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Anti-Rights Tactics, Strategies, and Impacts

Chapter 5

Anti-rights actors adopt a double strategy. As well as launching outright attacks on the multilateral system, anti-rights actors also undermine human rights from within. Anti-rights actors engage with the aim of co-opting processes, entrenching regressive norms, and undermining accountability.

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Photo-OP // the first anniversary of the EU signature to the Council of Europe Convention to prevent and combat gender-based violence and domestic violence, the so-called Istanbul Convention

Anti-rights actors’ engagement in international human rights spaces has a principal purpose: to undermine the system and its ability to respect, protect and fulfill human rights for all people, and to hold member states accountable for violations. Some anti-rights tactics operate from outside the UN and include delegitimization and political pressure to defund the UN, or to withdraw from international human rights agreements.  In recent years, anti-rights actors have also gained increasing influence inside the UN. Their inside tactics include training of delegates, distortion of human rights frameworks, watering down human rights agreements, infiltrating NGO committees, applying for ECOSOC status under neutral names, infiltrating youth spaces, and lobbying to place anti-rights actors in key positions.

Table of Contents

  • Institutionalization of Anti-rights Actors in UN Mechanisms
  • Opting-out and Delegitimization
  • Lowering HR Standards
  • Co-optation - Building a Parallel HR Framework
  • Exercise: Yes, they are strong, but so are we!
  • Exercise: Holding Governments Accountable

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