Human Rights and Foreign Policy: 7th Joint Human Rights (Virtual) Conference
We are pleased to announce that the seventh joint international conference on human rights, on the theme Human Rights and Foreign Policy, will take place from 14 to 16 June 2020 online (hosted by the Human Rights Consortium, University of London).
In light of geopolitical rebalancing of power, challenges to human rights from a number of quarters, and waning international support for human rights, the role of human rights in foreign policy requires urgent investigation. For human rights to thrive internationally, states need to support them not only domestically but also in their foreign policies, both in their bilateral relations and multilaterally. Yet, there is significant divergence of practice. Clear challenges appear in the policies of traditional supporters of human rights. This includes actions of the Trump administration on multiple fronts, as well as European states and the EU as a whole. European policy on refugees, for example, severely threatens basic international norms. And UK support for Saudi Arabia even as it carries on a murderous war in Yemen highlights hypocrisy.
Whereas a certain set of middle powers have traditionally been supporters of human rights internationally, and have explicitly incorporated human rights into their foreign policies, emerging powers in the developing world represent a much more diverse set of actors and perspectives on human rights and international institutions which, while providing opportunities for new kinds of engagement, also pose significant challenges.
Much of the work on human rights and foreign policy has focused on one state in particular – the United States – although there is increasing focus on the European Union, and there is clearly a need for much broader investigation and analysis, and broad-based comparative studies are scarce. Thus, an overarching question for the conference is: in 2021, what does foreign policy support for human rights look like?
Potential questions to be addressed during the conference include: Read more