Human Rights Strategies


Maastricht Centre for Human Rights, Maastricht University, Faculty of Law, will host AHRI 2021 on 27-28 August 2021.

A great diversity of strategies are deployed in order to create awareness of and expose current human rights violations. Social media and digital technologies are used as a modern and quick method for ‘naming & shaming’. Undoubtedly this is a positive development when it leads to ‘Walls of Silence’ being broken down and the exposure of abusers. The other side of the coin is, however, that the use of such technologies has paved the way for spreading rumours about serious misconduct – regardless whether they are related to sexual misbehaviour or any other human rights violation – which are swiftly disseminated on the Internet and via social media, without being backed-up by a thorough investigation. Another strategy to expose human rights violations concerns strategic litigation. Here the goal is not only to win a case for a certain client but to bring about social, political and legal changes, particularly as regards situations of gross injustice or environmental degradation. Language may also be used as a strategy to serve a certain human rights goal. Modern society is inundated with information. However, the language used in information flows on human rights issues is coloured by certain interests. States, NGOs or other interest groups use language as a tool and a battleground for political struggle. The question arises how academics should deal with these information or symbolic politics.

The theme of the 2021 AHRI Conference opens up the possibility to study and discuss all kinds of strategies that are being used by a plethora of actors who wish to further the cause of human rights. This topic is not only interesting from a human rights perspective (both from the point of view of victims and alleged perpetrators), but it is also a thought-provoking issue for criminologists, sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists.

Confirmed speakers include:

Prof. Jutta Joachim (Radboud University)

Prof. Rashida Manjoo (recently retired from the University of Cape Town and former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women)

Prof. Stephan Parmentier (Leuven University)

Prof. Michael Stein (Harvard University)

More information can be found here.