The New Colonialism: the American Model of Human Rights

Edited by Arzu Merali and Faisal Bodi, The New Colonialism: the American Model of Human Rights presents nine contributions from scholar-activists looking at how human rights as theory and practice have been co-opted by the US as part of brutal, racist and colonial foreign and domestic policies.

Topics under discussion include elucidations of the theaters and praxis of the new colonialism: third colonialism in cyberspace; the US media, Islamophobic representation and the violation of civil and political rights; the export of the Guantanamo regime from US praxis to refugee detention in Australia; the cross-fertilization of counter-insurgency praxis from France (in the Algerian war of independence) to the US and then beyond.

There is also detailed discussion about the underlying presumption that US praxes are simply exercises in hypocrisy.  Chapters discuss the Kerner Commission’s findings and set them within the foundational story of the US as one in which racism and the consequent violation of rights en masse are deeply embedded in the legal and political system of the country.  The idea of the US as an aspirational state founded on a land ‘discovered’ is exposed as an obfuscation of the genocidal project that not only preceded its foundation, but was central to the imaginary of the US as a state.  There is also a deep and nuanced critique of the Enlightenment ideas that the US if often presented as embodying – at least in theory.

With papers from Saied R. Ameli, Laurens de Rooij, Mary K. Ryan, Saeed A. Khan, Tasneem Chopra, Sandew Hira, Ramon Grosfoguel, Rajeesh Kumar and Sohail Daulatzai.

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Pages: 164

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-909853-03-4 Price: £20

Digital download ISBN 978-1-909853-04-1 Price: £9


Publisher: Islamic Human Rights Commission


“The promotion of human rights would be deemed a noble, constructive pursuit, ostensibly intended to create and promote universal standards of justice, equality and dignity. But the reality is often misaligned with the rhetoric, when in the name of human rights, hegemonic forces seek to dehumanize and devalue societies and peoples.

“This volume explores the American weaponization of human rights, as a discourse and a system of policies, as it institutionalizes racism, injustice and inequality, through the codification and imposition of Eurocentric frames of power that are, in fact, antithetical to both the principles and promise of human rights, i.e. a new expression of colonialism.”

Saeed Khan, Senior Lecturer, Near East & Asian Studies and Global Studies, Wayne State University.

“The New Colonialism: The American Model of Human Rights should be essential reading for those who seek to understand how promotion of human rights has been a tool for American and Western colonisation of the physical space, cyberspace, and cultural imperialism.”Mohideen Abdul Kader, Universal Justice Network.


Based on IHRC’s conference of the same name.