Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 October 2011
The question concerning the local relevance of human rights can be approached from different angles. The contributors to the present volume predominantly focus on the prospects for mobilising human rights from below in order to effect social change. They do this both in theoretical terms and through case studies, or a combination of both. Some authors focus on the underlying notion of localisation and the challenges facing human rights in the context of globalisation. Others analyse the factors that render community-based human rights campaigns successful or unsuccessful, the importance of economic, social and cultural rights for advancing social justice and integration, and the question of how to overcome the ‘implementation gap’ between rhetoric and reality. Other authors in turn present concrete accounts, rich in detail and complexity, of struggles to realise rights in different parts of the world.
Looking at the manuscript as a whole, it provides an innovative and coherent account of the importance of localising human rights as well as specific ways of going about this. A primary aim of my epilogue is to reconstruct the main elements of this overall position. Before turning to this, however, I wish to draw attention to another approach to localising human rights, which is not so well developed in the present publication yet in my view equally important. This has to do with building a human rights perspective into public policy making and administrative procedures at all levels of governance as well as in institutional settings that are not directly associated with human rights. I shall begin by presenting a case related to a law reform process in Tanzania in which I was peripherally involved in the late 1990s and which illustrates what is at stake in this complementary approach to the localisation of human rights.