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Has the occupation occupied Israel?

Crisis, Accountability, and Opportunity

Gershon Shafir

What happens to Israeli democracy when the simple tools of denial—silence, secrecy, and subversion—fail, as they inevitably do, to obscure the obstinate half-century long reality of occupation and Palestinian resistance to it? What happens when denialism—“the employment of rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument or legitimate debate, when in actuality there is none”—cannot build a cognitive wall high enough to keep out inconvenient truths. I will examine in this paper the backlash against the legacy of Israel’s liberal and human rights turn during the hopeful Oslo years.

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Claire Wright

The extraction of natural resources is promoted and prioritized by national governments in Latin America as a fast-track route to the economic development of the majority. However, its negative impact on minority groups, particularly indigenous peoples, is a cause for concern. This study aims to analyze a clear contradiction between compliance with an emerging social contract regarding consultation rights and the use of aggressive mechanisms – including emergency powers – to protect lucrative business contracts. The study charts gains, setbacks, and missed opportunities for the protection of indigenous rights in the context of a renewed wave of extractivism in Latin America.

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Natasha Bennett

In 2007 Paul Collier wrote of a “bottom billion” people caught in state-centric poverty traps. According to the U.N. Population Fund, by 2030, there will be two billion people caught in localized, individual poverty traps created by the political and socio-economic conditions in urban slums. This global expansion of urban slums presents a critical challenge for the future of the human rights project. This chapter argues that the global expansion of slums exacerbates two mutually reinforcing problems in the provision of human rights: fulfillment and accountability. State-centric mechanisms for human rights fulfillment often do not deliver at subnational levels of governance, particularly in modernizing economies and financially weaker states. Additionally, urban slum dwellers often lack the ability to hold the state accountable, because they have limited resources for mobilization, or lack access to formal claims-making mechanisms, such as the courts. Without a solution to the problems of fulfillment and accountability, the world faces a future in which two or three billion urban poor find themselves locked out of the human rights regime designed to protect the world’s vulnerable populations. This chapter discusses the extent of global slum formation, the nature of the relationship between human rights fulfillment and accountability, and then how this framework applies to one example: the human right to housing in India and Brazil.

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The human rights costs of NGOs’ naming and shaming campaigns

Crisis, Accountability, and Opportunity

Clair Apodaca

International human rights INGOs’ advocacy campaigns of naming and shaming are intended as forms of leverage against recalcitrant governments to encourage their compliance with legal and moral human rights standards. However, these campaigns can have the opposite effect. Criticism of a government’s policy and behavior can also put the INGO staff and the victims at risk of a backlash of retaliatory violence. This chapter reviews moves beyond the commonly debated aspects of INGO accountability by examining the philosophical arguments for and against INGOs accountability for the unintended consequences of the naming and shaming campaigns on nonparticipants.

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Phillip M. Ayoub

This chapter explores why norms governing LGBT rights mobilize a backlash and/or enduring resistance in some cases and not in others. It explores the phenomena of resistance at two related levels. First, based on a comparison of Poland and Slovenia, I trace how differing perceptions of threat define the way international norms are received in distinct domestic realms. Second, I explore threat perception and resistance as part of the emerging phenomena of norm polarization at the global level. Such polarization refers to a process in which states resist norms by purposively taking contradictory positions on the same norm, leading to norm indeterminacy.

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Felipe Gómez Isa

We are witnessing a global backlash against human rights and democracy that is weakening the key ingredients of the Western liberal order. The access of Donald Trump to the US Presidency, and the emergence of populisms in Europe, are but reaffirming this global trend that is undermining the universal scope of values such as human rights and democracy. Against the background of the progressive decline of Western power, the EU is facing increasing difficulties to have a significant impact on democratization processes taking place in different regions of the world. The aim of this paper is to shed light on the potential, shortcomings and contradictions of the EU as a human rights and democracy promoter in a strategically relevant context: post-Arab Spring Egypt.

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Arturo Jimenez-Bacardi

This chapter maps three distinct phases in the intermittent obsession with extra-judicial killings by the United States. First, is the lawless phase (1947–1974) where the CIA carried out a number of covert operations—including assassinations—that were either not vetted for their legality or were authorized despite their illegality. Second is the reform and caution phase (1975–2000) where a clear legal review process was created and limits on past behavior were established, including an assassinations ban. Finally, the secret law phase (2001–present) is a highly legalized secret process that has pushed the boundaries of legality and contracted rights.

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George Andreopoulos

What are the UNSC's prospects for a counter-terrorist discourse and corresponding policies consistent with international human rights norms and standards? What is the responsibility of the UNSC and what is the responsibility of member states? What are the existing accountability gaps and how can they be addressed? In examining these issues, this chapter critically discusses the ongoing interplay between the legal regimes governing the maintenance of international peace and security and human rights and assesses the shifting dynamics between the hierarchical and participatory facets of the international legal process, as manifested through the UNSC’s “legislative activism” since the adoption of UNSCR 1373. By employing content analysis, process tracing and the main approaches to treaty interpretation, it examines member states’ country reports submitted under the 1373 process and explores the factors that have enabled, as well as constrained, the progressive ‘humanization’ of the UNSC's counter-terrorist discourse.

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Backlash and international human rights courts

Crisis, Accountability, and Opportunity

Wayne Sandholtz, Yining Bei and Kayla Caldwell

Non-compliance with, and criticism of, the decisions of international human rights courts are commonplace. Sometimes states seek to curtail a court’s authority, by pruning its competences, withdrawing from its jurisdiction, or shutting it down altogether. This chapter examines these more aggressive forms of backlash against three prominent international courts: the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR), and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Governments are more likely to engage in backlash against an international human rights court the more its decisions are seen by national leaders as harming their domestic political interests.

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Kirsten Ainley

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has failed in its first decade of operation to overcome the challenges of operating in an environment of great power politics. Rather than upholding human rights for all, the Court has only prosecuted Africans, and it has proved toothless in the face of some of the most appalling rights violations in recent times. This chapter examines the extent to which the ICC is biased or dysfunctional and considers the ways in which the Court can refocus on its human rights mandate in the face of opposition from an increasing number of its own States Parties.