Title

Limitations of the Liberal-Legal Model of International Human Rights: Six Lessons from El Salvador

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

June 1985

Volume

1985

Issue

64

First Page

91

Last Page

104

Abstract

To subject the international human rights movement to a purely theoretical critique cannot help but suggest a certain mean-spiritedness. After all, no one knows better than those in the front lines of human rights work exactly what, in terms of lives lost and atrocities suffered, the movement has been unable to achieve. The religious workers of the Salvadoran Archdiocese, the legal aid lawyers of Paraguay who affirm conscience over prudence, the founders of the Moscow chapter of Amnesty International, the prisoners in South Africa charged with treason for denouncing apartheid — they and their co-workers hardly need reminding by arm-chair academics that the tools of the human rights movement are laughably weak and that their best efforts save only a selection of individuals in a near-endless stream of victims.

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