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The Rights Track Sound evidence on human rights

Pursuing justice: what role for research evidence?

In Episode 4 of Series 2, Dixon Osburn from the Center for Justice and Accountability in San Fancisco talks about how human rights organisations pursue justice, and the sort of academic evidence used in efforts to prosecute the perpetrators of human rights abuses and crimes.


  • Explanation of the center’s mission and how the rule of law can be brought to bear in and on behalf of countries least able to hold perpetrators of the worst human rights abuses and crimes to account
  • Dixon gives an example of a successful civil action brought in the US against former Pinochet officer, Pedro Pablo Barrientos who was accused of the torture and murder of a famous folk singer and had been living for 30 years in Florida
  • Dixon explains how the legalities of the case worked and its wider significance and a discussion follows about the sort of justice and accountability the centre is trying to achieve on behalf of the victim’s family and the knock on impacts of the successful civil action in respect of a possible extradition to Chile.




  • Todd references Stephen Hopgood’s book, The End Times of Human Rights criticising the Human Rights movement
  • Dixon talks about what he believes has been achieved and about the ability of the Human Rights movement to make positive incremental change over time

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