goal of the current proposal is to study how human rights discourse has altered
from the centrality of human rights to a discourse of imperialism.  One of
the chief practical obstacles in the new human rights discourse can be shown by
one scholar Bilawal Atwal who states; ‘one of the key criticisms of human
rights imperialism is how influential and key states are enforcing
foreign-policy with nationalistic agendas under the banner of human rights’ for
the author human rights is seen as a vocabulary for modern foreign policy
interactions between international agents1. 
I will argue that many states have pursued the language of human rights to
legitimize their acts of imperialism  

Much research has been done on paradoxes of human rights before that has
embraced new contradiction that provoked the origins and developments of
human rights. Moreover, as Austin Sarat proposed that if paradox
constitutes human rights that are not entirely good or bad2.
This research would discuss that there has emerged a different discourse other
than a paradox, in which this discourse can be named the language of human
rights and how this language has been used through the 20th century
to mobilize forms of imperialism. The language of human
rights has been used and manipulated to meet certain countries’ political
          The idea of implementing human rights
to legitimize imperialism has had a wide attraction throughout the 20th
century on how the exercise and practice of this right has been dominated and
used to legitimize wrongful acts. The sole purpose of this research is to
define how the human rights discourse can be applied and legitimized for
colonial objectives. As such, Perugini and Gordon highlight in their book The
Human Right to Dominate shows the problems that arise from the human
rights system and reveal how human rights are used to legitimize systems of
dominations3. This
research will also highlight that many scholars have seen human rights
discourse as something moral with moral achievements. Hence, human rights are
not necessarily principles of equality, freedom, and justice, but a concept
used to promote wars and exclude and include who is considered a human with


International human rights are even limited
when it comes to the principle of countries’ borders and the principle of
citizenship. Even legal aliens residing in a country are restricted in certain
rights, like the right to vote for government entities and they can be expelled
from said country.   This argument can be seen in the case of Israeli
settlers in the occupied Palestine territories that have used the language of
human rights to legitimize their colonial project, throughout this research I
will elaborate on this case study.      


2.1 Human Rights Language

imperative to persuade the language of human rights to understand how this
discourse has been erected into a political framework.  This notion has induced a pragmatic question,
which is why we should talk about the language and not specifically about the
rights.  According to Lora Wildenthal,
she suggested that when human rights are demonstrated it will compromise a
political language4.The
author acknowledges that human rights implementation is not attempting to promote human
rights but to legitimize human rights violations. Furthermore, Wildenthal
clarifies why she used the phrase language of human rights it’s because the
sources of the content of human rights can be seen as a project of reform that
many political actors can adjudicate to make their own legal decision.
Moreover, that author sees human rights as sweepingly universal rhetoric
because human rights criterion can be maneuvered in ‘calling something and
human right, or to name something a human rights violation, is to intervene in
politics as usual in order to place that example of violence or inequality in
new context’5.
In other means, the material of human rights language can be contextualized to
attempt to present human rights as political agenda.
          The politicization of human
rights has become a tool of reform as Nicola Perugini  highlights in his book The Human Right to
Dominant  he shows that human rights
discourse has become a ‘desired resource for those seeking political influence
and power, providing its diverse advocates’6. As
such, the human rights value has transformed to serve other ends and example
can be seen through the George W. Bush administration that applied the language
of human rights in their foreign policy for means of declaring wars.  Furthermore, the author describes a new
millennium in which conservatives around the globe are deploying human rights
in the service of domination, also they been altering their ways in strategy by
implementing the language of human rights. A pragmatic example can be seen when
Amnesty International and other humanitarian organizations helped wedge the war
in Afghanistan claiming the Afghani women rights need protection and we should
promote these rights through war, however, after the war ended Amnesty held a
campaign against the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan claiming the
Afghani women is still not free7.  

2.2 Expulsion of Human Rights

          The life of the modern notion of the
right to citizenship lies in the hands of the states that decide what their
destiny is; through this aspect the state has special criteria for citizens to
belong to a nation, and ones who do not belong to this community would not
belong to the nation’s political community. The one who is considered an
‘outsider’ would be deprived from many rights and privileges such as political
rights, welfare, and legal status in which is not recognized as a member of a
particular sovereign state8. In
the territorial level the outsider if he/she wants to enter a state, it’s
through many procedures and regulations. In Smith Roger’s, “Citizenship as
Social Closure”, he presents the differences between the ‘insider’ and the
‘outsider’, Roger states the political bond between members and non-members of
the nation-state is that insiders can easily leave the state they inhabit in
and could return any time, but for non-members there is a territorial closure
which might limit their entry to the nation, ‘closure based on citizenship
regulated by formally articulated norms and enforced by specialized agents
employing formal identification law and corresponding administrative
regulation’ (pg.30). The boundaries of a state are strict borders if an
outsider wants to enter the region they must pass the borders which are
consisted through administrative laws and regulations such as immigration law.
These laws are enforced through border patrols that are specialized for
outsiders to enter or to deny entry to that country. If the border police have
provided entry it would be through a visa which gives a certain time period to
stay in that country .

1Bilal Atwal, ‘Are Human Rights Dominated By Imperialism’, December 12th,2013,catch21UK

2Austin Sarat, ‘Special Issue: Human Right: New Possibilities/New
Problems’, 2011, Emerald.

Perugini & Neve Gordon, ‘The Human Right to Dominate’,NENA, August 08,2015.

4Lora Wildenthal, ‘ The Language of Human Rights in West Germany’,
Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights. Edited by Bert B. Lockwood Jr.
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013. Pp. 277


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