In June, the human rights community celebrated the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Human Rights, which took place in Vienna in 1993. In the Huffington Post, the Freedom Rights Project’s Aaron Rhodes and Jacob Mchangama argue that the meeting had a largely negative impact on the integrity of the concept of human rights.
The 1993 World Conference on Human Rights enshrined the indivisibility and equality of all human rights as an official United Nations dogma, a political strategy to end long-standing disputes about the status of social and economic rights. The conference also ushered in an era of “human rights tribalism” by focussing on the rights of groups, not individuals. In the Huffington Post, Aaron Rhodes and Jacob Mchangama argue that these developments have weakened human rights protections by allowing repressive states to hide behind a morally hollowed-out concept of human rights that makes no distinctions between preventing torture and providing rent subsidies, and by promoting human rights proliferation that reduces attention from the denial of fundamental freedoms.