3 Chi. J. Int'l L. 481 (2002)
Toward Fair Play: A Decade of Transformation and Resistance in International Human Rights Advocacy in Brazil

handle is hein.journals/cjil3 and id is 487 raw text is: Toward Fair Play:
A Decade of Transformation and Resistance in
International Human Rights Advocacy in Brazil
James L. Cavalaro
In conferences and panels on human rights practice in Brazil, I often resort to a
simplified analogy between soccer matches and international human rights litigation
and advocacy, one certain to be understood in the world's premier soccer nation. The
analogy concerns the expectations that a player or team brings onto the field at the
beginning of any match, and those of a litigant (or attorney) seeking to bring her case
before an international human rights oversight body.
To begin, I tell the audience that the players expect fair play: that the other team
has recognized the competition itself and its rules; that the other team has joined a
league or confederation and has ceded to that body some control over the match; that
the other side will respect the rules that have been established for match play and will
abide by the determinations of the judges and referee during the course of the match.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, players expect that the other team will respect
the final outcome of the match and will assume the consequences inherent in that
decision. When the match decides a championship, one team expects that the other
will surrender the championship trophy.
Were soccer more like international human rights litigation, it would be an odd
spectacle: teams would often play uncontested matches, flagrant fouls would be
committed without penalties, players would routinely disregard the referees' rulings,
and the losers would often return home self-declared victors. How does one play in
these circumstances?
As in most of the developing world (and in many developed states), the greatest
challenge facing human rights lawyers in Brazil is the inherent weakness of the
AB, Harvard College, 1984 JD, University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall), 1992; PhD
Candidate, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain; Orville Schell Fellow, Human Rights Watch,
1992-93; Clerk, Honorable Dolores K. Sloviter, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for
the Third Circuit, 1993-94; Brazil Office Director, Human Rights Watch, 1994-99; Founder and
Executive Director, GlobalJustice Center, 1999-2002; Associate Director, Human Rights Program,
Harvard Law School, 2002-present.

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