Sophocles said, ‘To him who is in fear, everything rustles’. How have the politics of fear affected global developments in recent years? Which rustles are real and which are imagined? And who benefits from stoking our anxieties?
In a new Human Rights Watch report, executive director Kenneth Roth identifies fear as a factor in many human rights challenges of our time. Fear of war and torture have driven unprecedented numbers of asylum-seekers from their homes. At the same time, fear has influenced many governments in rich countries to close their borders to those seeking refuge.
Meanwhile, authoritarian governments have become increasingly anxious about the strengthening of civil society with the rise of social media. Civil society, Roth argues, is under more aggressive attack than at any time in recent memory. Fear is behind crackdowns across the world on freedom of speech and expression.
In April, the Wheeler Centre hosted a great event with HRW’s Ken Roth in conversation with the Human Rights Law Centre’s Director of Advocacy and Research, Emily Howie, which explored these issue and more. An audio recording will be posted here in coming days.