Human Rights, Violence, and the Jasmine Revolutions

Sarah Leah Whitson

The protests continuing in the Middle East and North Africa challenge us to consider three fundamental questions about the relationship between human rights violations and violence.

•      How can human rights violations lead to conflict and violence?

•      How can conflicts and violence lead to human rights violations?

•      How can human rights violations change the dynamics of conflicts and consequently the process of conflict resolution?

On a visit to Brown last spring Sarah Leah Whitson, director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, sat down for an interview to discuss a range of issues related to curriculum resources on human rights for high school classrooms. Her full interview is worth watching, but this video is of special interest today. She raises the issue of the Palestinian territories—I am curious what others see as the likelihood of large scale protests erupting there.