1st Edition

Human Rights on the Edge The Future of International Human Rights Law and Practice

Edited By Heather Smith-Cannoy, Tricia Redeker Hepner Copyright 2023

    This book grapples with the challenges inherent in an uncertain period for global human rights and explores the future of international human rights law and practice.

    Many Western scholars are increasingly pessimistic about the future of international human rights law. However, the contributions to this volume demonstrate that far from collapsing in the face of duress, the concept of human rights has endured despite contractions and the spectre of co-option and manipulation by the powerful. In addition, law is a malleable tool that is deployed in novel ways to promote human rights. The book illustrates that the power of human rights lies not in their essentialized transcendence of time, culture, and context but in their enduring promise that a more just world can emerge from sustained and creative struggle through, against, and at the margins of states, law, and institutions. The key questions to emerge are not whether human rights law and practice will survive, but rather what are the forces that sustain, revitalize, and transform them? And what are human rights in the process of becoming?

    This book will be of immense interest to those studying and researching across Politics, Human Rights, Gender and Law. It was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Human Rights.

    Foreword—The future of human rights: A research agenda

    Alison Brysk

    Introduction—Human rights on the edge: The future of international human rights law and practice

    Tricia Redeker Hepner and Heather Smith-Cannoy

    1. NGO repression as a predictor of worsening human rights abuses

    Suparna Chaudhry and Andrew Heiss

    2. New frontiers in international human rights: Actionable nonactionables and the (non)performance of perpetual becoming

    Kamari Maxine Clarke

    3. Epistemes of human rights in Kashmir: Paradoxes of universality and particularity

    Sarbani Sharma

    4. "Legal exhaustion" and the crisis of human rights: Tracing legal mobilization against sexual violence and torture of Kurdish women in state custody in Turkey since the 1990s

    Nisa Göksel and Jaimie Morse

    5. The boundaries of religion in international human rights law

    Shanna Corner

    6. Disentangling gendered peace: Observing gendered peace in policy

    Anntiana Maral Sabeti

    7. The evolution of the global movement to end child marriage

    Andrea Vilán


    Heather Smith-Cannoy is a Political Scientist at Arizona State University, where she directs the Global Human Rights Hub and the undergraduate degree program on Social Justice and Human Rights. She has published three books, and 15 articles and book chapters on human rights, international law, sex trafficking and gender.

    Tricia Redeker Hepner is a Political and Legal Anthropologist at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on migration and displacement, transnationalism, human rights, transitional justice, militarism, and conflict/peace. She has published four books and more than twenty peer-reviewed journal articles or chapters. She directs ASU’s Master’s Program in Social Justice and Human Rights.