Center for International Human Rights

Center for International Human Rights

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Center for International Human Rights (CIHR) Statement

                                                 On the Killing of George Floyd and the Protests

The Center for International Human Rights (CIHR) strongly condemns the killing of George Floyd. What makes this incident particularly troubling is not just the sheer lack of basic humanity exhibited by the law enforcement officers involved, but that such inhumane conduct reinforces the realization that it is part of the everyday experience of African-American people across the United States. The ensuing protests constitute a legitimate response to the anger and frustration generated by systemic racism which negates fundamental human rights norms of non-discrimination and racial equality. In addition, the militarized response favored by the current Administration indicates that constitutional rights to freedom of expression and association are also at risk.

At this juncture, it is important to engage in a conversation of the underlying issues that are causing these demonstrations in this country and abroad. The basic parameters and priorities of political and socio-economic life are in need of critical reexamination and assessment in order to ensure a more inclusive social order. This is a global conversation that should involve domestic, as well as international actors and processes. In this vein, we endorse the idea of petitioning the United Nations Human Rights Council for the establishment of an International Commission of Inquiry to investigate racial injustice in the United States. These issues transcend borders and their internationalization will reaffirm that they are part of a much-needed global conversation and that the relevant mechanisms and processes have been designed to address problems wherever they occur, and not designed to be confined to the Global South.


          -  George Andreopoulos, Professor of Political Science and Director, CIHR

         -  Jennifer Hirst, Graduate Student and Assistant to the Director, CIHR

          -  Marie- Michelle Strah, Adjunct Assistant Professor, International Crime and Justice Program

          -  Ray Hilker, Research Assistant, CIHR

          -  Efim Galkin, Research Assistant, CIHR 





Theme for 2018-2019 Academic Year


The ‘Dark’ Side of Human Rights: Challenges and Responses

Human rights face mounting backlash from forces threatened by their emancipatory promises and potential. However, the problems do not come only from forces inimical to the idea of human rights. Often human rights are undermined by the indeterminacies of the human rights discourse, by their cooptation by powerful actors and by their misuse as a result of actions undertaken by their sincere and devoted advocates. Critiques have included arguments that human rights are a western and imperial construct, that they have failed to protect the most vulnerable, that they have marginalized other discourses of social justice, that they have been coopted by governments and that they have been often misused by their proponents.

This year, the Center for International Human Rights (CIHR) will examine some of these issues in light of the growing challenges facing the human rights regime and the pressing need for effective responses. In this context, we propose to address the following focal issues and questions:

  • What are some of the main challenges facing the promotion and protection of internationally recognized human rights?
  • What are some of the main protection gaps facing efforts to address the needs of minority and of vulnerable groups (women, children, migrants, refugees, indigenous peoples, incarcerated persons)?
  • How have the evolving responsibilities of states, international organizations, and NGOs affected their capacities to advance the cause of human rights?
  • In what ways has the existing human rights regime contributed to some of the challenges and threats that it is currently facing?