School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development
The study of human rights is dominated by secular voices; however, increasingly the study of international relations recognizes the tension and interplay between the religious and the secular, and the impetus for human rights work has often come from a religious or moral foundation. Although understudied, religious NGOs and religious beliefs and universal ethics have long shaped discourses on human rights in the United Nations. This paper explores the ways in which religious and secular human rights organizations frame, discuss, legitimize and operationalize human rights issues and priorities. Through document analysis and interviews with members of international human rights organizations, the authors trace the similarities and differences between the organizations, their missions and focus, their conceptions of human rights, and their rationale for engaging in the field for the purpose of better assessing the opportunities and challenges for cooperation between these groups.
Journal of Human Rights