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Human Rights Education and Transnational Activism
Human Rights Quarterly (2007)
  • Anja Mihr
  • Hans Peter Schmitz, Syracuse University

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.

  • human rights education,
  • NGOs,
  • transnationalism
Publication Date
Citation Information
Anja Mihr and Hans Peter Schmitz. "Human Rights Education and Transnational Activism" Human Rights Quarterly Vol. 29 Iss. 4 (2007)
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