Preparing Human Rights Advocates: Institutionalizing from Below

By Grossman, Claudio | Americas Quarterly, Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

Preparing Human Rights Advocates: Institutionalizing from Below


Grossman, Claudio, Americas Quarterly


The success of the Inter-American system would not have been possible without advances in the preparation and training of law students. Even still, human rights must be better integrated into the culture and curricula of law schools.

Over the past 50 years, the Inter-American human rights system has become instrumental to the evolution of democracy in the region. Gradually expanding the scope of its mandate to include everything from political rights to gender rights and rights of vulnerable groups, the system has not only helped shape domestic policies but has also served as a key tool for legitimizing respect for human rights in the Americas.

Its increasing relevance is reflected in the ever-growing interest in human rights on the part of law students and the expansion of programs-which in turn have helped the evolution of the system. While these curricular and academic advancements have been crucial, they are insufficient. Ensuring the systematic protection of human rights requires its institutionalization into every aspect of law school curricula. This is also important because of the continuing need to improve democratic institutions and avoid a return to authoritarian regimes. For a region undergoing important changes, the human rights narrative contributes to providing a democratic direction to those changes.

Never before has a complete understanding of the complex and evolving field of human rights been so important. Currently, the Inter-American system receives more than 1,200 petitions per year. This is a dramatic increase from the early 1990s, when the principal approach to human rights violations was publicizing country reports prepared by the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights (Commission). The region's transition to democracy over the following decade required a more formal mechanism of semi-judicial and judicial bodies in which adjudication and legal precedent has become increasingly important.

During its early years, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Court) did not receive a single case. That has changed dramatically. In 1986, the Court had three trial cases in process. In 2009, this number already exceeds 110. Over the course of its activity, the Court has adopted critical jurisprudence on issues such as due process, nondiscrimination, freedom of expression, the rights of indigenous populations, impunity, vulnerable groups, and conditions of detention. At the same time, the Court has developed the procedural aspects of human rights law (e.g., the burden of proof and rights of petitioners before the Court), thereby strengthening the legal framework for human rights matters which, too often, have been politicized and compromised by the application of double standards and ideological preferences. This "legalization" now needs to be a core element in the education and training of future lawyers.

Human Rights Post-World War II

The lessons learned following the human rights atrocities committed during World War II led the international community to tragically understand that the nation-state could not be solely entrusted with the well-being of its inhabitants. In Europe and elsewhere, including the Western Hemisphere, states had been directly responsible for mass and gross violations of human rights. The aftermath saw the formal declaration of internationally and regionally defined rights and norms, such as the International Bill of Human Rights, and the creation of supervisory bodies (e.g., commissions and courts) to ensure compliance with international human rights obligations.

Needless to say, the actual application of these principles has not always matched the rhetoric. Nationalism, fanaticism, extensive poverty and ignorance continue to frustrate the effective realization of the International Bill of Human Rights. To complicate matters, the continuing evolution of human rights has not been accompanied by widespread law school curriculum reform anywhere in the Americas. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Preparing Human Rights Advocates: Institutionalizing from Below
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.