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18.07.2017

What is the future of human rights? A general note by Katrin Kinzelbach

Reading Katrin Kinzelbachs article "Without democracy no Human Rights and no peace" one point becomes very clear. The "liberal peace project is in a crisis" and cannot be saved without other democracies taking a stronger stance on the protection of Human Rights and democracy assistance. The heydays of Human Rights as a universally accepted and celebrated doctrine are over, its image seriously damaged by the hypocrisy embedded in such institutions as Guantanamo bay in the US. The loss of reputation of its formerly strongest pioneer was sealed by the loss of political will through the election of Donald Trump and left behind a vacuum to fill.

Thus, Kinzelbach calls on Germany to take a stronger role and implement the EU’s Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders. Starting from the premise that human rights and peace require democratization she emphasizes that state actors cannot rely on the work of civil organizations, which simply lack the capability to prevent violence from happening, but have to be more involved themselves. However, the challenge now is not to fall in the same post-colonial pitfalls that made the ‘democracy export’ of the last decade prone to fail, but to concentrate on ‘democracy assistance’. In six points Kinzelbach outlines precisely how this assistance can take shape.