Full spectrum : Amnesty International and economic, social, and cultural rights
Rowe, Paul W.
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In 2001, Amnesty International, the world’s largest international human rights non-governmental organization, made the decision to change its narrow mandate into a much broader mission statement that called for the protection and promotion of both civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights. Although the organization had added to its original mandate core concerning the release of ‘prisoners of conscience’ before, the addition of economic, social, and cultural rights represented a major shift away from Amnesty International’s classic focus on civil and political rights. Amnesty International’s decision to promote all of the human rights listed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and become a ‘full spectrum’ human rights defender was a controversial one within the organization. The debate by the Amnesty membership over whether to accept an expanded form of mandate took place within the organization over a period of a decade before any changes were made. Concerns and fears over accepting economic, social and cultural rights into the mandate ranged from the practical to the theoretical. This thesis will look at the decision made by Amnesty International to begin actively promoting and defending economic, social and cultural rights. It will examine why a leading human rights organization decided to modify its focus considerably and what the challenges were in doing this. In exploring the issues of contention brought up during the debates by the organization’s membership, the larger questions surrounding international political acceptance of economic, social, and cultural rights will be examined.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteePhillipson, Martin; Michelmann, Hans J.; Macleod, Allan