Silences are not simply absences, but are a constitutive feature of discourse and practice. Silences inform issues of voice, representation, and responsibility along with associated problems of inclusion, exclusion, and participation. This volume frames the contested nature of the human rights project within these concerns arguing that there exists an intimate relationship between the descriptor 'silence' and the political effect of human rights. This volume suggests that it is not possible to speak descriptively of 'the silencing of human rights' without also confronting the culpability of the human rights project within these silences. Where canonical discourses of human rights fail to acknowledge the silencing of rights claims, associated with various social meanings and identities in their founding episodes, they are condemned to perpetuate them, albeit in new forms. Rather than judging the human rights project as either emancipatory or as domination this volume focuses upon its essentially contested nature.