Non-Governmental Organizations

AuthorMark Freeman, Gibran Van Ert
In recent years, a wide range of non-state actors, known collectively as
“civil society,” has made its presence felt on the international stage,
particularly in the field of international human rights. The people and
organizations that make up civil society include all forms of media,
trade unions and similar labour associations, churches and other faith-
based institutions, think tanks, professional associations, students,
artists, and more. Arguably, however, the leading civil society actors in
the human rights field are the world’s non-governmental organizations
(NGOs). It is difficult to imagine an effective global human rights sys-
tem in their absence. They are, simply put, critical to the effective glob-
al promotion and protection of human rights. In this chapter we review
the historic and contemporary roles of human rights NGOs, both inter-
nationally and in Canada.
Human rights NGOs have been active in the world for almost two cen-
turies, even if they did not always conceive of themselves as such. The
Anti-Slavery Society for Human Rights was formed in 1838 with the aim
of abolishing the slave trade and, ultimately, slavery itself.1The Interna-
chapter 19
1 Today the organization continues under the name Anti-Slavery International.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT