The Oxford Human Rights Hub is pleased today to launch a new e-publication Global Perspectives on Human Rights: The Oxford Human Rights Hub Blog, 2012-2013 (OxHRH, 2014). This anthology, edited by Laura Hilly and Claire Overman, presents the very best posts from the first 18 months of the Oxford Human Rights Hub Blog.
When we launched the Oxford Human Rights Hub blog in June 2012, at the initiative of our tireless Director, Professor Sandra Fredman FBA QC, we had an instinct that there was an urgent need for a dynamic space where human rights researchers, practitioners and policy makers could share cutting edge analyses of developments in human rights law across the world. We could not have guessed how quickly and energetically the Blog would gather momentum and develop an organic life of its own.
By December 2013 the OxHRH Blog had featured pieces written by more than 150 experts from 25 different countries, ranging from the UK, the US, Canada and Australia, to South Africa, India, Greece, Pakistan, Chile, Israel and many others. More than 50% of the Blog’s contributors over this period were based outside of the United Kingdom. And our readership has similarly blossomed: the OxHRH Blog currently attracts over 10,000 unique visitors each month – a figure that continues to grow. Our recent survey attracted a warm and encouraging response. We are indeed growing into a global community.
The OxHR Blog has proved to be a very democratic space. Our contributors include senior counsel and judges, professors and senior policy makers and UN Special Rapporteurs. And we also provide a platform for people who are early in their careers, such as graduate students, pupil barristers and young lecturers. But all our blogs are characterised by their consistently high quality. This is in no small measure due to our extraordinary skilful team of editors, who carefully select, review and edit each contribution to ensure the highest scholarly standards of analysis of human rights law. The strict word limit requires authors to engage in a high level of discipline to refine their arguments. It also makes the blogs accessible to its target audience. Our blogs are regularly used as a teaching and research resource and the UK government has even cited an OxHRH Blog post in its Execution of Judgment Plan before the ECtHR in Vinter v UK.
Particularly pleasing has been the spontaneous way in which comparative perspectives on similar questions have emerged. Take LGBTQ rights. We have expert blogs on up-to date developments on LGBTQ rights from the US, India, Israel, the UK, Cameroon, New Zealand, Australia, the European Convention on Human Rights and Chile. A similar pattern has emerged in relation to migration and asylum seeking; access to justice; gender based violence and many others. Our ability to provide rapid expert assessments on developments on the same issue in different jurisdictions provides a unique opportunity for researchers and students to detect trends, develop explanations for different approaches from historical, social, legal or political perspectives, and formulate models for future development. It is for these reasons that we decided that our blogs should be more than ephemeral daily postings.
We decided to collect them thematically into an e-book, which could become a resource for researchers, practitioners or policy-makers who needed to see the holistic picture which emerges from the fragments. This is the first of what we hope to be an annual exercise.
Global Perspective on Human Rights intends to showcase this rich and collaborative project. It is primarily an e-resource, allowing the ideas and thinking contained within to be freely accessible to the widest possible audience. We have sought to identify 12 themes that categorise the contributions that the OxHRH Blog has received in its first 18 months of operation. Each chapter can be individually downloaded:
We would like to thank the efforts of our entire editorial team. Since inception, we have had 20 people from 11 different countries work on the production of the OxHRH Blog. It is their hard work, creativity and enthusiasm, and that of our 150-plus contributors, that makes the OxHRH Blog the success that it has become. We would also like to thank Gullan & Gullan for their pro bono work designing this anthology. If you are interested in obtaining a hard copy of Global Perspectives on Human Rights (at a small price to cover printing and postage), please write to our editorial team at firstname.lastname@example.org We hope that you find this a rich, interesting and useful resource.
Laura Hilly Managing Editor, Oxford Human Rights Hub Blog