Moving from insignificance to the top of global politics, democracy and human rights promotion has been expected to build on the waves of democratization and ensure rapid development and better protection of human rights. However, while some cases of human rights and democracy promotion have been marked with success – EU enlargement policy to Central and Eastern European countries – others have not lived up to the promise of successful democratization projected after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today, the policy fields of human rights and democracy promotion are as congested as ever, even with newly democratized states joining in. They also becoming as contested as ever, making one wonder if this diversification is mirroring emerging multipolarity in world politics. This paper analyzes the gradual rise of human rights and democracy promotion to top issues within international affairs, paying attention to the roles of different actors, currently debated issues, and touching upon possible leadership within the highly interconnected fields of human rights and democracy promotion.