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Podcast: Strategic litigation for human rights in an age of illiberal democracy and authoritarianism

Panel discusses how strategic litigation can promote long lasting human rights change.

Turning to domestic and international courts through strategic litigation has been central to global human rights activism for decades. It is a strategy that has been used to create long lasting social change in laws and public policies with the goal of advancing human rights. For some, litigation in the name of human rights has been a great success, making the human rights movement stronger by increasing its judicial power. For others, human rights litigation remains a 'hollow hope'. It brings minimalistic, slow and fragile gains at best or, at worst, gives rise to social and political backlash. The recent decay of the rule of law in many parts of the world further puts the role of litigation and courts as engines of human rights change into question.

On 13 June 2019 Wolfgang Kaleck, Founder and Secretary General of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), and Başak Çalı, Professor of International Law at the Hertie School of Governance and Director of the Center for Global Public Law at Koç University, debated the issue at the Hertie School of Governance. The discussion was chaired by James A. Goldston, Executive Director of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

Listen to the full discussion: