When discussing new means in the context of human rights, one must also talk about the arts. Art has become the most important part of the human rights scene and has enriched the scene in many ways. Human rights issues can be expressed through art in a variety of forms and thus can have a very different impact: from documentation and clarification to exposure and accusation, as a search for clues and as evidence, to communicate different perspectives, as an empowerment practice or a (re)construction of memory and identity, to creating disruption or feelings. How closely artistic and human rights intervention are intertwined can be seen in the theatrical tribunals of recent years. From the Russell Tribunal on Palestine to the Bartleby House Capitalism Tribunal to Milo Rau’s Congo Tribunal, to name but a few, they are only substitutes for real trials, but they are dedicated to overarching discussions on justice, enable civil society actors to participate in the global creation of justice, serve to establish truth and inform the public.
Wolfgang Kaleck is a lawyer and author who founded the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin in 2007 and is now its Secretary General. He has published several books, including Die konkrete Utopie der Menschenrechte – Ein Blick zurück in die Zukunft” (The Concrete Utopia of Human Rights – A Look Back into the Future, 2021) and Law versus Power (2018), which has been translated into four languages. In 2020/22, Kaleck was a visiting lecturer at the Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice at CUNY School of Law in New York. In recognition of his human rights work, he has received several awards, including the Bassiouni Justice Award and the Max Friedlaender Prize of the Bavarian Bar Association.