XIII International Human Rights Colloquium

Conference brings together activists from around the world in São Paulo, from October 12 to 19, to debate the new international order in human rights Conference brings together activists from around the world in São Paulo, from October 12 to 19, to debate the new international order in human rights

Selected participants will be announced on July 20th!

Is there really a new global order emerging from the declining power of Europe and the United States? What is the impact of this on the protection of human rights and what is the role of countries from the Global South in this context? These are some of the questions that will be discussed at the 13th International Human Rights Colloquium, whose central theme will be A new global order in human rights? Actors, challenges and opportunities. The conference will be held from October 12 to 19, 2013, in São Paulo/Brazil, with the intention to strengthen the work and promote the sharing of experiences between human rights organizations from Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

“The countries of the South, regardless of whether they are emerging economies, must respect and promote human rights in their international actions,” said Lucia Nader, executive director of Conectas. “These countries vote in the UN, they trade and sell arms; their foreign policies and positions on the international stage need to be discussed with society, just like any other public policy. The new world order, however weak and tentative it may still be, must place human rights as a priority, and the role of civil society is fundamental in this process. We hope that the 13th Colloquium will be a setting for us to reflect together about the challenges and opportunities with which we are faced.”

The lectures and working groups will be organized into 5 key topics:

  1. MULTIPOLARITY: Is there, in actual fact, a new global human rights order?, to understand and evaluate the changes that are occurring on the global level and their impact on human rights;
  2. INCONSISTENCIES: How to deal with potential tensions between the domestic situation and the international role of States in the promotion and protection of human rights?, with the objective of discussing ways to reconcile the contradictions between the domestic context of countries, particularly in the Global South, and their international ambitions;
  3. ECONOMY: How to deal with the effects of new economic centers from the perspective of protection and observance of human rights?, with a focus on the discussion on economic development and human rights, immigration and “neocolonialism”;
  4. SYSTEMS: what is the impact of this new global order on the international and regional human rights systems?, to assess the potential changes to the UN system and the regional systems and to define the role of new coalitions, such as the BRICS, in the field of human rights;
  5. CIVIL SOCIETY: what are the organizational models in this new context?, to debate whether a new multipolar order requires different types of organizations and networks, as well as different types of relations between organizations from the Global South with their societies and with NGOs from the North.

Each day of the Colloquium will be dedicated to one of the topics listed above. Debates will be held in the mornings, in a participative format, with international speakers and translation into the event’s four official languages (Portuguese, English, Spanish and French). In the afternoons, the participants will take part in workshops and debate in more depth the same issues discussed in the morning, based on case studies and pre-existing problems.

Participants will be selected who have experience in the field of human rights and contact with at least one of the key topics to be addressed at the XIII Colloquium. 

Learn more about the theme of the XIII Colloquium

Geopolitics and the balance of international power are undergoing a process of change. But what does this mean for human rights?

Traditionally, the countries of the Global South are viewed as a target of the foreign policies of countries of the North and of international recommendations on human rights. The need for these States to include and promote human rights in their international actions usually receives much less attention. Add to this the fact that some specific countries of the Global South, commonly referred to as “emerging powers” – namely South Africa, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia and Turkey – could play or have already played an increasingly more important role as global actors.

On the one hand, therefore, there is the potential for greater international prominence by countries of the Global South, not only the emerging economies, through an ongoing international economic and political expansion that very often ignores the promotion and protection of human rights. On the other hand, the relative economic and political crises in the North have left a vacuum in the human rights agenda. The opportunity exists, therefore, to establish a new world order in human rights. In this context, the NGOs of the Global South could begin to play a new role, and work to influence the decisions of their States on the global stage.


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