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Victims' Stories and the Advancement of Human Rights$
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Diana Tietjens Meyers

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199930388

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199930388.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Victims' Stories and the Advancement of Human Rights

Diana Tietjens Meyers

Oxford University Press

Despite the official founding of the human rights regime in 1948—the year the the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—people continue to be victimized for no good reason. Although many victims of human rights abuse are silenced, some elect to publicly tell their stories, and the argument of this book is that there is much to learn from them. Although their stories are highly various, a number of themes recur in them: humanly inflicted, life-threatening, normatively unintelligible harm; bodily, emotional, and cognitive symptoms caused by abuse; the survival of humanity despite abuse; and the affirmation of personhood, agency, and sociability. These themes are introduced through an analysis of Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary—his recounting of undergoing torture. The chapters to come are then previewed.

Keywords:   Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human rights abuse, victims’ stories, harm, humanity, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guantánamo Diary, torture

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