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Call for Papers – Sur: International Journal on Human Rights

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Deadline: June 15, 2013

Conectas Human Rights, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, CIVICUS: Worldwide Alliance for Citizen Participation and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development invite scholars and practitioners to submit articles for Sur Journal’s Issue No. 19, to be published in December 2013, with a focus on Foreign Policy and Human Rights.

Sur – International Journal on Human Rights is published twice a year by Conectas, in partnership with and with the support of Fundação Carlos Chagas. It is edited in three languages (English, Portuguese and Spanish), distributed free of charge to approximately 2,400 readers in more than a hundred countries, and can be fully accessed online at

The journal aims to strengthen the work of human rights activists through the promotion of a high-quality debate on human rights issues, primarily with a Global South perspective. Contributions from other parts of the world, however, are also welcome, especially if they are relevant for the theory and practice of human rights in the Global South.

SUR is indexed in the following databases: IBSS (International Bibliography of the Social Sciences); DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals); and SSRN (Social Science Research Network). The journal is also available in the following commercial databases: EBSCO, HEINonline, ProQuest and Scopus, and for free at Google Scholar, ISSUU and ISN Zurich (International Relations and Security Network).


In its 19th issue, SUR intends to promote a debate on the relationship between foreign policy and human rights, with particular emphasis on emerging and rising powers from the Global South.

Traditionally, countries from the Global South have been seen as objects of other countries’ human rights foreign policies and as targets for international human rights recommendations. In contrast, these countries’ international efforts to advance, promote and protect human rights abroad have gained far less attention. Recent global changes, however, seem to mean that Southern countries, especially so-called emerging or rising powers, such as, but not limited to, Brazil, South Africa, India and China, are playing, or have the potential for playing, increasingly prominent roles in international affairs. This calls for a systematic review of foreign policies practiced by these countries and their impact on human rights. This should include a re-examination of the extent of these countries’ commitment for and engagement with regional and international mechanisms for human rights protection.

A question that deserves more scrutiny, for example, is whether, in comparison with their Northern counterparts, countries of the Global South, given their histories of being viewed and sometimes viewing themselves as objects and targets, are more prone to evoking the principles of sovereignty and non-interference when faced with criticism or suggestions on their foreign policies. Similarly, do development-led foreign policy strategies of Global South countries – and particularly those adopted by emerging powers – hamper a protection-oriented approach to human rights?

Beyond principles, understanding actual mechanisms behind foreign policy-making is crucial when measuring impact on human rights. This is also important when exploring points of synergy that would allow civil society and other stakeholders to engage with foreign policy-makers. This would involve mapping and analyzing important actors, institutions and methods behind foreign policy-making and the different vistas available within these structures and processes for consultation with stakeholders and interest groups. Such an exercise would also further shed light on areas of foreign policy-making that may need reform, strengthening or transparency and accountability.

SUR therefore welcomes articles that explore the relationship between foreign policy and human rights in different contexts and regions, including analyses on how legislative and institutional frameworks shape foreign policy and human rights decision-making processes, especially within Global South countries and particularly with respect to emerging and rising powers. Some questions we would like to see explored are: Could the promotion and protection of human rights abroad be considered an issue of national interest? What is the impact of Global South countries’ foreign policy on human rights globally? How are human rights incorporated into foreign policies of emerging and rising powers? How can civil society groups monitor and impact their country’s positions on human rights and voting patterns at international fora? What is the impact of non-state diplomacy on human rights worldwide?

We particularly welcome articles reflecting on:

  • Human rights related foreign policies of Global South countries – particularly emerging and rising powers including:
    • Voting patterns and positions taken at the United Nations and other relevant bodies, such as OIC and the Commonwealth;
    • Policies related to regional and international human rights protection mechanisms, including reactions to decisions and recommendations made by these mechanisms;
    • Multilateral and bilateral engagements undertaken by emerging powers, including international development cooperation and trade agreements, and their impact on human rights.
  • Foreign policy as public policy:
    • Dynamics of foreign policy-making and their impact on human rights;
    • Transparency and accountability for human rights-related decisions;
    • Mechanisms of social and institutional control, spaces and fora for policy debate and interest groups operating on foreign policy and human rights;
    • Usage of Access to Information Laws in foreign policy matters;
    • Training and capacity-building courses on human rights for diplomats.
  • Diplomacy from below: non-state actors’ international activities and their impact on human rights:
    • Global civil society, think-tanks and their international human rights agenda;
    • Multinational companies and the protection of human rights abroad;
    • The role of individuals in promoting human rights internationally (i.e. highly influential persons, Presidents, global leaders);
    • Social media and its impact on human rights.

The list above is not exhaustive. Articles on issues related to the journal’s central theme, but not mentioned above, are also welcome.

From this issue onwards, we will also accept shorter articles for our new section “Notes from the Field”. In this section, we intend to publish reflections by human rights practitioners on their work on the field, describing what has worked and what has not in their practice and why. We are particularly interested in articles that might be useful for the practice of other Southern organizations. We also accept reviews of recently published books related to the issue’s central theme.

SUR 19 will also include material about human rights topics not pertaining to the specific theme of the dossier. Articles dealing with other issues, therefore, will also be considered by the journal’s Editorial Committee.


Articles submitted to Sur Journal are evaluated by external reviewers in a blind review process. The final selection of the articles takes these external reviews into consideration and is based on a comparison of the articles submitted for each issue. The Editorial Board does not provide reasons for rejecting articles.

Since distribution of the journal is free of charge, we unfortunately cannot remunerate the authors. Regarding copyright, Sur Journal uses Creative Commons 2.5 license to publish articles, thereby preserving the rights of the author.


Contributions should be sent electronically (in Microsoft Word format) to the email address [email protected] and follow the guidelines listed below:

    Lenght: 25,000 to 50,000 characters (or about 5,000 to 10,000 words), including footnotes. Articles for the “Notes from the Field” section and book reviews are expected to be shorter, ranging between 7,000 and 20,000 characters (or 1,400 and 4,000 words);
    Footnotes must be concise (the rules for citation may be found at;
    Submissions must include:

    • A short biography of the author (maximum 50 words);
    • An abstract (maximum 150 words);
    • Keywords for bibliographic classification;
    • The date in which the article was written.


Only submissions received by June 15th, 2013 will be considered for Issue No. 19. Articles received after this date will be considered for SUR’s next issue.

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