Contracting Human Rights
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Contracting Human Rights

Crisis, Accountability, and Opportunity

Edited by Alison Brysk and Michael Stohl

By chronicling the continuing contest over the reach, range, and regime of rights, Contracting Human Rights analyzes the way forward in an era of many challenges. This multidisciplinary book contributes to building understanding of the maturation of human rights, from a dissident doctrine to a dynamic parameter of global governance and civil society. Through an examination of both global and local challenges to human rights, including loopholes, backlash, accountability, and new opportunities to move forward, this book analyzes trends across multiple-issue areas.
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Chapter 18: Conclusion: From hope to fear in the millennium: Human rights in an age of backlash

Crisis, Accountability, and Opportunity

Michael Stohl


The foregoing chapters have explored the often-contradictory paths of both the still existent opportunities for the expansion – but more frequently the threats and realities of the contraction of human rights – as we approach the third decade of the new millennium. What has become more and more clear with the passage of years is that the events of September 11, 2001 not only shattered many of the hopes and dreams, but also much of the practical work for the emerging global human rights and governance regime that had developed during the last decades of the 20th century. We have learned that the reactions that followed and the consequences for the human rights regime were far more negative and long lasting than anyone anticipated they would be in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Without question the single most important consequence of the reactions to September 11 is that in times of crisis (and perceptions of crisis), security continues to trump human rights – and this has been the case both within and among nations.

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