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Project: Future-proofing human rights. Towards a thicker understanding of accountability

2021-01-01 – 2024-12-31

Abstract

Human rights are increasingly described as in crisis. Aside from those criticizing them for quick political gain or for populist reasons, there are scholars and commentators arguing that the human rights system has become too formalized and institutionalized – and thereby too remote from everyday reality – to offer adequate protection to rights-holders, in times when complex and multi-layered human rights challenges are occurring in rapidly changing and vastly complex societal contexts. Indeed, it can be questioned whether current interpretations of what constitutes a human rights violation and who can be held accountable for it, are not far too inadequate in reflecting the everyday lived experiences of right holders. In this sense, the existing architecture of human rights is indeed facing a crisis. If it is to continue to offer a widely accepted framework for thinking about (social) justice, we urgently need to rethink some of its taken-for-granted assumptions and characteristics. A crucial element thereof is moving towards a thicker accountability for human rights violations. This is what this multidisciplinary project sets out to do.

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