Leadership & Government

If governments don’t uphold human rights what can we do?

This is the age of the autocrat. The accession to the White House of US President Donald J Trump reflects a wider taste in strongman leadership, visible in Russia, Turkey, China, the Philippines and elsewhere.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, recently introduced that organisation’s 2017 World Report with an essay entitled “The Dangerous Rise of Populism”, highlighting how laws enshrined to promote tolerance and equality were coming under threat from a “global attack on human rights values”.

This new generation of authoritarian leaders, he said, were “treating rights not as an essential check on official power but as an impediment to the majority will”.

In an international survey of young people by One Young World, 80 per cent of respondents said they have witnessed human rights violations in their country.

Almost half of the One Young World community say their governments do not uphold the human rights of all citizens, indicating a worldwide crisis of confidence in governmental commitment to universal rights.

In this session, delegates will examine methods of recourse to address governmental failings on human rights from the public pressure of highly visible social movements to effective and direct engagement with policy makers.