Dalhousie Law Journal


Niall MacDermot


Human rights, governments, lip-service, reality of practice


The credibility gap in human rights is a term coined by my predecessor, Mr. Sean MacBride. He used it to refer to the gap between the standards with governments proclaim, or accept, or at least pay lip-service to, and the reality of their practice in enforcing or suppressing these rights. The questions I would like to consider with you are the extent of this gap, the reasons for it, and what, if anything, ordinary citizens who care about human rights can do about it.