Danish Institute for Human Rights
1401 København K
Main research topics
Human rights, religion and civil religion; The shaping of security thinking in the United States and Europe 1968-2008; HIV/AIDS and human rights; History of social movements in the 1960s and 1970s.
Time period: 1 April 2010 – 31 March 2013.
Phd-Project: Negotiating Universality – The Making of International Human Rights, 1945-1993
Since the Universal Declaration from 1948, the promotion and protection human rights have obtained increased international importance in managing state interdependence and ensuring protection of individuals.
The emergence of human rights entered a new phase in the 1960s with the completion of three International Conventions that made the 1948 Declaration legally binding. They are the Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural both from 1966; and the Convention against Racial Discrimination from 1965.
These conventions were developed in the context of the Cold War and a variety of ideological, political and security interests between UN member states played a significant role in this historical process. Decolonization was one of the driving forces behind this normative development where human rights gained new significance as a strategy to develop an international legal order to underpin the UNs role as a collective security system.
The international human rights diplomacy that was tasked to develop the human rights standards and mechanisms for their implementation and enforcement were in my view “negotiating universality” under political conditions that deserve to be studied in detail.
My research explores this notion of “negotiating universality” through a historical and source-based study starting in the 1940s and ending with the Helsinki Process/The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe from the early 1970s through the end of the Cold War and its immediate aftermath.
Current Research Topics
• UN Human Rights Diplomacy and the Cold War
• Decolonization and Human Rights
• Race, Religion and Human Rights in the 1960s
• Human Rights and the Helsinki Final Act, 1972-1975
• From Jamaica with Law: UN Diplomacy and the Breakthrough for International Human Rights, 1962-1968 (forthcoming)
• The Fall of Religion: Human Rights, the Cold War and the Failed Convention on Elimination of Religious Intolerance, 1962-1967 (forthcoming)