Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic
Title for 2009
Creating Human Rights offers the first systematic study of
a pioneering women's refugee movement and its challenge, as an
international trigger case, to more conventional paths toward human
rights policy development. Lisa S. Alfredson argues that such
cases, which unfold in the context of a specific country and have
profound impacts on international human rights efforts, have been
neglected in research and pose a challenge to recent theorizing on
human rights change.
In the early 1990s, Canada witnessed the emergence of the world's
first comprehensive refugee policy for women who were seeking
protection from female-specific forms of violence-rape, domestic
abuse, public stoning of adulterers, genital mutilation-while
challenging a gender-biased system. Close examination of this novel
movement, Alfredson contends, provides crucial insights into why
and how states may articulate new human rights that set
Analyzing original empirical data and sociopolitical historical
trends, the book documents the decisive global impacts of the
movement while shedding light on the paradox of noncitizen politics
and asylum seekers' little recognized political strength. Contrary
to expectation, findings suggest transnational networks and
pressures are not required for some forms of change. Rather,
international trigger cases illuminate a range of other key actors
and advocacy strategies leading, subsequently, to a more
comprehensive understanding of human rights acceptance.
In the case of the women's refugee movement, the convergence of
human rights and noncitizen politics points toward a new dimension
for human rights scholarship that, in the current age of
globalization, is becoming critically important.
Subjects: Political Science
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