In February 2018 the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) in London held a conference titled: The New Colonialism: The American Model of Human Rights. The nine contributions from scholar-activists looking at how human rights as theory and practice are now published in a book.
As a human rights research, campaign and advocacy organisation NGO working for over 20 years from its base in the UK, IHRC has had to negotiate the dilemma of dealing with not only institutionalised racism in local, national, regional and international organisations and regimes, but a Eurocentric discourse of rights and justice referencing largely the Enlightenment but compounded with the idea that this lingua franca of rights, though deemed universally applicable, is both the sole provenance of the ‘West’ and at the same time is immutable and unquestionable. The papers presented problematize perceptions of the US as anything other than a violent and rapacious colonial power. Arguably this is the grassroots perception of the US around the world, and even within its own borders there are significant numbers who eschew the self-perception of the country as a leader in freedom and democracy. They speak of the civil rights and indigenous rights movements whose very existence exposes these claims as fictitious.