Conclusions of the Third Regional Forum

Issues for the human rights movement in volatile political and social contexts Seventy years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The CIHRS organized the Third Regional Forum in Tunisia on November 3­–4, 2018, bringing together a group of human rights defenders, researchers, academics, and journalists and media workers, as well as representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Some 50 participants from 13 countries attended, coming from Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Germany, Iran, and the US. The forum’s inaugural session was presided over by Kamel Jendoubi, the head of the UN international and regional expert team in Yemen, and included speeches from Bushra Belhaj Hamida, the president of the Committee for Individual Freedoms and Equality in Tunisia; Andrew Gilmour, the UN assistant secretary-general for human rights and the head of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in New York; and Bahey eldin Hassan, the director of the CIHRS.

Rowaq Arabi previously published papers discussed during the Third Regional Forum of the Human Rights Movement in the Arab World

The following are the conclusions of the Third Regional Forum:

[1] Academic Stephen Hopgood predicts the coming end of human rights, arguing that the transition to a multipolar world will push the Security Council to focus on issues of peace and security and abandon human rights issues. In turn, interest in human rights will be confined to ineffectual discussions, perhaps in the UN Human Rights Council. This shift is occurring due to the absence of a global hegemonic force that acts to promote human rights values, whose influence is fading in international relations. In this context, Hopgood points to the weak role of the International Criminal Court and the repeated failure of the international community to protect civilians in conflicts like Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere. Hopgood believes that the world is entering a phase in which each state gives primacy to its international affairs and prioritizes the principle of non-interference in other states’ affairs, which will have an impact on the protection of human rights. Ultimately, the concept of human rights itself will become contentious or be rejected by certain influential parties in various communities, and the international human rights movement will be weakened and its influence will decline with time. For more details see Stephen Hopgood (2013), The Endtimes of Human Rights, Cornell University Press.

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