n Law, Democracy & Development - The need for a human rights culture : forum

Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1028-1053
  • E-ISSN: 2077-4907



On the eve of this anniversary of Human Rights Day I want to share with you a few observations on human rights in the context of 'continuity and change'. In particular, we must question whether the very notions of 'continuity' and 'change' do not exist in contradiction to each other. Before 1994, definitions appeared to be rather simple - 'they' were the oppressive regime and 'we' the human rights activists. The battle was contested on every possible terrain from the barricades to the pulpits, the courts, the factory floor, the sports field, through the armed struggle and on every available international platform; and we won. 'We' were distinguished by the fact that we held the moral high ground and 'they' were just simply bad. Definitions were easy and the world quite uncomplicated.

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