government and a growing number of Indians admiring Israel’s aggressive foreign policy, India’s response to Gaza has been fairly muted. Will Prime Minister Modi reverse the country’s longstanding support of Palestine? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human Rights.