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Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

9. Global Civil Society and Human Rights  

Marlies Glasius and Doutje Lettinga

This chapter examines the relationship between global civil society (GCS), defined as ‘people organizing to influence their world’, and the normative ideal of a ‘global rule-bound society’. It first explains the concept of GCS before discussing some of the GCS actors involved in human rights issues, with a particular focus on their background, methods, and influence. It then decribes three kinds of activities of individuals and organizations in civil society in relation to human rights corresponding to three different phases: shifting norms, making law, and monitoring implementation. These activities are illustrated with two case studies: norm-shifting activities in relation to economic and social rights, and lawmaking and monitoring activities in relation to the International Criminal Court.