Is the Human Rights Movement in Crisis?

Yale historian and law professor Samuel Moyn stoked an ongoing debate about the state of the human rights movement this spring with his new book, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World. Moyn’s thesis: the modern human rights movement has seriously damaged its own effectiveness by failing to address growing economic inequality over the past four decades.

Aryeh Neier, president emeritus of the Open Society Foundations and a former executive director of Human Rights Watch, disagrees. He argues that inherently complex decisions around how society allocates resources require the democratic process. In his view, social justice lies fundamentally outside the human rights framework and is badly served by appealing to it.

Can human rights flourish in conditions of increasing economic disenfranchisement, and is the human rights movement equipped with the proper tools to address structural inequality? In this live-streamed event, Samuel Moyn and Aryeh Neier will tackle these thorny questions and more in what promises to be a powerful discussion about the past and future direction of the human rights movement.


  • Aryeh Neier is president emeritus of the Open Society Foundations. He is a founder and former executive director of Human Rights Watch.
  • Samuel Moyn is a professor of law at Yale Law School and a professor of history at Yale University. He is the author of numerous books, including Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World.
  • Laura Silber, chief communications officer for the Open Society Foundations, will moderate the conversation.

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Date: July 11, 2018
Time: 6:007:30 p.m.