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Writing yesterday in The Observer, Professor Alexander Betts calls for new “strategic, entrepreneurial and creative thinking” to defend human rights. In a year that marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he writes that “the UN system appears increasingly toothless”, as it struggles to bring about change or speak out for human rights, with manifest consequences “from slaughter and starvation in Yemen to forced repatriation of the Rohingya”.

“It is time to fight for human rights”, he argues, “but equally time to reimagine how they are achieved in a changing world. And this requires leadership from within and beyond the UN system. … Promoting human rights in a multipolar world of rising nationalism will not be easy. But the core principles developed over the past 70 years are needed now at least as much as at any time in that period.”

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