Contesting Human Rights
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Contesting Human Rights

Norms, Institutions and Practice

Edited by Alison Brysk and Michael Stohl

Illustrated with case studies from across the globe, Contesting Human Rights provides an innovative approach to human rights, and examines the barriers and changing pathways to the full realisation of these rights. Presenting a thorough proposal for the reframing of human rights, the volume suggests that new opportunities at, and below, the state level, and creative pathways of global governance can help reconstruct human rights in the face of modern challenges.
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Chapter 9: Advocacy and accountability in the age of backlash: NGOs and regional courts

Courtney Hillebrecht


How does the shrinking space for civil society affect legal mobilization at regional human rights courts and the robustness of the international human rights system? This chapter considers the converging trends of backlash against international human rights courts and attacks on civil society. This chapter examines the intersection of these trends by focusing on regional tribunals, particularly the Inter-American and European human rights system. This emphasis on the regional systems is important because they are central to the international human architecture and are comprised of both longstanding defenders of human rights as well as perpetrators of attacks against human rights defenders and the courts themselves. As such, these tribunals provide an opportunity to examine the epicenter of these confluent trends of the shrinking space for civil society and backlash against international accountability mechanisms.

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