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Sur - Revista Internacional de Direitos Humanos

Print version ISSN 1806-6445


BUKOVSKA, Barbora. Perpetrating good: Unintended consequences of International Human Rights Advocacy. Sur [online]. 2008, vol.4Selected edition, pp. 0-0. ISSN 1806-6445.

The article analyzes the negative impact of popular strategies used by international human rights organizations when promoting human rights causes; namely human rights reporting, advocacy and strategic litigation. It critically assesses these strategies, and questions whether they are working and if so, for whom. At the same time, the author questions the legitimacy of international human rights organizations to represent victims of human rights violations and their lack of accountability towards the victims. The author argues that the means used by human rights advocates in their work might be damaging and counterproductive for the victims as their methods often falsify the true experience of victims of human rights violations and end up suppressing their independence, competence and solidarity. Rather than eliminating power relations and domination over those they aim to help, human rights advocates often sustain power imbalances and use human rights violations as a commodity. The article calls for broader cooperation of human rights advocates with victims, by embracing more holistic models of activism.

Keywords : Perils ofinternational advocacy; Accountability; Human rights organizations; Victims; Critical lawyering.

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