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“You can’t eat democracy"

08 February 2024

(Eleanor Kennedy is a senior policy expert for the Open Society Foundation.  © Credit –Eleanor Kennedy

“I think it’s a false premise that human rights are dead. To some extent, I think its being promulgated by naysayers and people who have given up on the framework,” said Eleanor Kennedy, senior policy expert from the Open Society Foundation (OSF).

Last year, OSF put out “Can Democracy Deliver?” a first of its kind look at attitudes and opinions toward all aspects of democracy and human rights. Kennedy said the report brought up many surprising and challenging attitudes regarding human rights and its mechanisms, including if current human rights frameworks actually were delivering on their promises.

But one idea that came through loud and clear in the report, Kennedy stressed, was that the rumours of the demise of human rights has been greatly exaggerated.

“It is actually an unhelpful narrative to put out that (human rights) are dead,” she said. “Actually, plenty of populations around the world are utilizing the themes, structure and tools that exist under human rights to access their rights, to find recourse to justice. And that’s what we should be taking account of.”

“Voices of Dignity: Pathways to justice with Eleanor Kennedy”