The human rights movement has brought down dictators, changed government practices, and transformed public opinion. Yet the strategies behind this movement are seldom documented.
Campaigning for Justice (Stanford University Press) outlines some of the most innovative human rights campaigns of recent years, and how activists were able to fight seemingly intractable abuses to secure concrete advances in human rights.
Campaigning for Justice explores how human rights advocates have struggled to end the use of child soldiers, to bring former Liberian president Charles Taylor to justice for war crimes, to overcome homophobic violence in Nepal and Jamaica, and to secure labor rights for some of the world’s most vulnerable and underpaid workers. The 320-page book describes the courageous struggle of Libyan families to stand up to the Qaddafi regime and demand justice for a prison massacre, and ultimately spark the revolution that drove Qaddafi from power; and unlikely allies – including law enforcement and prisoners’ families – that changed California law sentencing child offenders to life in prison with no possibility of release.
The book profiles individual activists who fight on the frontlines for justice, and their real-life struggles and motivations. These include Sunil Pant, the first openly-gay member of Parliament in Nepal; Aloysius Toe, who was jailed and tortured in Liberia for speaking against war-time abuses; Lhadon Tethong, an outspoken Tibetan activist who challenged the Chinese government during the 2008 Beijing Olympics; and Lilibeth Masomloc, who was abused by employers beginning at age of 13, and by the age of 20, led the Philippines’ first labor union for domestic workers.
One of the unique contributions of Campaigning for Justice is that it assesses each featured campaign, highlighting the concrete strategies that propelled human rights efforts forward, the obstacles that hindered progress, and the lessons learned to create an even stronger and more successful human rights movement.