Localising human rights law: a case-study of civil society interpretation of rights in Scotland

Elaine Webster, Deirdre Flanigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Literature, most notably in anthropology and international law, has explored experiences and contributions of local-level actors in efforts to realise international human rights. This article contributes a new and complementary perspective to one aspect of this scholarship, on the localisation of international rights language. It focuses on the localisation of legal language in a European context. It explores claims by civil society actors about the applicability of legal human rights standards, drawing upon data generated during the participative mapping process that underpinned Scotland’s first National Human Rights Action Plan. The article provides a qualitative case-study of engagements with three particular rights – the right to life, the right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to respect for private and family life. It finds significant evidence of civil society actors using the language of human rights law to anchor interpretive claims about how the rights should apply, in a way that is prescribed, but not defined by, authoritative institutional interpretations. The case-study reveals how interpretive engagement with human rights law corresponds to a sense of entitlement to use the language of international human rights. It thereby contributes to a richer understanding of the drivers of, and risks to, local-level ownership of human rights language, highlighting insights for both scholarship and human rights advocacy.
LanguageEnglish
Pages22-42
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Human Rights
Volume22
Issue number1
Early online date1 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

Fingerprint

civil society
human rights
interpretation
Law
language
sense of entitlement
action plan
international law
anthropology
respect
driver
evidence
experience

Keywords

  • right to life
  • private and family life
  • civil society
  • localisation
  • ownership
  • inhuman treatment
  • degrading treatment

Cite this

@article{d508bc22ecd848cd876b360e5e30f784,
title = "Localising human rights law: a case-study of civil society interpretation of rights in Scotland",
abstract = "Literature, most notably in anthropology and international law, has explored experiences and contributions of local-level actors in efforts to realise international human rights. This article contributes a new and complementary perspective to one aspect of this scholarship, on the localisation of international rights language. It focuses on the localisation of legal language in a European context. It explores claims by civil society actors about the applicability of legal human rights standards, drawing upon data generated during the participative mapping process that underpinned Scotland’s first National Human Rights Action Plan. The article provides a qualitative case-study of engagements with three particular rights – the right to life, the right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to respect for private and family life. It finds significant evidence of civil society actors using the language of human rights law to anchor interpretive claims about how the rights should apply, in a way that is prescribed, but not defined by, authoritative institutional interpretations. The case-study reveals how interpretive engagement with human rights law corresponds to a sense of entitlement to use the language of international human rights. It thereby contributes to a richer understanding of the drivers of, and risks to, local-level ownership of human rights language, highlighting insights for both scholarship and human rights advocacy.",
keywords = "right to life, private and family life, civil society, localisation, ownership, inhuman treatment, degrading treatment",
author = "Elaine Webster and Deirdre Flanigan",
note = "This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The International Journal of Human Rights on 01/11/2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13642987.2017.1390302.",
year = "2017",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/13642987.2017.1390302",
language = "English",
volume = "22",
pages = "22--42",
journal = "International Journal of Human Rights",
issn = "1364-2987",
number = "1",

}

Localising human rights law : a case-study of civil society interpretation of rights in Scotland. / Webster, Elaine; Flanigan, Deirdre.

In: International Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 22, No. 1, 01.12.2017, p. 22-42.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Localising human rights law

T2 - International Journal of Human Rights

AU - Webster, Elaine

AU - Flanigan, Deirdre

N1 - This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in The International Journal of Human Rights on 01/11/2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13642987.2017.1390302.

PY - 2017/12/1

Y1 - 2017/12/1

N2 - Literature, most notably in anthropology and international law, has explored experiences and contributions of local-level actors in efforts to realise international human rights. This article contributes a new and complementary perspective to one aspect of this scholarship, on the localisation of international rights language. It focuses on the localisation of legal language in a European context. It explores claims by civil society actors about the applicability of legal human rights standards, drawing upon data generated during the participative mapping process that underpinned Scotland’s first National Human Rights Action Plan. The article provides a qualitative case-study of engagements with three particular rights – the right to life, the right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to respect for private and family life. It finds significant evidence of civil society actors using the language of human rights law to anchor interpretive claims about how the rights should apply, in a way that is prescribed, but not defined by, authoritative institutional interpretations. The case-study reveals how interpretive engagement with human rights law corresponds to a sense of entitlement to use the language of international human rights. It thereby contributes to a richer understanding of the drivers of, and risks to, local-level ownership of human rights language, highlighting insights for both scholarship and human rights advocacy.

AB - Literature, most notably in anthropology and international law, has explored experiences and contributions of local-level actors in efforts to realise international human rights. This article contributes a new and complementary perspective to one aspect of this scholarship, on the localisation of international rights language. It focuses on the localisation of legal language in a European context. It explores claims by civil society actors about the applicability of legal human rights standards, drawing upon data generated during the participative mapping process that underpinned Scotland’s first National Human Rights Action Plan. The article provides a qualitative case-study of engagements with three particular rights – the right to life, the right not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to respect for private and family life. It finds significant evidence of civil society actors using the language of human rights law to anchor interpretive claims about how the rights should apply, in a way that is prescribed, but not defined by, authoritative institutional interpretations. The case-study reveals how interpretive engagement with human rights law corresponds to a sense of entitlement to use the language of international human rights. It thereby contributes to a richer understanding of the drivers of, and risks to, local-level ownership of human rights language, highlighting insights for both scholarship and human rights advocacy.

KW - right to life

KW - private and family life

KW - civil society

KW - localisation

KW - ownership

KW - inhuman treatment

KW - degrading treatment

U2 - 10.1080/13642987.2017.1390302

DO - 10.1080/13642987.2017.1390302

M3 - Article

VL - 22

SP - 22

EP - 42

JO - International Journal of Human Rights

JF - International Journal of Human Rights

SN - 1364-2987

IS - 1

ER -