The Sir Joseph Hotung memorial event: The future of human rights

How can human rights adapt to evolving global and geopolitical challenges? This event will be followed by a reception.

Members event, Panel
11 May 2022 — 6:00PM TO 7:00PM
Chatham House and Online

The Sir Joseph Hotung memorial event is in honour of Sir Joseph’s dedicated support for education and human rights. After a golden era in the 1990s that led to the foundation of several international criminal courts, the growth of UN treaty bodies and the creation of UN special rapporteurs, the international human rights movement has hit stonier ground.

A rise in nationalism and populism, coupled with shifting geopolitical power, has triggered more sovereignty-centric foreign policies. At the local level, many human rights organizations are grappling with issues around legitimacy, shrinking civic space and rising inequality.

How is the human rights movement standing up to recent challenges such as the conflict in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan? What are the prospects for holding individuals to account for the commission of human rights abuses and war crimes in Ukraine? What role can relevant actors such as the UN Human Rights Council, governments, multinational companies and civil society organizations play in strengthening the normative power, safeguards and requirements for accountability provided for in the human rights framework?

At this event, a panel of experts will discuss the impact of human rights movements on recent global challenges:

  • In a multipolar world, what more needs to be done to leverage human rights diplomacy?

  • What role can states and international institutions, including the UN human rights machinery, play in pushing for stronger human rights standards and greater accountability in the face of violations of human rights?

  • What role can corporations play in supporting human rights and civic space, and how can governments encourage this?

The event will be followed by a reception.

This event is part of Chatham House’s ongoing work on democracy that delivers and part of the International Law Programme’s Human Rights Pathways project.

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A member takes the opportunity to ask the panel a question at our event on the digital revolution.
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