Human Rights Review

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 139–158 | Cite as

Human Rights Contention in Latin America: A Comparative Study

  • James C. FranklinEmail author


This paper reports original data on contentious challenges, especially protests, focused on human rights in seven Latin American countries from 1981 to 1995. An analysis reveals that human rights contentious challenges are most prevalent where human rights abuses are worse and authoritarianism is present and in countries that are more urbanized. However, the incidence of such human rights contentious challenges is not related to the number of human rights organizations (HROs) in the country. Results also suggest two different types of human rights contention. National human rights movements, present in Argentina and Guatemala, involved HROs and demanded improvements in the national human rights situation. The other form is ancillary human rights protest, in which human rights challenges are led by a variety of groups, focus on repression particular to the groups involved and are either short-lived or part of a more general wave of opposition. This form of contention was more prevalent in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.


Human rights Social movements NGOs Protest 



I would like to thank Haley Beffel and Kim Eckart for their research assistance and Whitney Franklin for her editorial assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Politics and GovernmentOhio Wesleyan UniversityDelawareUSA

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