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Human Rights Claiming as a Performative Practice  

Karen Zivi

This chapter analyses the politics of human rights from a performative perspective. It starts with identifying rights claiming as one of the most common ways to highlight and demand redress for injustice across the world. The practice and promise of human rights have a clear gap as human rights violations remain a global issue despite the years of political activism, international human rights standards, and human rights theories. Indeed, several scholars are sceptical about the power of human rights in bringing an end to injustice and inequality. The chapter then covers the ideology of performativity correlating to a theory of language, gender, and politics. It explains that rights claiming may employ non-traditional forms of political engagement and depend on the state to secure the desired change.

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Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

22. Transitional Justice  

Joanna R. Quinn

This chapter examines the link between transitional justice and human rights. Atrocities such as genocide, disappearances, torture, civil conflict, and other gross violations of human rights leave states with a puzzling and often difficult question: what to do with the perpetrators of such acts of violence. Transitional justice takes into account the social implications of such conflicts. Its emphasis is on how to rebuild societies in the period after human rights violations, as well as with how such societies, and individuals within those societies, should be held to account for their actions. The chapter considers three paradigms of transitional justice, namely: retributive justice, restorative justice, and reparative justice. It also discusses the proliferation of the number of mechanisms of transitional justice at work and concludes with a case study of transitional justice in Uganda.

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Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Human Rights  

Christine Keating and Cynthia Burack

This chapter analyses the central human rights issues of LGBTIQ people by referencing sexual orientation and gender identity rights. It considers the power of human rights language and discourses with regard to addressing the discrimination, marginalization, and persecution of oppressed people. People are vulnerable to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) rights violations as a result of the social and political processes which led to heteronormativity and homophobia. The chapter covers the features of SOGI human rights violations such as violence, being committed by states, and correlates these to human rights concerns. It also tackles the critiques on SOGI human rights activism from conservative and progressive perspectives.

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Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

3. Human Rights in International Relations  

Tim Dunne and Marianne Hanson

This chapter examines the role of human rights in international relations. It first considers the theoretical issues and context that are relevant to the link between human rights and the discipline of international relations, focusing on such concepts as realism, liberalism, and constructivism. It then explores key controversies over human rights as understood in international relations as a field of study: one is the question of state sovereignty; another is the mismatch between the importance attached to human rights at the declaratory level and the prevalence of human rights abuses in reality. The chapter also discusses two dimensions of international responsibility: the duty to protect their citizens that is incumbent on all states in light of their obligations under the various human rights covenants; and the duty of states to act as humanitarian rescuers in instances where a state is collapsing or a regime is committing gross human rights violations.

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Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

5. Human Rights in Comparative Politics  

Sonia Cardenas

This chapter examines the importance of comparative politics for understanding human rights practices. Comparative politics has advanced our knowledge of why states sometimes violate internationally recognized human rights. Both domestic incentives and exclusionary ideologies increase the likelihood of rights violations. On the other hand, comparative politics has attempted to explain human rights protection, showing how domestic structures (both societal groups and state institutions) can influence reform efforts. This chapter first consider alternative logics of comparison, including the merits of comparing a small versus a large number of cases and human rights within or across regions. It then explores the leading domestic-level explanations for why human rights violations occur. It also describes the use of domestic–international linkages to explain otherwise perplexing human rights outcomes. Finally, it analyses the ways in which, in the context of globalization, comparative politics shapes human rights practices.

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Political Democracy and State Repression  

Christian Davenport

This chapter looks at the correlation between political democracy and state repression. It notes how political democracy and economic development diminish human rights violations. Democracy mitigates repressions due to policymakers being aware of the repercussions of hurting citizens. Moreover, different aspects of democracy matter with regard to the influence on levels of repressions. The chapter then discusses the case studies on democracy and repression amidst the history of the Jim Crow laws and the Trump administration in the United States. It also considers possible future research into the democracy-repression nexus, which highlights the importance to look beyond state authorities when studying repression.