The International Human Rights Movement: A History

By Aryeh Neier | Go to book overview

6
Defying Communism

THE RISE OF THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT AS A significant force in world affairs cannot be separated from the Cold War context in which it took place. The Cold War magnified the importance of citizen efforts to promote rights and, though many of those involved in the movement during the Cold War era took significant risks and suffered severe consequences, it was the the circumstances of the East-West conflict that attracted many of them to the cause in the first place. Rights activists on both sides of the Iron Curtain became aware that calling attention to abuses of rights by their own governments carried extra weight in an era when a global competition was underway for hearts and minds. Embarrassing their governments sometimes put them in extra danger, but, because reprisals against them created further embarrassment, sometimes provided a measure of protection as well.

The leading nongovernmental human rights organizations operating globally, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, were born at different stages of the Cold War era and the modus operandi of each in turn, at least during their early years, was shaped by the Cold War (see chapters 8 and 9). Their efforts, as well as the efforts of indigenous human rights activists both in the Soviet bloc countries and in countries aligned with the United States were not only influenced by the Cold War context; in addition they had an impact on the way the Cold War played out

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The International Human Rights Movement: A History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • 1 - The Movement 1
  • 2 - Putting Natural Law Principles into Practice 26
  • 3 - What Are Rights? 57
  • 4 - International Human Rights Law 93
  • 5 - International Humanitarian Law 117
  • 6 - Defying Communism 138
  • 7 - Rights on the Other Side of the Cold War Divide 161
  • 8 - Amnesty International 186
  • 9 - Human Rights Watch 204
  • 10 - The Worldwide Movement 233
  • 11 - Accountability 258
  • 12 - Rights after 9/11 285
  • 13 - Going Forward 318
  • Notes 335
  • Index 359
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