FP’s April 2018 Print Edition: The End of Human Rights


News Story from: 4/4/18

April 4, 2018 – Washington, D.C. 

 In Foreign Policy‘s April issue, our writers and editors ask: Is this the end of human rights?

Populism is on the rise. Authoritarian regimes from Myanmar to Russia have threatened basic freedoms. And the United States seems less committed to protecting and upholding international law than at any time in recent memory. Have we entered a post-human rights era?

“Despite the indifference or opposition of many current leaders, the fight for these freedoms isn’t as dead as one may assume,” writes editor in chief Jonathan Tepperman. “Like the dove on our cover (and the famous images of St. Sebastian and Muhammad Ali to which Sisal Creative’s wonderful photo recreation refers) human rights are definitely down. But like Ali in 1968, the rumors of their downfall have been exaggerated.”

Even if, as David Rieff argues in this issue, the rise of populism has “shattered the human rights movement’s narrative that progress is inevitable,” it is precisely at such moments that reflections on our moral responsibility become ever more important.

For further information, please contact Caitlin Thompson at Caitlin.Thompson@foreignpolicy.com, 202-457-7939.


Included in this issue


The freedom America forgot. Even when it pushed to promote human rights internationally over the last several decades, the United States failed to fight for material equality for the world’s poorest, argues Yale University professor Samuel Moyn, the author of Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World.

Human rights in the age of Trump. The central lesson of the past year is that human rights can succeed because broad swaths of humanity can be convinced to reject the superficial answers offered by populists, writes Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch.

Zones of noninfluence, mapped. FP staff writer Robbie Gramer takes readers on a world tour charting the locales of unfilled U.S. ambassadorships under the Trump administration.

Myanmar’s next victims. In 2017, the world watched in horror as Myanmar’s military targeted the Rohingya Muslim minority, but other ethnic groups in the country could soon suffer a similar fate, writes Azeem Ibrahim, author of The Rohginyas: Inside Myanmar’s Hidden Genocide.

The sometime activist. Trump’s U.N. ambassador came into office promising to uphold human rights. But Nikki Haley’s commitment to those ideals has been unevenly applied, FP staff writer Colum Lynch writes.

The Fix: How to defeat drought. Cape Town is facing the day when the taps run dry. It didn’t have to be this way. Israel’s long commitment to water conservation offers lessons to countries facing water crises, writes Seth M. Siegel, the author of Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World.

The end of human rights? The International Criminal Court and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) have failed to live up to their promises and the narrative of inevitable human rights progress has been shattered by the rise of Trump, China, and populism. It is possible, though not likely, that the human rights movement will be more effective with its collective back against the wall: an underground, dissident church as it was during its beginnings, writes David Rieff, the author of In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and Its Ironies.


The right to kill. Should Brazil keep remote Amazon tribes from killing their own children? Cleuci de Oliveira, whose previous work for FP has focused on race and affirmative action in Brazil, explores how human rights and cultural relativism come into conflict when applied to infanticide and the selective killing of children among a handful of indigenous Amazonian tribes.

Putin’s war on women. FP’s Amie Ferris-Rotman reports from Vladivostok on why #MeToo skipped Russia.

The family feud. It’s clear that Europe’s effort to keep refugees from reunifying with their families is hurting refugees — less understood is how much it also hurts their host countries, writes Vauhini Vara, a 2017 Arthur F. Burns fellow in Berlin.

Photos: African asylum seekers in Israel. Thousands of asylum-seekers primarily from Eritrea and Sudan are facing deportation from Israel. Photographer Kobi Wolf turns his lens on Israel’s immigration and identity crisis.

The long road to Brexit. Britain’s vote to leave the European Union was many years in the making, writes Garvan Walshe, who reviews four new books on the fissure.

Thus spoke Jordan Peterson. The wildly popular psychologist’s self-help program is leading young men to authoritarianism, write philosophers David Livingstone Smithand John Kaag.

Germany’s selective memory. Germans love historical TV dramas — so long as they sanitize the country’s past, journalist Alan Posener writes, looking at the popularity of shows such as Babylon Berlin and Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter.

The Arab world’s star student. The BBC’s Kim Ghattas reviews Safwan Masri’s new book, Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly, and addresses the lessons Tunisia offers the Arab world for education.

Books in brief. FP staffers review new books by C. Donald Johnson, Alyssa Ayres, and David Patrikarakos.

Artifact: FP deputy editor for print Sarah Wildman debuts a new back-of-the-book section looking at historical documents with contemporary relevance. In this edition: the eerie prescience of a 1934 edition of Opinion: A Journal of Jewish Life and Letters, written one year after Adolf Hitler came to power.


For further information, please contact Caitlin Thompson at Caitlin.Thompson@foreignpolicy.com, 202-457-7939.