Human rights: realities and realization

During the past few decades human rights have become a vital part of political and academic discourse. Since the adoption of the Universal
Declaration, international organisations, activists and academics have been pushing states to implement their human rights obligations diligently and faithfully. This campaign has been relying almost exclusively on legal means, and it is aimed at granting individual, legally enforceable rights to citizens. The question is whether the international human rights campaign has been a success. Important players in the human rights domain, especially in Asia and Africa, are sceptical about this legal approach focusing on just individual rights and cases, and they are distancing themselves from the human rights discourse rather than embracing it. Since some of them, like the People’s Republic of China, are rapidly becoming very important actors on the world stage, the time has come to take stock and to change course if necessary.

In a book which will be published in June, Bas de Gaay Fortman, who is Professor Emeritus of Political Economy of Human Rights at Utrecht
University, will be discussing these important issues. In Political Economy of Human Rights, Rights, Realities and Realization , Prof. de Gaay Fortman challenges the legal myopia of the current human rights debate, he lays out a contextual approach which identifies the realities that constrain the implementation of human rights and he offers more effective ways for their realization.

The Netherlands School of Human Rights Research and the Summer Institute for Global Justice are pleased to host a launch of the book which will take place on Tuesday 7 June 2011 from 4pm at the Raadzaal, Achter Sint Pieter 200, Utrecht.


– Moderator: Tom Zwart, Professor of Human Rights, Utrecht University and Director of the Netherlands School of Human Rights Research

– Presentation of the first copy of the book by Bas de Gaay Fortman to Bea ten Tusscher, Director Human Rights, Gender, Good Governance and Humanitarian Aid Directorate of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs

– Reply by Mrs. Ten Tusscher

– Comments by Yanqing Hong, Phd-candidate, Political economy approach to the right to education, Brianne Leyh-McGonigle, Phd-candidate International Criminal Law, Jayshree Mangubhai, PhD-candidate Upstream strategies for HR realisation

– Discussion

– Drinks

Copies of the book will be available for purchase at a discounted rate.

When: Tuesday 7 June 2011 from 4pm
Where: The Raadzaal, Achter Sint Pieter 200, Utrecht.

Please send an email of attendance to if you wish to participate.

Vice Versa

31 mei 2011