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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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The Ethics and Politics of Putting Victims’ Stories to Work

The Ethics and Politics of Putting Victims’ Stories to Work

(p.180) Chapter 5 The Ethics and Politics of Putting Victims’ Stories to Work
Victims' Stories and the Advancement of Human Rights

Diana Tietjens Meyers

Oxford University Press

Individual consumers, professional users, and civil society actors face ethical issues in balancing respect for victims who tell their stories with using victims’ stories to promote human rights. Because individual consumers are prone to victim derogation and blaming, human rights organizations must take measures to blunt these responses, and individual consumers must also take responsibility for counteracting them. The diversity of professional users of victims’ stories and their projects entails some variation in their ethical challenges. Yet, all of them, including NGOs, human rights courts, and human rights tribunals, must ensure respect for victims by obtaining informed consent to use their stories, and they must protect victims from retraumatization. In addition to professionally staffed nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), civil society includes grassroots associations and social movements. The ethical responsibilities of civil society groups to victims overlap with those of professionals, but they also include cooperating with one another to promote human rights more effectively.

Keywords:   respect, victim derogation, victim blaming, informed consent, retraumatization, human rights courts, human rights tribunals, NGOs, grassroots associations, social movements

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