Imagining People’s Tribunals as the Promoter of Human Rights

In: Human Rights and Power in Times of Globalisation

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People’s Tribunals have become an increasingly used tool in response to the power imbalances between citizens and governments. This power imbalance has been created as a result of dominant government narratives, which silence minority or alternative viewpoints on the same or similar issues. People’s Tribunals are movements created by citizens, which integrate both local and international participants to take human rights from the abstract level of treaty provisions to a reality of victim’s needs. Unlike the tribunals within a formalised justice system, which are through various means to various degrees controlled by the state, People’s Tribunals allow citizens to freely organise themselves and discuss issues without being silenced or imposed a specific narrative. In a globalised world, the narratives of victims and survivors of crimes has become a cornerstone in allowing other movements to raise the prospect of justice. People’s Tribunals movements bring together various factions of society so that people are united in an alternative narrative to the one held by the state. This chapter explores the concept of People’s Tribunals in a globalised world and specifically looks at the Iran Tribunal and the United Kingdom Child Sex Abuse People’s Tribunals as two different versions of a People’s Tribunal which were recently completed.