» Posts tagged: ‘social justice

Can human rights bring social justice?

Worldwide socio-economic inequalities are mounting. While in absolute terms poverty rates are slowly going down, differences in income and wealth are growing. Deprived groups and protest movements mobilize to demand social justice. What do human rights have to offer them?

The latest essay volume in Amnesty International’s Changing Perspectives on Human Rights series, Can human rights bring social justice? focuses on the potential and limits of human rights for social justice and trade-offs in the strategic decisions of human rights NGOs.


The volume contains contributions from, among others, Sara Burke (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung), Samuel Moyn (Harvard), Aryeh Neier (formerly Human Rights Watch) and current and former Directors of Amnesty International such as Widney Brown and David Petrasek.

On 29 September, the SJP students 2013-2014 paid a visit to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.

The event was organized by ISS alumna Ms. Shyami Puvimanasinghe from Sri Lanka (human rights officer at the Right to Development Section of OHCHR).

The meeting started with an inspiring talk by Ms. Jyoti Sangera (Chief of the Human Rights, Social and Economic Section of OHCHR), also an ISS alumna, on ‘human rights in today’s world and the role of OHCHR’. Ms. Sangera among other things spoke about the importance of pursuing substantive equality, realizing enforcement of human rights at the national level, and of contextual approaches. A lively discussion followed, e.g. on the role of the media (mainstream and social media), the contradictions in the positioning of the Human Rights Council as compared to the Security Council, and the need to challenge power structures and to let human rights action be guided by the outcomes of participatory processes.

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Ms. Shyami Puvimanasinghe and Mr. Bat-Erdene Ayush (Chief of the Right to Development Section of OHCHR) also participated actively in the discussion. This meeting was a wonderful start to a two-day SJP study visit programme in Geneva, which included visits to the Palais des Nations (main UN building), the South Centre and the International Commitee of the Red Cross.

Professor Karin Arts accompanied the group on behalf of SJP staff.  P1020146 bewerkt (600x800)

International Institute of Social Studies

Human Rights is a specialization within the Human Rights, Conflict and Gender Studies MA Major in Development Studies. This blog provides a platform for discussion for researchers, students and others interested in this field of studies. The blog is administered by the Human Rights teaching team.