Publication: “Democratic Emerging Powers and the International Human Rights System”

Rob Jenkins and Emma Mawdsley
FES International Policy Analysis, August 2013

Democratic Emerging Powers (DEPs) such as Brazil, India, and South Africa, aspire for a more prominent role in global politics. This publication analyzes the hitherto neglected role of DEPs in the international human rights system, based on their involvement in the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Security Council, and the international development machinery. DEP’s have to straddle domestic political pressures, ongoing support for developing countries’ conceptions of state sovereignty, and the protection of national interests from potentially intrusive monitoring regimes. The authors conclude that DEP governments have prioritized pragmatism over principle. Consequently, similar to the established Western democratic powers, DEPs have turned into inconsistent advocates for democracy and human rights on the international stage.


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