On Human Rights Around the World Today

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Marilyn Grell-Brisk with Timothy M. Gill

Targeted immigration bans, imprisonment of political opponents, abuse of refugees, disregard of immigrant and worker rights, murder, torture —the current social-political-economic landscape in the world appears bleak. The present preoccupation with these issues in our public consciousness, create a sense of urgency and continued crisis. It is not surprising then, that there is a renewed focus on the question of human rights. In the series of short articles that follow, we take a look at human rights within historical, national and global contexts. Gabriel Hetland asks us to examine the very idea and concept of human rights through the example of Human Rights Watch in Latin America. He calls for the issue to be analyzed more thoroughly and from a comparative historical perspective. This is exactly what the other articles do, while keeping the national contexts in the forefront. Gábor Attila Tóth, juxtaposes the question of human rights with freedom and liberty in post-communist Hungary. How do we understand vanishing liberties accomplished through seemingly democratic means? In the case of Russia, Anna Paretskaya discusses the repression of political opponents through the very medium that should allow for expressing disagreement with one’s government —the press and media. The last article by Timothy M. Gill, approaches the topic by looking at how the rise of Trump has changed the discourse on human rights in the United States, a country which for so long purported to be the steward and protector of human rights around the world.