Democratizing states began in the 1980s to hold individuals, including past heads of state, accountable for human rights violations. The 1984 Argentine truth commission report (Nunca Más) and the 1985 trials of the juntas helped to initiate this trend. Argentina also developed other justice-seeking mechanisms, including the first groups of mothers and grandmothers of the disappeared, the first human rights forensic anthropology team, and the first truth trials. Argentines helped to define the very term forced disappearance and to develop regional and international instruments to end the practice. Argentina thus illustrates the potential for global human rights protagonism and diffusion of ideas from a country outside the wealthy North. This article surveys Argentina's innovations and proposes possible explanations, drawing on theoretical studies from transitional justice, social movements, and norms cascades in international relations.
Historically speaking, the study of international relations has largely concerned the study of states and the effects of anarchy on their foreign policies, the patterns of their interactions, and the organization of world politics. However, over the last several decades, the discipline as begun moving away from the study of ‘international relations’ and toward the study of ‘global society’. This shift from ‘international relations’ to ‘global society’ is reflective of several important developments that are the focus of this article. The article begins with a discussion of the anarchy thematic and what John Agnew (1994) has called ‘the territorial trap’, and surveys some of the critical forces that compelled international relations scholars to free themselves from this trap. It then explores the shifts in the what, who, how, and why of the study of international relations. It considers the terminological shift from the study of international governance to the study of global governance, justified because the purposes of global governance no longer reflect solely the interests of states but now also include other actors, including international organizations, transnational corporations, nongovernmental organizations, and new kinds of networks.
Why we cannot truly implement human rights unless we also recognize human responsibilities
When we debate questions in international law, politics, and justice, we often use the language of rights—and far less often the language of responsibilities. Human rights scholars and activists talk about state responsibility for rights, but they do not articulate clear norms about other actors’ obligations. In this book, Kathryn Sikkink argues that we cannot truly implement human rights unless we also recognize and practice the corresponding human responsibilities.
Focusing on five areas—climate change, voting, digital privacy, freedom of speech, and sexual assault—where on-the-ground (primarily university campus) initiatives have persuaded people to embrace a close relationship between rights and responsibilities, Sikkink argues for the importance of responsibilities to any comprehensive understanding of political ethics and human rights.