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Institute for Policy Studies
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Date & Time

February 27, 2014
6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Location

IPS Conference Room
1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC, USA

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Foreign Policy In Focus » Event / Panel Discussion

Economic Crisis, War & Racism

IPS Associate Fellow, Ajamu Baraka visiting from Colombia, South America on a U.S. tour will speak about "why the fight must be for people-centered human rights."

photo of Ajamu

The current human rights framework that emerged from the ashes of the Second World War is now suffering a crisis of legitimacy. It’s questionable legal relevance and ability to constrain the behavior of states, especially Western states, has called into question its value as a framework to provide universal standards and a legal regime that is equally applied.

At the same time, a professional human rights industry has developed that shares a worldview informed by the assumptions of classical Western liberalism. Those who are non-Western, marginalized and oppressed have witnessed example after example of double standards and even collaboration between Western states and Western human rights advocates.
What distinguishes the people-centered approach from prevailing schools of human rights theory?

Ajamu Baraka, who has been in the forefront of developing this approach to human rights activism, will share the component parts of the people-centered framework for human rights. In interactive dialogue, Ajamu will address:

  • What is the full range of the still developing human rights idea?
  • What transformative politics and re-conceptualizing is needed to “decolonize” human rights?
  • The roll of bottom-up reconstruction in a people-centered framework and the restructuring of prevailing social relationships that perpetuate oppression.

An IPS Associate Fellow currently residing in Cali, Colombia, Ajamu Baraka is a human rights defender and veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles. Baraka was the Founding Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network (USHRN) from 2004 until 2011 and served on various boards, such as Amnesty International (USA) and the National Center for Human Rights Education. He is currently on the boards of the Center for Constitutional RightsLatin American Caribbean Community Center, and Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights.

He has taught political science at various universities and is currently editing The Struggle for People-Centered Human Rights: Voices From The Field.