Perpetrating Good: The Unintended Consequences of International Human Rights Advocacy



Category: Article/Paper
Uploaded: 10 March 2009
Tags: public interest lawyering

Barbora Bukovska, PILI Papers No. 3, PILnet (then Public Interest Law Institute), Budapest, 2009.


In her article "Perpetrating Good," Barbora Bukovskà focuses on the impact of human rights reporting, advocacy and strategic litigation on human rights victims.


She analyzes whether these methods are working — and if they are, for whom. Her assessment is critical: she argues that the means used by human rights advocates in their work might be damaging and counterproductive. Although intending to empower those they aim to help, human rights advocates can sometimes perpetuate existing power imbalances. Among the questions Bukovska raises are whether human rights methods falsify the true experience of victims of human rights violations and whether they erode agency in ways that can be unintentionally counter-productive.

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