British Muslims have substantial claims of social ostracism, discrimination, and denials of a right to identity. There is increasing anger and frustration at the United Kingdom's pursuit of the global "war on terror." The draconian legislation and administrative policies of the recent Labour Governments overtly target Muslim minorities. This article critically analyzes the issues confronted by British Muslim communities in the context of a socially and politically strained environment since the 7 July 2005 London bombings. The article laments the increasing negativity about "multiculturalism," and argues that Muslim identities deserve an affirmed and celebrated position within the matrix of contemporary British society.
For much of the modern era, revolution served as a justification for gross violations of human rights. The sources of this "revolutionary privilege" are to be found in the historical experience of the Western world. Both the Jacobin tradition and Marxism contributed to the readiness of many Western intellectuals concerned with human rights to turn a blind eye to the atrocities of the Bolshevik revolution, its Stalinist aftermath, and a variety of Third World regimes. During the 1970s, East European dissidents, citizens of revolutionary societies, challenged this double-standard. The ensuing "Solzhenitsyn Effect" contributed not merely to the "human rights boom" of the era, but also to the emergence of a new, radical humanitarianism.
This article challenges the widespread belief that Western countries have been antagonistic to economic and social human rights. Examining wartime planning, drafting the Universal Declaration and the Covenants, and the development of functional regimes for money, trade, and workers' rights as well as the European regional human rights regime, we show that Western advocacy of economic and social rights was strong, consistent, and essential to creating the post-war international order, which was intended to consolidate and strengthen Western welfare states. We conclude by considering the sources of the myth of Western opposition and its contemporary implications.
This essay examines the rise of government-sponsored anti-terrorist death squads in Spain that accompanied the return to power of the Left since the interwar Second Republic. It locates the roots of this disturbing and puzzling development in the institutional culture of the military inherited from the Franco regime as shaped by its history of counter-terrorism policies. This argument challenges widespread assumptions about a clean break in authoritarian practices in Spain following the democratic transition of 1977. It also calls into question the claim that civilian supremacy over the military was established in Spain by the time democracy was deemed to have reached "consolidation" in 1982. The conclusion culls the lessons of the Spanish experience of battling terrorism with terror for the comparative study of democratization. It suggests that dirty wars intended to eradicate terrorist organizations can erode the legitimacy of a nascent democracy and, paradoxically, prolong the fight against terrorism.
Transnational human rights activism occupies today a significant place in the practice and scholarship of current global affairs. This article reviews the past successes and limits of this activism and suggests Human Rights Education (HRE) as a strategic tool currently underutilized by activists and rarely taken seriously by academics. We argue that the current practice of transnational human rights activism frequently lacks solid and reciprocal ties to local activists and emphasizes "shaming" and exposure of human rights abuses over their prevention. The professionalization and campaign-driven character of rights activism often increases the distance between transnational activists and local causes and beneficiaries and disconnects the general public from human rights struggles. While claims of impartial activism based on legalistic strategies have the benefit of lifting human rights groups above the fray of politics, the promotion of human rights norms remains a deeply political and contentious struggle. We argue that a greater emphasis on HRE strengthens transnational ties and local support for international human rights standards and leads to societal mobilization beyond the narrow nongovernmental sector.
This article analyzes a category of truth-telling initiatives that emerge from civil society and resemble, either self-consciously or coincidentally, official truth commissions such as those in Chile, Peru, South Africa, and Timor-Leste. Like truth commissions, these Unofficial Truth Projects (UTPs) seek to elucidate, clarify, and acknowledge past human rights abuse or mass atrocity in order to contribute to democratic rule and peace for the long-term.
This article explores why many advocates concerned with lesbian, gay, and transgendered (LGBT) rights in the US have not chosen to frame their struggles in human rights terms. The article recognizes that framing a cause in human rights terms can be an effective way of claiming the moral high ground and of asserting affinity with others throughout the world who seek to condemn human wrongs and promote human dignity. However, this is not always the case. This article uses a historical review of LGBT organizing in the US to explain why human rights framings also may be viewed as unduly restrictive and even detrimental when identity is the central organizing factor.
This article examines the extent to which the British and French colonial legacies influence the human rights behavior of post-colonial African states. We have examined three areas where the literature suggests different colonial experiences for former British and French colonies: legal systems, formal provisions for judicial independence, and emergency powers. Our findings show very little support that different colonial legacies in those three areas affect the level of state abuse of personal integrity in sub-Saharan Africa. We find no solid evidence, for example, that common law system countries have better human rights behavior than civil code system countries. Nor is there any support for the propositions that former French colonies would have less constitutional provisions for judicial independence and checks against the executive during times of emergency than English colonies. Indeed, contrary to expectations, it is the French-legacy states that have stronger protections for emergency powers, perhaps suggesting recognition of the broad powers of the president in the bequeathed French political system and the need to curtail some of those powers. Likewise, we find little evidence that these elements affect their human rights behavior.
This article emerges as a personal reflection on Israel/Palestine. It shifts the focus from the naturalized discourse about Israel and Palestine—two different peoples and two different places—to account for a culturally-shared experience of place. It argues that the Oslo Peace Accords were flawed precisely because they were part a process of disintegrating the very integrated—if inequitable—nature of Israeli and Palestinian society. Recognizing the humanitarian consequences of the escalating violence and militarized nature of the conflict, it argues against the terms of forced separation that have been imposed on these communities to date.