Annual Lecture on Law and Social Transformation by Kathryn Sikkink: Evidence of Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century

In her lecture Prof. Sikkink makes the case that, yes, human rights work. Critics may counter that the movement is in serious jeopardy: Guantánamo is still open, the Arab Spring protests crushed, and governments are cracking down on NGOs everywhere. But Sikkink draws on decades of research and fieldwork to provide a rigorous rebuttal to pessimistic doubts, demonstrating that in the long term, human rights movements have been vastly effective, not least in contexts of regime change. Cognitive and news biases contribute to pervasive cynicism, but past and current trends indicate that human rights is not in its twilight. Instead, this is a period of vibrant activism that has made impressive improvements in human well-being. Exploring the strategies that have led to real humanitarian gains, Sikkink looks at how these advances can be supported and sustained for decades to come.

The lecture is followed by a debate:
What now?
Strategies for human rights activism & defense in populist times.

Panel: Pavel Chikov (Agora, Russia) and Adrian Jjuuko, (Hrapf, Uganda), Howard Morrison (President of the Appeals Division, International Criminal Court). Moderator: Marthe Sleire Engdahl.

The seminar is a a collaboration with the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, and a part of the 2017 Bergen Exchanges on Law & Social Transformation’s special focus area Effects of Transitional Justice.

The event is free and open to all, and will be followed by reception at the Rafto House (by invitation).

Link to Facebook-event here.

See the full program for the 2017 Bergen Exchanges on Law & Social Transformation.

Kathryn Sikkink is the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at the Kennedy School of Government, and the Carol K. PforzheimerProfessor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.  Sikkink is an international relations scholar best known for her work on human rights, international norms, transnational advocacy networks and social movements, and transitional justice.Her books have been awarded prizes, including the Grawemeyer Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Center Book Award, and the WOLA/Duke University Award.

Sikkink’s forthcoming book Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century (Princeton University Press, 2017) documents the legitimacy and effectiveness of human rights law, institutions, and movements. Sikkink has been a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina and a Guggenheim fellow. Sikkink holds an MA and Ph.D. from Columbia University.