The Human Rights Industry


Product Details

$31.95  $29.71
Clarity Press
Publish Date
5.9 X 8.9 X 0.9 inches | 1.05 pounds

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About the Author

Alfred-Maurice de Zayas is a former UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order (2012-18), former senior lawyer with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Secretary of the UN Human Rights Committee and Chief of the Petitions Department (registrar). Zayas grew up in Chicago, holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D., modern history from University of Gottingen, Fulbright Graduate Fellow in Germany. Retired member of the New York and Florida Bar, author of 9 books and more than 200 scholarly articles. He lives in Geneva.


"Alfred de Zayas offers us an invaluable insider's account of how the global system created after World War II to protect human rights is brazenly manipulated by the United States Government and others for geopolitical ends. De Zayas is a human rights leader of remarkable insight, experience, wisdom, and integrity, whose account is both searing and hugely constructive. He makes vividly clear why we must, and how we can, truly champion peace and human rights."
JEFFREY D. SACHS, University Professor at Columbia University
"Alfred de Zayas is an experienced human rights scholar, knowledgeable and straight-forward. Worth reading in depth."
PROFESSOR MARC BOSSUYT, former President of the Belgian Constitutional Court and member of the UN Sub-Commission on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
"Alfred de Zayas provides a candid view of the 'human rights industry' from the perspective of someone who has been inside the system for almost five decades. Like the whistleblowers he cites in the book's dedication, Alfred is willing to provide a glimpse into the good and bad of the UN's growing human rights industry."
CURTIS DOEBBLER, Research Professor of Law at the University of Makeni (Sierra Leone), representative of the NGO to UN Headquarters
"This book is a long-overdue critique of the human rights system by someone who truly values human rights and who has a unique and valuable perspective as a human rights practitioner for 50 years. As Zayas so eloquently explains, the human rights system has sadly become a business, motivated by the drive for the approval of its rich and self-interested (Western) patrons. The result is a system infected by unfairness and double standards--the very opposite of what we would want from a system which purports to protect the most basic rights of humanity. However, this is not a fatalistic or cynical critique like some. Rather, it is a hopeful work which offers constructive criticism and concrete suggestions for making the system one that works for everyone and upholds the very values it was created to promote. I highly recommend this book for experts, practitioners, and lay readers alike."
DANIEL KOVALIK, professor of International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and author, No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using "Humanitarian" Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests
"There is a human right to truth. Zayas shows us that History and Law can be instrumentalized and turned into fake history and fake law. This book by a veteran human rights scholar documents the hijacking of the human rights system by governments, corporations and lobbies. Zayas is not only a distinguished professor of law, he is also a historian whose books have helped correct the politicized historical record.This new book raises important ethical questions that deserve answers. A "must read".
DR. FRANZ SEIDLER, Professor emeritus, Universität der Bundeswehr, Munich
"Professor de Zayas raises important issues about the politicization of the UN Human Rights Office and the Human Rights Council. He formulates pragmatic proposals for the reform of UN human rights institutions in the spirit of the UN Charter. The book is supported by hundreds of credible sources and calls for serious debate."
PROFESSOR TIAN LI, Director of the Center for Human Rights and Peaceful Development & Associate Professor of School of Law, Shandong University, China
"This book reveals the inner-workings of the United Nations by that rare public servant willing to shine a light on corruption and failure as well as courage and success. It also gives us an honest and expert survey of nonprofit organizations and media outlets that report on human rights.Most importantly, it provides a detailed plan to reform a system currently perverted by the power of certain governments rather than shaped by the interests of those most in need."
DAVID SWANSON, Executive Director, World Beyond War
"This book is an eloquent indictment of international crimes and the corruption of vital international institutions. It is a plea for the reversal of these negative and dangerous trends for the good of humanity. It exposes the disease and what can be done to start the remedy and cure. Coming from an experienced UN insider, this is an essential book for all who care about human rights and peace."
RICK STERLING, journalist and board chair of the Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center
"Alfred de Zayas has done it again, calling on human conscience unequivocally and non-apologetically to rectify the dysfunctions of the UN system for the protection and promotion of Human Rights. Zayas wants it reoriented toward a just, equitable and sustainable development for all, not just the privileged. The promise of food security and planetary health will remain a mirage unless reforms are undertaken and the United Nations recommits to implementing the UDHR. The common heritage of mankind is threatened by the falsehoods that surround political discourse and lip-service to human rights. Sober reflections in all humility can restore our human dignity as we follow the plan of action proposed by Zayas. Only we can be the guardians of our Rights."
DR. MAWULI SABLAH, West Africa Regional Advisor for Health and Nutrition, Catholic Relief Services, Burkina Faso
"A timely and necessary book. Alfred de Zayas is one of the world's deepest and most authoritative thinkers."
DR. ALAN MACLEOD, University of Glasgow Media Group, editor, Mintpress
"At a time when corruption and newspeak seem to become the new normal, de Zayas remains an untiring voice of reason and decency."
MAX KERN, retired senior officer, International Labour Office, Geneva, chief of the freedom of workers section, in charge of verification of compliance with ILO conventions
"Zayas is a noted peace and human rights activist. His new book on the human rights industry reveals double-standards of the Human Rights Council, Inter-American Court and European Court of Human Rights. As a high UN official for decades, Zayas knows what he is talking about."
JOSÉ LUIS MAZÓN COSTA, Madrid-based human rights lawyer before the UN Human Rights Committee, ECHR, Spanish Supreme Court and Spanish Constitutional Court
"In this book an insider of the human rights system resolutely addresses some of the most uncomfortable truths of the 'industry'. He uncovers dysfunctions that have hindered the fulfillment of human rights obligations in many countries. With evidence that speaks for itself, he puts on the table an unspoken reality, showing that many actors are using Human Rights for geopolitical purposes and for totalitarian imposition of their values. Zayas manages to shed a light of hope and formulates sharp proposals aimed at restoring the institutions to their true purpose. Every person involved with Human Rights should read this and practice introspection."
LUIS ROBERTO ZAMORA BOLAÑOS, former Costa Rican Ambassador to Seoul, member of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers
"Another outstanding book by this remarkable and prolific author"
DR. PETER MACALISTER-SMITH, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, 1982 -2016, Heidelberg
"The world needs a better narrative. Alfred de Zayas offers an all encompassing perspective for a world order, justly built upon human dignity and genuine compliance with the law of the precious International Bill of Human Rights. The book is an invitation to soul-searching."
MARJOLIJN C. SNIPPE, international lawyer, board member World Federalist Movement in the Netherlands