Human Rights

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David Kaye

An explosive new report on torture in Syria politicizes atrocities committed during Syria's civil war. It will not lead to what Syrians want and need: an independent criminal inquiry that results in international prosecutions and promotes domestic accountability.

Pin Ho and Wenguang Huang

Former Chinese politician Bo Xilai is expected to be sentenced for corruption this weekend. If his trial had been a TV drama, the closing credits for directing and scripting would have gone to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party’s secret anti-corruption body. Here's how the commission works.

Lindsay Benstead, Ellen M. Lust, Jakob Wichmann

Nearly two years after NATO’s much-hailed intervention in Libya, observers fear that the country could become a failed state. Nevertheless, Libyans are optimistic about the country's future -- and for good reason.

Jacob Mchangama and Guglielmo Verdirame

If human rights were a currency, its value would be in free fall, thanks to a gross inflation in the number of treaties and laws adopted by international institutions in recent years. The beneficiaries of this process? Authoritarian states.

Letter From,
Lina M. Cespedes-Baez

In the United States, LGBT rights activists are debating whether same-sex marriage can most easily be won in the court of law or in the court of public opinion. That debate looks strikingly similar to the one in Colombia, which may soon become the fifth Latin American country to adopt marriage equality.

Samuel Moyn

The Supreme Court decision on Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. seemed to deal a blow to foreign victims of foreign human rights abusers who wished to the Alien Tort Statute to sue their abusers in U.S. courts. But the decision might be a blessing in disguise. The ATS never proved that useful in advancing human rights worldwide, and by slamming the door on it, the Supreme Court has pushed the human rights movement to focus on using other tools.

Comment, Mar/Apr 2013
Pierre N. Leval

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to foreign victims of foreign human rights abusers who wish to use U.S. courts to sue their abusers. As a top legal scholar and federal judge wrote in this article--which Justice Stephen Breyer cited in his opinion--such lawsuits offered victims some measure of solace and gave substance to underenforced human rights laws.

Michael Ledeen

Iranian dissidents will tell the United States what they need. But before that happens, Washington must clearly state of its commitment to their cause: regime change.

Review Essay, Jul/Aug 2012
Patrice L. R. Higonnet

Democratic revolutionaries always confront the same problem: how to replace the old order without replicating its flaws. A new biography of the French revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre's reveals that today's radicals might learn from Robespierre's failure to resolve that dilemma. 


Anne Phillips

Although shooting female FARC members first during battle is not official policy, a retired Colombian colonel told the author in 2009, any sensible soldier would do so. With their "Kamikaze-like" mentality, he said, they are the deadliest combatants. This profile of one former member illustrates how the abuses women face once inside the group create such a mindset.

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