Looking to the Future: The Scope, Value and Operationalization of International Human Rights Law

Updated: Mar 18

By: Lorna McGregor


PDF: Looking to the Future


The international human rights system of which international human rights law (IHRL) is a part has been critiqued for being ineffective, too legal, insufficiently self-critical, and elitist, with some claiming that it self-generates some of the challenges it faces. This Article challenges this presentation of IHRL and in doing so, sets out three priorities for its future development. These are first, that it should continue to engage in critical analysis of how IHRL can effectively respond to the complex and multifactorial challenges it faces. Second, rather than refrain from developing due to critiques of overexpansion, IHRL should prioritize the articulation and adaptation of how IHRL applies to groups who struggle to enjoy their rights in practice and to new contexts and global challenges, such as artificial intelligence. Third, it should develop and deepen the methodology to the operationalization of IHRL further to ensure that it embeds within the agendas of key actors that can bring about change, including across state agencies as well as within businesses and social movements.