Have human rights defenders encountered the end of their shaming powers?

May 25, 2014

It is late in the weekend but perhaps you still find time for an interesting long read by Suzanne Nossel, the Executive Director of the PEN American Center. She wrote this for Foreign Policy and it was reprinted in the Pittsburgh Post of 25 May. The article is a good overview with what has gone wrong recently with an increasing number of world leaders showing not to care much about human rights (accusations), an attitude which she dubs “imperviousness”. I am personally not convinced that this is an unstoppable tendency but we seem indeed to be in quite a dip compared to say a decade ago when it comes to the restraining power of the human rights movement. So the depressive conclusion of this relatively long piece is not too unexpected:  “The traditional tools of human rights activism — exposes, media attention and pressure from mostly credible Western governments — are falling short when it comes to some of the major challenges of the day. It is as if an expanding group of leaders has built up antibodies and these leaders can now resist where they previously would have succumbed. While it’s not time to give up on the traditional treatments, human-rights defenders need to get into the lab quickly and develop some new tactics before the virus of imperviousness spreads even further.” It would be interesting to get views from others on this question.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/2014/05/25/Impervious-to-shame/stories/201405250049#ixzz32l7PrPqD

Why so many rulers are impervious to shame – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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