The current forms of populism present a number of challenges to democracy, human rights and constitutionalism. How should the human rights community respond to the challenges posed by populism? A number of populist demagogues in America, Asia, Europe and Africa have spoken and continue to speak against human rights in their campaigns for political office. That, notwithstanding, such populists often have the support of the electorate and are elected to public office. Is this, perhaps, a sign that the human rights project has failed to deliver on its promises? Ours was once described as a human rights age, the question now is whether the human rights project is losing its edge. Is there a legal obligation on states to exclude candidates like Donald Trump from running for public office in the first place? How should states and the human rights community at large respond to unconstitutional “popular coups”?

The discussion will be facilitated by Prof Leslie Green.

Following the event there will be a sandwich lunch. All welcome.

  • Dr Thompson Chengeta is a Fellow at the South African Research Chair in International Law, University of Johannesburg (UJ), Adjunct Senior Lecturer at MSU and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Institute of International and Comparative Law in Africa, UP. Thompson currently serves as an expert member of the International Panel on the Regulation of Autonomous Weapons – an independent and interdisciplinary panel of international experts working in the framework of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
  • Prof Leslie Green is Professor of the Philosophy of Law and a Fellow of Balliol College.