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Theses Master's

To Be Human in A Dehumanizing World: Black Lives Matter and the Human Rights Framework

Rohani, Maria

This thesis explores the relationship between Black Lives Matter and the human rights regime. First, the thesis contextualizes the contemporary movement within the long and complicated historical relationship between racial justice struggles and the international human rights system. Second, the paper looks at the available human rights tools that could advance the goals of Black Lives Matter, with a focus on relevant international treaties, the Inter-American System, and the Universal Periodic Review. Third, the project studies the ways in which Black Lives Matter has, on its own, already engaged with human rights discourse. Here, a sample of Twitter content will be examined as well as a selection of literature drafted by Black Lives Matter’s leaders. Lastly, the paper discusses the ways in which the human rights system, as it currently functions, may not support the vision and values of Black Lives Matter. This final section will rely on two key discussions: first, one that looks at the international system through the lens of critical race theory and second, one that complicates the role of the nation-state in the human rights regime. Ultimately, this thesis works to unpack the connection between Black Lives Matter and human rights and to interrogate the underlying complexities of this relationship.

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More Information

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Harris, Fredrick Cornelius
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
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