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Biennial of Thought 2022

Kenneth Roth

The Battle for Human Rights

Debate

Free

Kenneth Roth, former executive director of Humans Rights Watch, speaks with the journalist Anna Bosch about the challenges posed to the human rights movement by today’s rise of authoritarianism, the war-crime strategy that is currently being pursued in Ukraine and elsewhere, and the inconsistent defence of human rights by many Western governments.

Almost 75 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there is an alarming contrast between the theoretical global consensus on the importance of human rights and the unevenness of respect for these fundamental principles. As an example, the Chinese government is attempting to redefine human rights to legitimize its dictatorial rule. Meanwhile, in the West, as governments are not delivering on their former commitments, people are giving up hope in human rights. How can consensus on human rights be renewed and its defence strengthened in the face of the challenges of our times? 

Kenneth Roth, a lawyer, recently stepped down as executive director of Human Rights Watch, a role he had held for three decades. Under his leadership, the organization has expanded its work to address the rights of women, children, refugees, migrant workers, LGBT people, and people with disabilities and has developed programs on the human rights responsibilities of businesses and the human rights dimensions of environmental challenges. Roth has written extensively for major publications on a range of human rights issues, with more than 300 articles to his name, devoting special attention to issues of international justice, autocratic populism, the foreign policies of the major powers, and the work of the United Nations. In this session, he speaks with the journalist Anna Bosch.

Participants: Kenneth Roth, Anna Bosch

This activity is part of Biennial of Thought 2022, Biennial of Thought

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Kenneth Roth

The Battle for Human Rights

There is an alarming contrast between the theoretical global consensus on the importance of human rights and the unevenness of respect for these fundamental principles. Kenneth Roth, former executive director of Humans Rights Watch, speaks with the journalist Anna Bosch about the challenges ...

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