SUR to discuss challenges facing the human rights movement

Articles for the journal's anniversary edition may be submitted until January 31 Articles for the journal's anniversary edition may be submitted until January 31

Sur Journals issue No. 20, celebrating the publication´s 10th anniversary, will address the challenges that human rights defenders and organizations have been facing in recent years. For this issue, to be published in July 2014, Conectas would like to hear the perspective of activists, practitioners and academics on issues that we have been dealing with it ourselves after more than 10 years working in this field. We have summarized some of these issues into five questions on practical and “existential” topics concerning the work of human rights organizations today.

The first question emerged after the recent wave of street protests in Brazil and around the world: Who do we represent? How do we create channels of dialogue with society? Or, it possible and desirable to incorporate participation mechanisms into the agenda-setting process of human rights NGOs?

Another change on the world stage that has prompted changes in the way human rights organizations operate is the emergence of countries from the South and the consequent increased participation of NGOs from these countries in international spheres. Meanwhile, organizations from the North have been opening more offices in countries from the South. What are the challenges of working internationally from the South? What is or what might be the impact of the greater diversity of voices and leaders on the international human rights movement?

We also want to hear from activists and practitioners about their own working strategies: Are human rights still an effective language for producing social change? In other words, has the struggle to incorporate human rights into international treaties and domestic law produced concrete results?

We have also been pondering on how to combine the need to react quickly to urgent matters with the need to employ traditional strategies to promote long-term impacts. Similarly, we have been asking ourselves whether the increased speed in which information travels today and the predominance of short texts in social networks have turned obsolete the traditional modus operandi of these organizations, centered on the production of reports.

“The backdrop against which human rights organizations operate has changed significantly over the past 10 years, with the emergence of countries like Brazil, India and South Africa, the eruption of street protests in various countries and the possibility of citizens organizing independently over the internet, among other factors,” said Maria Brant, the journal´s editor. “Conectas wants to know how human rights defenders have responded to the challenges and seized the opportunities that have emerged from these changes.”

Articles may be submitted until January 31, 2014. Download the call for papers here in Portuguese, English and Spanish

SUR – International Journal on Human Rights is published twice a year by Conectas, in partnership and with the support of the Carlos Chagas Foundation. It is published in three languages (English, Portuguese and Spanish) and distributed free of charge to approximately 2,400 readers in more than a hundred countries.

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