Gerald L. Neuman, Populist Threats to the International Human Rights System, in Human Rights in a Time of Populism: Challenges and Responses 1 (Gerald L. Neuman ed., 2020).
Abstract: This chapter frames the discussion that follows by examining the concept of populism, which is debated among political scientists, and the negative effects that populism may produce on internationally recognized human rights. The chapter emphasizes an understanding of populism as a form of politics that employs an exclusionary notion of the people as opposed to disfavored groups that are unworthy and that purports to rule on behalf of the people, whose will should not be constrained. The chapter describes both internal and external effects of populists' rise to power. Domestically, populist governance threatens the human rights of the excluded group, but also poses danger for members of the majority, as leaders seek to entrench themselves in power and undermine checks. Externally, the influence of populism on foreign policy reduces support for the international human rights regime, in a manner that has become increasingly problematic as populists gain power in more countries that previously played key roles in maintaining it.