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Human Rights Work and Transnational Legal Activism: Limits and Potential

Workshop, February 8 and 9, 2019

International human rights laws and bodies have been one of the key sites of the struggle against state crimes and human rights abuses in the post-World War II era. Yet, the discrepancy between the promises of international human rights laws and what they actually do has not gone unquestioned. While in some contexts numerous international treaties, conventions and regulations have served as a means of pressuring governments to improve human rights, in certain other contexts international human rights laws and movements have become a part of the problem. The constituents of international human rights movements have frequently been criticized for being complicit with neoliberal and neocolonial projects and policies.

The aim of this workshop is to bring together anthropologists, critical legal scholars, and transnational human rights activists to discuss the limits and potential of international human rights regimes and transnational legal activism. We ask: What kinds of spaces do international courts and systems of human rights protection create as a means of strengthening the weak in the face of state crimes? How and under what circumstances is state sovereignty challenged or reinforced by international human rights laws and regimes? How does transnational legal activism contribute to the enhancing of justice? How do transnational legal activism and human rights language and institutions set the stage for co-optation and de-radicalization? What does the presence or absence of human rights interventions in the context of state crimes against stateless people reveal about international human rights regimes?

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Ayça Çubukçu, Associate Professor in Human Rights and Co-Director of LSE Human Rights at London School of Economics and Political Science.

Organizers: Dr. Deniz Yonucu & Dr. Martin Sökefeld

Poster of the Workshop (699KB)

Programme of the Workshop (609KB)

Participation in the Workshop is free, but advance registration is mandatory. To register please write before February 1, 2019, to:

The workshop is sponsored by the DAAD with funds from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and by LMU Munich

Verantwortlich für den Inhalt: Martin Sökefeld