Protecting Human Rights: Duties and Responsibilities of States and Non-State Actors

The Glasgow Human Rights Network aims to bring together researchers, practitioners, members of civil society organisations and policymakers who address human rights issues. The University of Glasgow has a wide range of expertise on a variety of human rights issues, and conducts both research and teaching in this area, as do other universities in Scotland. The City of Glasgow, and Scotland more widely, also has many nongovernmental organisations involved in human rights issues. And Scotland constitutes a unique setting within the United Kingdom for addressing human rights issues within the context of devolution.

The Steering Committee of the American Political Science Association (APSA) Human Rights Section, the Council of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) Human Rights Research Committee, and the Executive Council of the International Studies Association (ISA) Human Rights Section at the University of Glasgow, are hosting a joint international conference from 18-19 June 2012 in Edinburgh.

Hosted by the Glasgow Human Rights Network under the theme ‘Protecting Human Rights: Duties and Responsibilities of States and Non-State Actors’, the conference is timed to coincide with the joint International Studies Association-British International Studies Association conference, taking place from 20-22 June 2012 in Edinburgh.

The 2005 World Summit recognised the responsibility to protect.  While this may have, in sense, been a normative revolution, in another sense it was just one more in a long list of human rights responsibilities states have taken on over the last 65 years as the modern human rights regime has developed.  Less attention has been focused on the growing number of responsibilities accruing to non-state actors.  Further, while the discussion regarding responsibility to protect, to a large extent, has focused on military intervention, other responsibilities related to post-conflict situations, in particular, have been identified – such as those related to transitional justice and other post-conflict processes.  Yet, all of these international declarations and norm-making activities raise as many questions as they answer about the willingness of relevant actors to live up to their responsibilities, as well as potential conflicts between responsibilities.  This conference will examine the wide range of human rights duties and responsibilities accruing to state and non-state actors.  It will be significantly multidisciplinary in character, being open to legal, philosophical, political, sociological and other perspectives.

The conference will examine the following questions and topics, among others:

  • What is the nature of human rights responsibilities?
  • Have these responsibilities translated into appropriate action?
  • How do we define such appropriate action, and who holds these responsibilities?
  • How does the international community address conflicting responsibilities?
  • What types of human rights responsibilities do non-state actors have?
  • What is the relationship between rights, duties and responsibilities?
  • Dealing with past wrongs and failed responsibilities.

Enquiries: Kurt Mills, Conference Chair, E-mail:

For registration, refer to

For more about the conference, refer to

Event Start Date: 
Monday, 18 June, 2012
Event End Date: 
Tuesday, 19 June, 2012
Event Venue: 
Event Type: 

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