openGlobalRights https://opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/12849/all en Beyond liberal rights: lessons from a possible future in Detroit https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/chris-grove/beyond-liberal-rights-lessons-from-possible-future-in-detroit <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/fX4fM2MXRDcTLxKzrQNhUj6WjRnDtyoGFItek_Zu7s8/mtime:1438185962/files/Grove.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Thirty thousand Detroit households have been denied access to water and sanitation, raising systemic questions about the liberal rights tradition. A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/debating-economic-and-social-rights" target="_blank">economic and social rights</a>. &nbsp;<span><strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/chris-grove/m%C3%A1s-all%C3%A1-de-los-derechos-liberales-lecciones-partir-de-un-futuro-posibl" target="_blank">Español</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/chris-grove/audel%C3%A0-des-droits-lib%C3%A9raux-le%C3%A7ons-d%E2%80%99un-possible-futur-%C3%A0-d%C3%A9troit" target="_blank">Français</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/chris-grove/%D9%85%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D8%B9%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D9%85%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A8%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%AA%D9%85%D9%84-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%AF%D9%8A%D8%AA%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%8A%D8%AA" target="_blank">العربية</a></em></strong></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Cutting off access to water and sanitation should cause moral outrage in any country, particularly amid global wealth and productive capacity that are sufficient to meet the basic needs of all people. It is particularly shocking in the US, in a city that was the global center of auto manufacturing and is surrounded by 20% of the world’s fresh surface water. As an urgent response to over 30,000 Detroit households being denied access to water and sanitation, the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization (MWRO), Detroit People's Water Board Coalition and other allies organized the International Social Movements Gathering on Water and Affordable Housing in May 2015. The gathering ultimately drew 200 human rights advocates and grassroots leaders to Detroit from across the US and several other countries.</p><p dir="ltr">The City of Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history on 18 July 2013. Although Michigan residents had voted down the state’s emergency manager law in a 2012 referendum, the state legislature and governor passed and utilized a similar law (Public Act 436) to impose an <a target="_blank" href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/14/detroit-emergency-manager_n_2871371.html">emergency manager</a> on Detroit, in March 2013. With almost unlimited power to negotiate the city’s future, the emergency manager <a target="_blank" href="http://archive.freep.com/article/20140822/NEWS01/308220141/Detroit-water-department-Veolia">contracted the services of Veolia North America</a> to guide restructuring of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">By October 2014, some 30,000 households had faced water and sewer disconnections, prompting the visit of two United Nations Special Rapporteurs. Their </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15188&amp;LangID=E" style="line-height: 1.5;">statement</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> stressed that “thousands of households are living in fear that their water may be shut off at any time without due notice…and that children may be taken by child protection services as houses without water are deemed uninhabitable for children.” Despite their critique and substantial media coverage, unpaid water bills are now being attached to overdue property taxes, exposing thousands of homeowners to </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/one-fifth-of-detroits-population-could-lose-their-homes/381694/" style="line-height: 1.5;">property tax foreclosure</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/fX4fM2MXRDcTLxKzrQNhUj6WjRnDtyoGFItek_Zu7s8/mtime:1438185962/files/Grove.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/uusc4all (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> In Detroit, water shutoffs prompt grassroots groups to respond: “Water is a human right!” This conception of human rights moves beyond the narrow liberal rights tradition.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Warning US and global allies of deepening trends, Maureen Taylor, State Chair of MWRO, often begins presentations on Detroit by proclaiming: “Welcome to the future!” Established in 1918, the Ford River Rouge Complex eventually employed over 100,000 Detroit residents. Today, technology and outsourcing have eliminated tens of thousands of jobs. River Rouge remains Ford’s single largest manufacturing complex, yet it employs only 6,000 people. Detroit provides an important vantage point for examining the liberal experiment in democracy, individual rights and free markets represented by the US. This model drove technological innovation, increased productivity and lower labor costs in the pursuit of profit. For a time, liberalism also created space for labor organizing, and many Detroit auto workers—both white and black—were able to secure steady wages sufficient to afford decent homes and comfortable retirements. Yet the future looks bleak from Detroit.</span></p><p><span class="mag-quote-right">The liberal rights tradition promotes individual freedom and formal equality before the law, but it does not promise to end substantive inequalities.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">By 2013, </span><a target="_blank" href="http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/26/2622000.html" style="line-height: 1.5;">39%</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> of Detroit’s rapidly shrinking population lived below the official poverty line; 83% of residents were African American. The liberal rights tradition promotes individual freedom and formal equality before the law, but it does not promise to end substantive inequalities. Neither classical liberalism nor neoliberalism guarantees the right to water, housing, or other public goods and services.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Ultimately, neoliberal economic policies deepened material inequality and laid the groundwork for the recent economic crisis, tipping Detroit into insolvency. Growing economic and political inequalities now threaten to undermine liberal rights. As inequality fuels social dislocation and resistance, the government’s response often undercuts civil rights. Detroit reflects a nationwide trend of militarized police forces, surveillance and mass incarceration, disproportionately impacting black communities and undermining rights to life, privacy, political participation and freedom from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The state government usurped the democratic control of Detroit residents. The emergency manager embarked on a series of public-private partnerships; for example, Homrich Wrecking, Inc. was given a two-year, </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.dwsd.org/downloads_n/about_dwsd/bowc/board_meetings/2013_final_agendas/bowc_final_agenda_2013-04-24.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">$5.6 million contract</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> to execute residential water disconnections.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A grassroots struggle is resisting shutoffs, running water hoses from home-to-home, protecting children from unjust removal, working with economists to create alternative water affordability plans and with lawyers—including </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.escr-net.org/sites/default/files/Detroit%20water%20case%20amicus%20-%20FINAL%20as%20filed%20%283%20Feb%202015%29.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">ESCR-Net Members</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> from several countries—to insist that the right to life must encompass social rights. Throughout their struggle, grassroots groups continue to insist: “Water is a human right!” This conception of human rights moves beyond the narrow liberal rights tradition.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">First, demanding water as a human right suggests that the liberal focus on freedom and formal equality should be complemented by attention to substantive equality and the common good. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was built on diverse philosophical and faith traditions and struggles for justice, emphasizing the interdependence of political, economic, social, civil and cultural rights.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Second, individual violations of human rights should be a starting point for systemic analysis of impoverishment, dispossession, and repression, which deny rights to people around the world. Following the lead of Detroit residents, human rights advocates might ask: should certain goods and services be taken out of the competitive market? If individual gain has often driven innovation and hard work, is it possible to imagine societal advancements based on values of cooperation, sustainability and empathy? In a global society characterized by abundance and endless opportunities for communication, but also facing existential challenges of climate change, poverty and militarization, we arguably need new models for living together.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Finally, the call made by Detroit organizations for an international gathering of grassroots groups and NGOs—confronting similar struggles across the US and the world—highlights their analysis that a global movement for human rights is vital. If liberalism posited sovereign individuals democratically governing nation-states, there is growing recognition that global economic forces are shaping Detroit and communities worldwide. This does not mean denying the particularity of different contexts, but rather examining how these interact with global forces and common structures of oppression and exploitation. In this regard, human rights are not merely legal standards created by UN processes, ratified by governments and litigated in courts. Human rights are also a basis for common demands and the moral legitimacy of grassroots struggles, which insist on social justice in the face of global power imbalances.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/8sCympnF59rl9xrpf82NrL_5-imm9ykh-3B3GXxjnBo/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/4N8fiQPBJym-nxI7kqtmv16UaPlM74ci6ksJOeS88Fw/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/debating-economic-and-social-rights" target="_blank" onMouseOver="document.Imgs.src=' https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Economic_Social_Inset_2.png '" onMouseOut="document.Imgs.src=' https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Economic_Social_Inset_1.png '"> <img src=" https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Economic_Social_Inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Debating economic and social rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrightsopenpage/leilani-farha/cities-new-guardians-of-human-rights">Cities: the new guardians of human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/gordon-mcgranahan/for-sanitation-%E2%80%9Crightsbased-approach%E2%80%9D-may-be-wrong-strategy">For sanitation, a “rights-based approach” may be the wrong strategy</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/helena-hofbauer/winners-and-losers-how-budgeting-for-human-rights-can-help-poor">Winners and losers: how budgeting for human rights can help the poor</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/inga-winkler-virginia-roaf/for-sanitation-human-rights-are-key-to-keeping-governmen">For sanitation, human rights are key to keeping governments accountable</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/shareen-hertel/legal-mobilization-critical-first-step-to-addressing-economic-and-so">Legal mobilization: a critical first step to addressing economic and social rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sara-bailey/can-legal-interventions-really-tackle-root-causes-of-poverty">Can legal interventions really tackle the root causes of poverty?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dan-berliner/open-budgets-open-politics">Open budgets, open politics?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/chris-jochnick/poverty-and-human-rights-can-courts-lawyers-and-activists-make-diffe">Poverty and human rights: can courts, lawyers and activists make a difference?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/stuart-wilson/without-means-there-are-no-real-rights">Without means, there are no real rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/irene-khan-david-petrasek/beyond-courts-%E2%80%93-protecting-economic-and-social-rights">Beyond the courts – protecting economic and social rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/stanley-ibe/yes-economic-and-social-rights-really-are-human-rights">Yes, economic and social rights really are human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jacob-mchangama/legalizing-economic-and-social-rights-won%E2%80%99t-help-poor-0">Legalizing economic and social rights won’t help the poor</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Chris Grove Canada & the US Debating economic and social rights Thu, 30 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Chris Grove 94865 at https://opendemocracy.net Are humanitarian aid and professional ambition mutually exclusive? https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/jacques-stroun/are-humanitarian-aid-and-professional-ambition-mutually-exclusive <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/KYO4zKOR-_RlX_cvZ1XTdLZJbj-BSbm5x1gALYhA2AM/mtime:1438116329/files/Stroun.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p><span>The professionalization of human rights organizations is only effective if management adapts their strategies. An amateur mentality simply will not work. A contribution to the </span><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a><span> debate on </span><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/internationalizing-human-rights-organizations" target="_blank">internationalizing human rights organizations.</a><span>&nbsp;</span><span><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/jacques-stroun/l%E2%80%99aide-humanitaire-et-l%E2%80%99ambition-professionnelle-sontelles-antinomiq" target="_blank">Français</a></strong></em></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/carrie-oelberger/how-does-professionalization-impact-international-human-rights-org">Carrie Oelberger's concerns</a> that the professionalization of human rights organizations is shifting the values of its employees are not without merit. As first a line manager, and then the human resources director of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)—an organization that protects victims of international and internal armed conflicts, and is a three-time Nobel Prize Laureate—I have certainly seen this evolution of career advancement and the tensions that can arise. However, many of the changes she discusses are not only positive, but highly necessary. Amateurism in international human rights work doesn’t benefit anyone. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In 1980, as a young doctor coming out of university, I joined the ICRC to work in a district hospital in Cambodia. I was motivated by a desire to discover the world and assist people in need. We were a group of Swiss expatriates trained on the job to achieve one of the greatest assistance actions since World War II; the logistician had architect training, the doctor in charge had two years of surgery experience in Switzerland, and the person responsible for emergency food relief had a literature degree. Together we invented our work using our motivation, experience and common sense.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">After this term, I caught the humanitarian “bug” and ended up giving the ICRC more than 30 years of my life. During this period, humanitarian action became fully professionalized and internationalized. In 2013, during my last term in Bangkok, I worked with professionals from Azerbaijan, India, Ireland, France, the Philippines and, of course, Thailand.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><span class="mag-quote-right" style="line-height: 1.5;">Now, standards exist in all areas, impact measures are the rule, and performance indicators are essential in the planning process.&nbsp;</span>This was necessary in a world that has become more connected and more demanding, but also more complex, unpredictable and dangerous. Today, humanitarian interventions are more exposed to the public eye, and both donors and recipients have the right to demand accountability. It is no longer enough to "do your best". We owe the people we are assisting an intervention that meets professional excellence criteria, and we owe our donors the assurance that their money is managed with utmost rigor. Now, standards exist in all areas, impact measures are the rule, and performance indicators are essential in the planning process.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But does this shift from an “amateur” to a more “professional” style mean that humanitarian and human rights organizations may become less effective than in the past? Does it mean that people in need may perhaps have received less assistance or protection? Overall, I do not think so. That said, there are new constraints and risks of which we must be aware and manage.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In 1980, we were amateurs working closely together. Today, there is a danger of fragmentation of operations between several areas of expertise: lawyers, doctors, engineers, and others, each in their field with their own frame of reference. But in the complex emergencies we face, the problems are global, and so must be the answers. Good coordination between specialists is essential. Training and career management must give professionals the feeling that they are part of a whole to which they all contribute. This is also the role of field managers, who have become much more important than they were 30 years ago. Knowing how to work together as a highly diversified team is a skill that international organizations must acquire and develop.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">One of Oelberger’s concerns is that professionals are less altruistically-motivated and more concerned by managing their own career. The research that she mentions shows that intellectual stimulation, learning and professional developments are key to job satisfaction. She is right on this point. As an example, I remember a young delegate responsible for the protection of detainees in Kabul, who asked me to change his job, saying: "I love my job, but I do not learn anything new and I am not improving myself anymore."</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But I believe that this attitude is also the consequence of a more competitive labour market, where we are all forced to pay more attention to our career path and consequently expect (rightly) our hierarchy to be concerned by the development of our competencies. Organizations must take this into account and managers must dedicate time to training their staff and to keeping an open dialogue with them on their future.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In the extreme situations in which ICRC intervenes, those affected need professionally delivered assistance. They also, however, need an international presence, a gesture, or a word that restores hope and dignity. The authorities with whom our employees deal with are not only sensitive to technical arguments, but also to the power of conviction. Our people do not only have to be competent professionals, but also strong personalities. In 1992, the head physician of a hospital in Azerbaijan reminded me of this when I introduced myself as an ICRC doctor, saying sharply: "I do not care about your organization and your title. Who are you, you?" This is one reason why ICRC places major importance on the evaluation of social and relational skills in the recruitment process.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/KYO4zKOR-_RlX_cvZ1XTdLZJbj-BSbm5x1gALYhA2AM/mtime:1438116329/files/Stroun.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/International Committee of the Red Cross (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> An ICRC medical team operates on a wounded combatant in South Sudan.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Finally, humanitarian and human rights organizations often act in unstructured and unpredictable situations. Professional skills are not always enough. We must leave some room for creativity and personal initiative, which must start from the field. Although we need competent experts, we need to know how to keep adventurous personalities who think outside the box. These people may be difficult to manage in everyday life, but they will make a difference in extreme situations.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">After all, it was Louis Haefliguer, who in August 1945, as ICRC delegate at Mauthausen concentration camps, disregarded instructions and convinced SS guards not to execute Himmler's order to blow up all installations, saving more than 40,000 deportees, It was Henry Dunant, a mystic dreamer who ended up bankrupt and had to leave his city of Geneva, but whose initiative of treating the wounded of both sides in the battle of Solferino in 1859 inspired the humanitarian laws of modern warfare.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The humanitarian world needs also people like this. And it is certainly worth the effort to recruit and retain some of them.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Overall, I am pleased with the professionalism and progressive internationalization of ICRC staff. I am convinced that it was beneficial for the humanitarian sector and for the people we are trying to help and protect. But this evolution is positive only if international organizations fully accept it by assuming its constraints and risks, and adapt employee management accordingly.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">If human rights organizations want to motivate their professionals and reap the full benefit of their expertise, they should review the recruitment process, develop continuous training programs, make career management more transparent and above all, keep managers accountable in their "team building" role when managing a diverse group of people.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We cannot hire professionals while keeping an amateur management mentality. Humanitarian professionals may have a genuine desire to help, but most also want to advance in their careers. Why can’t they do both?</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/8sCympnF59rl9xrpf82NrL_5-imm9ykh-3B3GXxjnBo/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/4N8fiQPBJym-nxI7kqtmv16UaPlM74ci6ksJOeS88Fw/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/internationalizing-human-rights-organizations" target="_blank" onMouseOver="document.Imgs.src='https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/IHRO_inset_2.png'" onMouseOut="document.Imgs.src='https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/IHRO_inset_1.png'"> <img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/IHRO_inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Internationalizing human rights organizations – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/carrie-oelberger/how-does-professionalization-impact-international-human-rights-org">How does professionalization impact international human rights organizations?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/lucia-nader/firm-yet-flexible-keeping-human-rights-organisations-relevant">Firm yet flexible: keeping human rights organisations relevant</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/wendy-h-wong/time-for-change-future-of-ingos-in-international-human-rights">A time for change? The future of INGOs in international human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/brian-root/can-rights-organizations-use-lowburden-selfreflection-for-evaluation">Can rights organizations use low-burden self-reflection for evaluation?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/wanja-muguongo/to-truly-internationalize-human-rights-funding-must-make-sense">To truly internationalize human rights, funding must make sense</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/adriano-campolina/decentralizing-can-make-global-human-rights-groups-stronger">Decentralizing can make global human rights groups stronger</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/johanna-sim%C3%A9ant/internationalization-is-about-more-than-just-advocacy">Internationalization is about more than just advocacy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/transnational-rights-violations-call-for-new-forms-of-cooperation">Transnational rights violations call for new forms of cooperation</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/emily-martinez/human-rights-diversity-goes-beyond-northsouth-relations">Human rights diversity goes beyond North-South relations</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/c%C3%A9sar-rodr%C3%ADguezgaravito/multiple-boomerangs-new-models-of-global-human-rights-advoc">Multiple boomerangs: new models of global human rights advocacy</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Jacques Stroun Global Internationalizing Human Rights Organizations Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:00:00 +0000 Jacques Stroun 94837 at https://opendemocracy.net For Moroccan rights groups, good reputations aren’t enough https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-rachid-touhtou/for-moroccan-rights-groups-good-reputations <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/ZeA25-nEgoLxjtgug44ydgKDlY8w6_6Gj7sMt_1-_2w/mtime:1438028933/files/Trouhtou.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Without building a strong popular base, the Moroccan human rights community cannot capitalize on its good reputation. A contribution to&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a>’&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Public Opinion and Human Rights</a>&nbsp;debate.&nbsp;<em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/rachid-touhtou-james-ron-shannon-golden/pour-les-organisations-marocaines-de-d%C3%A9fens" target="_blank">Français</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/rachid-touhtou-james-ron-shannon-golden/%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A8%D8%A9-%D9%84%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%BA%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A9%D8%8C-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%A9-" target="_blank">العربية</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">On February 20, 2011, thousands of Moroccans took to the streets in Rabat, Casablanca, and Tangier, demanding wholesale change to the <a href="http://fr.globalvoicesonline.org/2011/12/29/92778/" target="_blank">country’s constitution</a>. The protests were led by the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (<a href="http://www.amdh.org.ma/en/about-amdh" target="_blank">AMDH</a>), a Rabat-based organization founded in 1979 by secular, left wing activists and former political prisoners.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">AMDH leaders had begun strategizing for political change as soon as the Arab Spring began in Tunisia, </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://ahmedbenchemsi.com/feb20s-rise-and-fall-a-moroccan-story/">two months earlier</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. They created a </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.facebook.com/movement20?re=br_rs" target="_blank">Facebook page</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, a </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.mamfakinch.com/" target="_blank">new website</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, and a </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=J0spuMUcQQ4&amp;spfreload=10" target="_blank">YouTube video</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> calling on Moroccans to turn out en masse on February 20. In response, </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.ribatalkoutoub.ma/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=175:delaprotestationurbaineaumaroc-&amp;catid=143:dossie&amp;Itemid=17" target="_blank">more protestors hit the streets than the country had witnessed since major social uprisings in the 1980s</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The AMDH’s initial success is puzzling. According to the </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://jamesron.com/documents/hro-report-morocco.pdf" target="_blank">Human Rights Perceptions Polls</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, based on a representative sample of 1,100 adults living in Rabat, Casablanca, and their rural environs, Moroccan rights groups have a weak social base. Although the public does afford local human rights organizations (LHROs) some trust, they have little personal contact with these organizations.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Consider Figure 1, which charts the public’s trust in LHROs, relative to their trust in other institutions. On a 4-point scale, in which 1 equals “no trust”, adults living in and around Casablanca and Rabat rated LHROs at 2.32, on average. This is lower than the most trusted actors—the army and religious institutions—but much higher than trust in the least trusted institution, the US government.</span></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/4-m7x1fkDZed9HJj4G5MLBn-ABGKtKV6pu4jXfCze00/mtime:1438028950/files/TrouhtouChart1.jpg"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/4-m7x1fkDZed9HJj4G5MLBn-ABGKtKV6pu4jXfCze00/mtime:1438028950/files/TrouhtouChart1.jpg" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">As Figure 2 demonstrates, however, the Moroccan human rights organizations’ contact with the broader population is very infrequent, suggesting that LHROs would struggle to mobilize large numbers. Only 7% of our sample reported ever having met a “human rights worker” (non-governmental or governmental), and only 1% reported ever having participated in the activities of, or donated money to, a human rights organization.</span></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/SnodEl9id0STsuaea773vOomMVTPb8rQ6MEDebGU_dk/mtime:1438028960/files/TrouhtouChart2.jpg"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/SnodEl9id0STsuaea773vOomMVTPb8rQ6MEDebGU_dk/mtime:1438028960/files/TrouhtouChart2.jpg" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Despite this weak social base, however, the AMDH was able to play a pivotal role in the February 20th mass mobilization. It did this by making a crucial alliance with the </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.aljamaa.net" target="_blank">Justice and Charity Organization</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> (JCO), an Islamist social movement in Morocco that traces its roots to the 1970s.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">According to a </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/uploads/Documents/pubs/PolicyFocus135_Sakthivel_v2.pdf" target="_blank">recent study</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, the JCO has up to 500,000 followers; according to its leaders, the real numbers are even higher. Most observers agree that the JCO has built a broad social base in Morocco through close, frequent contact with the public, strong ideological principles, and attention to organizational detail.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Unlike the AMDH and other secular Moroccan human rights groups, which focused on elite-level, anti-regime activities during the “Years of Lead”, Morocco’s repressive 1970s and 80s, the JCO spent its time building ties to ordinary Moroccans. It trained leaders, cultivated sympathizers and devoted time and effort to its popular base.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Human Rights Perception Polls provide a measure of the ideational context in which the JCO thrives. As Figure 3 demonstrates, 96% of Moroccan survey respondents reported that religion was “very important” in their daily lives; 85% prayed at least once a day, and 46% attended mosque at least once a week. In addition, 27% said they trusted Moroccan religious institutions “a lot”, according it 4 on the 1-4 trust scale. Religion, in other words, is crucial to Moroccans, and the JCO has positioned itself squarely within that worldview. </span></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/v6r1VY9sBINmJxFWTyXjGLZLvCKjOcL5z0JZ5CVEkzQ/mtime:1438028970/files/TrouhtouChart3.jpg"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/v6r1VY9sBINmJxFWTyXjGLZLvCKjOcL5z0JZ5CVEkzQ/mtime:1438028970/files/TrouhtouChart3.jpg" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr">Given the JCO’s popular strength, it was crucial that, in February 2011, the <a href="http://www.cairn.info/zen.php?ID_ARTICLE=COME_078_0035" target="_blank">AMDH reached out to the Islamists</a> and, in the heat of the moment, built a temporary coalition of convenience. That winter, the joint AMDH-Islamist demonstrations created a powerful street presence, undermining the king’s confidence in his power. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Morocco’s monarch quickly adapted, announcing far-reaching concessions that few had expected. Mohammed VI paved the way for a constitutional monarchy by reducing his powers, changing Article 19 of the old constitution (which defined the king as a sacred personality), and stressing the primacy of universal human rights over domestic law.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The AMDH </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.carnegieendowment.org/2011/06/20/new-moroccan-constitution-real-change-or-more-of-same" target="_blank">rejected the king’s concessions</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, saying they didn’t go far enough. Instead, they and other secular rights activists called for wholesale reconstruction of the state’s governing institutions, including forming a popular assembly to replace the parliament and drafting a new constitution. Although the AMDH did not openly call for the king’s removal, the suggestion was that, under the new system, the king would become little more than a figurehead.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/ZeA25-nEgoLxjtgug44ydgKDlY8w6_6Gj7sMt_1-_2w/mtime:1438028933/files/Trouhtou.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Flickr/Magharebia (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> A 20th of February Movement march in Casablanca, Morocco. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In a sudden turnabout, the religiously-oriented JCO bolted from its alliance with the secular AMDH and decided to demobilize. Instead, the JCO joined forces with the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), a political party that had accepted the king’s reforms. The reasons behind this sudden about-face remain unclear, but some speculate the JCO struck a deal with both the PJD and the king, abandoning street protests in return for free and fair elections.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The JCO is a social movement, not a political party, but their alliance with the parliamentary PJD is mutually beneficial. In November 2011, when the </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-15902703" target="_blank">PJD emerged as the leader in national elections</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> with 27% of parliamentary seats, the JCO was the PJD’s silent, but willing, partner.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The PJD’s political gains are real. Under the new Moroccan constitution, rewritten by the king in the summer of 2011, the monarch was obliged to select a member of the PJD, as the largest political party, to form the next government. In early 2012, the PJD gained control over major government ministries, including social affairs, economics and foreign affairs.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The PJD is thus gaining valuable government experience while proving itself to Moroccan voters. It has also demonstrated its ability to work with the monarchy and earn the king’s trust. For the JCO, the alliance with a successful Islamist political party has provided all manner of benefits, including a mechanism for transitioning into a more overtly political role should it decide to do so in the future.</span></p><p><span class="mag-quote-right" style="line-height: 1.5;">The AMDH and other secular rights activists, by contrast, have emerged weakened from the process.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The AMDH and other secular rights activists, by contrast, have emerged weakened from the process. Although they continue to organize weekly protests, their numbers are </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.anneemaghreb.revues.org/1537#tocto1n5" target="_blank">small and declining</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. The AMDH has not been successful in advancing its agenda of wholesale government reform, further reductions in monarchical power, poverty reduction, unemployment alleviation, and more. Most importantly, from the AMDH’s perspective, they have not been able to gain a royal pardon for their former leftist comrades in arms.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">There seem to be several lessons for the Moroccan human rights movement. First, some kind of accommodation with the palace appears crucial for political impact. The Islamists chose to strike a deal, and have been rewarded with power and access. By remaining steadfast opponents to the king, the AMDH has been shut out.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">More importantly, the AMDH’s inability to sustain a broad-based social movement without the Islamists demonstrates the weakness of their long-term strategy. Although the Human Rights Perceptions Polls do show popular trust in LHROs, good feelings alone cannot sustain a movement. Instead, Morocco’s rights groups must cultivate a robust social base by providing social services and popular education, and by raising money from ordinary members of the public.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Failing these efforts, the Moroccan human rights movement is likely to tread water. The Islamists are growing more powerful, while the Ministry of Interior has just banned several AMDH conferences, threatened to strip the group of its legal status, and demonized the NGO as anti-Islamic and anti-national.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The time has come for a strategic rethink. The Moroccan human rights movement registered </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.amazon.com/Society-Political-Morocco-History-Islamic-ebook/dp/B000SJWARE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1429187390&amp;sr=8-3&amp;keywords=james+sater+morocco" target="_blank">some real successes in the 1990s and 2000s</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. It put human rights on the monarchy’s agenda, forced the state to recognize past abuses, and advocated successfully on a range of issues. The movement’s reputation among ordinary Moroccans, moreover, is reasonably strong.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Without actively cultivating a broad popular base however, Morocco’s local rights groups are destined to remain marginal political players.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_2.jpg '" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg '"> <img src=" https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Public opinion and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meriem-el-haitami-shannon-golden-james-ron/partners-in-prayer-women%27s-rights-and-re">Partners in prayer: women&#039;s rights and religion in Morocco</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/amina-bouayach/moroccans-are-protesting-but-conditions-aren%E2%80%99t-improving">Moroccans are protesting, but conditions aren’t improving </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/datadriven-optimism-for-global-r">Data-driven optimism for global rights activists</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/doutje-lettinga/is-emerging-middle-class-our-best-hope-for-global-rights-activism">Is the emerging middle class our best hope for global rights activism?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-e-mendelson/doubling-down-on-human-rights-data">Doubling down on human rights data</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dahlia-scheindlin/in-israel-implementing-human-rights-feels-wrong">In Israel, implementing human rights feels wrong</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/guy-grossman-devorah-manekin-dan-miodownik/in-israel-intense-combat-experience-decr">In Israel, intense combat experience decreases support for negotiations and human rights organizations</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/let-pollsters-pick-navigating-public-opinion-in-israel">Let the pollsters pick? Navigating public opinion in Israel</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights Arab Awakening openGlobalRights Shannon Golden James Ron Rachid Touhtou Middle East & North Africa Public Opinion and Human Rights Tue, 28 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Shannon Golden, James Ron and Rachid Touhtou 94791 at https://opendemocracy.net UNAIDS: Bold human rights targets need better monitoring https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/meg-davis/unaids-bold-human-rights-targets-need-better-monitoring <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/uT79uUrOJDhJonmzMEMjxsI2Lkxp9RY_awBLk7q0FIE/mtime:1437966947/files/Davis.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p dir="ltr">If UN agencies set bold targets for human rights reform, they must commit to reporting rigorously on progress to achieve them. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/evaluation-and-human-rights" target="_blank"> evaluation and human rights.</a>&nbsp;<em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/meg-davis/onusida-los-objetivos-de-derechos-humanos-audaces-requieren-una-mejor-sup" target="_blank">Español</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/meg-davis/l%E2%80%99onusida-les-objectifs-ambitieux-en-mati%C3%A8re-de-droits-de-l%E2%80%99homme-ont-bes" target="_blank">Français</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Take a trip back to the fabulous summer of 2010, when thousands of activists marched in Vienna at the International AIDS Conference. We waved our beer steins in Stephansplatz to the sweet songs of Annie Lennox, and demanded “Human Rights and HIV/AIDS, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.hivhumanrightsnow.org/">Now More Than Ever</a>”. That year, UNAIDS added ambitious human rights targets to its 2011-15 “Getting to Zero” strategy. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Now fast forward to 2015. The UNAIDS-Lancet Commission has once again called for ambitious human rights action to help </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.thelancet.com/commissions/defeating-aids-advancing-global-health" style="line-height: 1.5;">bring an end to AIDS by 2030</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. As the UNAIDS and The Global Fund craft new strategies and new indicators, it seems like a good time to ask – how are we doing?</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In fact, it’s hard to say, given the unfortunately vague reporting by UNAIDS on its last human rights indicators. For example, one of those human rights targets from 2010 was to reduce by half the number of countries with punitive laws and practices around HIV transmission, sex work, drug use or homosexuality that block effective responses.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/uT79uUrOJDhJonmzMEMjxsI2Lkxp9RY_awBLk7q0FIE/mtime:1437966947/files/Davis.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Flickr/United Nations Development Programme (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> UNAIDS workers address beneficiaries at an AIDS/HIV clinic in Timbuktu, Mali.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">That was a bold goal: to cut in four years the number of countries with punitive laws that have been shown, </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.hivlawcommission.org" style="line-height: 1.5;">over and over again</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, to make it impossible to reach the “key populations” most vulnerable to HIV (sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who inject drugs). Specifically, UNAIDS demanded that we cut the number of countries with laws that criminalize HIV transmission, sex work, drug use or same-sex sexual relations.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">These are four clear and easily measurable targets. But they were never actually measured. Why? Because UNAIDS annual reports never set a clear baseline (cut half of how many?), and often used narrative description instead of numbers. Moreover, the reports changed what they measured each year, and did not consistently report comparative data (i.e., whether the numbers of laws increased or decreased from year to year).</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Briefly, digging through the text of UNAIDS annual reports reveals </span><a target="_blank" href="https://megontheinternet.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/unaids-human-rights-indicators-what-counts/" style="line-height: 1.5;">the following</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">:</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"></span></p><ol><li><span style="line-height: 1.5;">From 2011-15, the number of countries criminalizing HIV transmission rises briefly from 60 countries to 63 countries (in 2013) and then dips back to 60 countries in 2015 (the change is not explained but probably reflects a change in how countries were categorized);</span></li><li><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The number of countries criminalizing same-sex relationships increases from 78 countries in 2011 to 79 by 2015;</span></li><li><span style="line-height: 1.5;">On sex work and drug use, UNAIDS annual reports gives no number and says only that “most countries” criminalized both. (Twice, UNAIDS reported data on the number of countries that use compulsory drug detention for drug users. That is a great thing to track, but it is not the original target.)</span></li></ol><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Overall, no matter how you count it, there was almost no change on these four targets in five years. That’s depressing.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Was the original target (“reduce by half the number of countries with punitive laws”) an achievable goal? Probably not; law reform is slow work and it would have been a massive job to overhaul this many laws in this many countries. Certainly, it would have required&nbsp;a whole lot more financial and political investment in pushing for law and policy change: the hard&nbsp;work of reviewing laws and policies, litigation, human rights advocacy, community mobilization and more.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But even if the goal was overambitious, having more rigorous and reliable reporting on the indicator would have generated data for use by governments, UN treaty bodies, UN country offices, and civil society. That would make it easier to press for change.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span class="mag-quote-right">What were originally pretty good targets got buried in ambiguous text.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Instead, what were originally pretty good targets got buried in ambiguous text. Instead of sticking to the original clear targets, the UNAIDS report chapter on this human rights indicator lumped in lots of other issues, and muddied the waters.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">For example, the original strategy from 2011 </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/sub_landing/files/JC2034_UNAIDS_Strategy_en.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">says</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> that “…[n]early two thirds of countries reported policies or laws that impede access to HIV services by certain populations.” There’s a clear baseline. What happened next?</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The next year, in 2012, UNAIDS reported that 60% of countries had laws or policies that impeded access to services (so about two thirds?). But there was good news, as the </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/document/2011/JC2215_Global_AIDS_Response_Progress_Reporting_en.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">report noted</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">: “Although these figures are clearly cause for concern, they are promising in another respect, since acknowledging the existence of such laws is a critical first step towards reforming them.” Or perhaps not, since the 2013 and 2015 reports had the same 60% statistic, without comment.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Human rights indicators don’t fix problems. They often bring bad news. But they do focus the mind on action. A good human rights indicator is an advocacy tool that promotes transparency, accountability and action – globally, regionally, and nationally.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A weak human rights indicator—or a good one that is under-resourced and buried in noise—is actually a barrier to accountability. This is something to think about for the next strategy.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><em>This is an edited version of a post that first appeared in June 2015 at “<a target="_blank" href="https://megontheinternet.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/unaids-human-rights-indicators-what-counts/">Meg Davis</a>”.</em></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"></span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/evaluation-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onMouseOver="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Evaluation_HR_Inset_2.png'" onMouseOut="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Evaluation_HR_Inset_1.png'"> <img src="http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Evaluation_HR_Inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Evaluation and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/emma-naughton-kevin-kelpin/when-evaluating-human-rights-progress-focus-also-on-jour">When evaluating human rights progress, focus also on the journey</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/joel-r-pruce/human-rights-are-revolutionary%E2%80%94in-principle-not-practice">Human rights are revolutionary—in principle not practice</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/vincent-ploton/human-rights-and-resultsbased-management-adopting-from-different-wor">Human rights and results-based management: adopting from a different world</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/brian-root/can-rights-organizations-use-lowburden-selfreflection-for-evaluation">Can rights organizations use low-burden self-reflection for evaluation?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-garc%C3%ADa-junco-machado/seguro-popular-mexico%E2%80%99s-progress-in-protecting-right-to-">Seguro Popular: Mexico’s progress in protecting the right to health</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dhananjayan-sriskandarajah-mandeep-tiwana/towards-multipolar-civil-society">Towards a multipolar civil society</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nafissatou-j-diop/eliminating-female-genital-mutilation-by-2030">Eliminating female genital mutilation by 2030</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/inga-winkler-virginia-roaf/for-sanitation-human-rights-are-key-to-keeping-governmen">For sanitation, human rights are key to keeping governments accountable</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/lucia-nader/firm-yet-flexible-keeping-human-rights-organisations-relevant">Firm yet flexible: keeping human rights organisations relevant</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Meg Davis Global Evaluation and Human Rights Mon, 27 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Meg Davis 94762 at https://opendemocracy.net The UN and children in armed conflict: playing politics? https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/charu-lata-hogg-veronica-yates/un-and-children-in-armed-conflict-playing-politics <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/SIT1QHgSafxCzxxEJPXbZK3h_r7FWh_rrwa_4Wri4RI/mtime:1437700553/files/Hogg.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>The Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on children in armed conflict is supposed to protect the most vulnerable, but some countries are effectively wielding political power to escape scrutiny.&nbsp;<span><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/charu-lata-hogg-veronica-yates/l%E2%80%99onu-et-les-enfants-dans-les-conflits-arm%C3%A9s-petites" target="_blank">Français</a>,&nbsp;</strong></em></span><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/charu-lata-hogg-veronica-yates/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D9%85%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D8%B7%D9%81%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%83%D9%88%D9%86-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%A9" target="_blank">العربية</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">This month marks a decade since the <a href="http://www.un.org/press/en/2005/sc8458.doc.htm" target="_blank">UN Security Council Resolution 1612</a> was passed unanimously, establishing a monitoring and reporting mechanism (MRM) to gather accurate, timely and objective information on <a href="https://childrenandarmedconflict.un.org/effects-of-conflict/six-grave-violations" target="_blank">six grave violations committed against children in armed conflict</a>. In recent years, however, there have been signs that political interests of powerful states are increasingly threatening the integrity of this mechanism. Parties to conflict, which should be monitored, named and held accountable for committing egregious violations against children, are being let off the hook. </p><p dir="ltr">Conversely, scrutiny on contexts that should be monitored is being prematurely lifted. At a time when a growing number of complex conflicts around the world are posing new challenges to child protection, this ten-year anniversary marks an important opportunity to <a href="http://child-soldiers.org/research_report_reader.php?id=846" target="_blank">look back at some achievements and identify impediments</a>. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The MRM is formally triggered in a conflict situation when one or several parties to that conflict are added to the “list of shame” in annexes to the UN Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict. In the past, only parties that recruited and used children were included in the annexes. Since 2009, other grave violations can “trigger” listing: killing and maiming, sexual violence, attacks on school and hospitals, and abduction of children.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Once established, the MRM has the mandate to monitor and report on all six grave violations, and on all parties to the conflict. Members of the UN Country Task Force for Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) and their technical working groups also coordinate advocacy and programmatic responses to the violations that they document. This is often done through the signature of Joint Action Plans between the UN and the party listed. These Action Plans are time bound and commit a “listed” party to a series of legal, policy and practical measures.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/SIT1QHgSafxCzxxEJPXbZK3h_r7FWh_rrwa_4Wri4RI/mtime:1437700553/files/Hogg.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/Eye Steel Film (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> A former child soldier in South Sudan. Impressment into military action and violence is a grave violation against children's human rights. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The mechanism stops after violations have ended and the Action Plan (if any) has been fully implemented. But monitoring is meant to continue for at least one year after the delisting of all parties, to ensure there are no renewed violations.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Undoubtedly, the MRM has proved to be far more than a tool to “name and shame” parties that violate children’s rights. It plays an important role in pushing for accountability of parties to a conflict and ensuring their compliance with international law and child protection standards. So far, the 20 Action Plans signed with parties in 13 different country situations </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://childrenandarmedconflict.un.org/press-release/secretary-generals-annual-report-on-children-and-armed-conflict-success-but-also-grave-danger-for-children-affected-by-new-and-ongoing-conflicts/" target="_blank">have resulted in the release of thousands of children from armed forces and groups</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Because countries affected by armed conflict face serious challenges in rule of law and justice, Action Plans have also triggered longer-term institutional reform in some contexts. These changes have been most notable in ensuring that laws criminalising violations against children, including on underage recruitment and use, are implemented. In some cases, practical barriers have been created, such as </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2015/336&amp;Lang=E&amp;Area=UNDOC" target="_blank">Child Protection Units</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in western Afghanistan that have rejected 418 underage applicants from joining the Afghan National Police and the Afghan Local Police since 2014.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The decision to “list “ or “delist” a party to the conflict is taken by the UN Secretary-General on the basis of recommendations by his Special Representative on children and armed conflict (SRSG), whose office coordinates all MRM information. Listing puts the country under scrutiny by the UN Security Council and opens up the possibility of punitive measures.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span class="mag-quote-left" style="line-height: 1.5;">Pressure exerted by states to influence the scope of the MRM is not only leaving certain situations ignored, it is also politicising the mechanism.&nbsp;</span>Unsurprisingly, governments are particularly wary about being listed in the annexes, or even being mentioned in the body of the Secretary-General’s annual reports. A small, but vocal, number of states consistently oppose listing, questioning the UN findings, arguing that the situation is not one of armed conflict, or that it is not formally on the agenda of the UN Security Council. Such pressure exerted by states to influence the scope of the MRM is not only leaving certain situations ignored, it is also politicising the mechanism.</p><p dir="ltr">This problem was recently illustrated by the decision of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon not to include the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Palestinian armed groups on his list after Israel and its allies exercised political pressure on his office. The decision was reportedly taken against the recommendation of the SRSG and despite UN-documented evidence of attacks on schools and hospitals, killing and maiming of children, and use of a child as a human shield by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge on Gaza in the summer of 2014. UN and NGO reports stating that Palestinian armed groups killed and maimed children, recruited and used children and used schools for military purposes were similarly disregarded. Arguably, criteria to determine which parties are recommended and included in the “list of shame” are not being applied consistently.</p><p dir="ltr">In other cases, governments have consistently blocked UN access to their country, or to certain areas of their country, to verify allegations of children’s rights violations. The government of Thailand, for example, has been <a href="http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/69/926&amp;Lang=E&amp;Area=UNDOC" target="_blank">criticised</a> by the UN Secretary-General for not allowing unimpeded access to UN agencies wanting to verify allegations of grave children's rights violations in the southern provinces. Yet, despite this consistent lack of cooperation, there is little that the UN has done to build pressure on the government of Thailand to comply. </p><p dir="ltr">The case of Chad also raises questions on whether delisting is a transparent process that verifies the implementation of all Action Plan commitments signed with the UN. After being delisted in 2014, the Chadian national army should have been monitored for at least another year. To remain off the list, parties must demonstrate their continued ability to comply with their Action Plan commitments and refrain from committing violations for which they were listed. Child Soldiers International recently expressed concerns about a number of recent examples of Chad’s non-compliance. However, in his <a href="http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/69/926&amp;Lang=E&amp;Area=UNDOC" target="_blank">2015 report</a> the UN Secretary-General determined that “the situation of Chad will be removed from the report as of 2016”, without any public assessment.</p><p dir="ltr">The perception of partiality can undermine the credibility of the mechanism. This comes with potentially significant political costs, as recently demonstrated by the number of governments criticising the <a href="http://www.un.org/press/en/2015/sc11932.doc.htm" target="_blank">failure</a> to list Palestinian armed groups and particularly the IDF in the UNSG’s 2015 report. Crucially, it can deprive children affected by armed conflict of vital interventions. However, the fact that some governments spend so much political capital to avoid landing on the list is a good indication of the potential of the MRM system to protect children in armed conflict. But the UN and other actors must resist political interferences by ensuring that those who are responsible for grave violations of children’s rights are brought to task. At its tenth anniversary, strengthening the MRM should be the top priority of the UN. Children’s lives depend on it.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/8sCympnF59rl9xrpf82NrL_5-imm9ykh-3B3GXxjnBo/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/4N8fiQPBJym-nxI7kqtmv16UaPlM74ci6ksJOeS88Fw/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="//www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img src="//www.opendemocracy.net/files/openPagesidebox.png " alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/mark-drumbl/ongwen-trial-at-icc-tough-questions-on-child-soldiers">The Ongwen trial at the ICC: tough questions on child soldiers</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/maina-kiai/un-forsakes-its-values-when-it-favors-%E2%80%98stability%E2%80%99-over-fundamental-right">UN forsakes its values when it favors ‘stability’ over fundamental rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/marc-limon-subhas-gujadhur/human-rights-council-at-10-too-much-talk-too-little-acti">The Human Rights Council at 10: too much talk, too little action? </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-kaner/death-penalty-is-commonwealth-problem">The death penalty is a Commonwealth problem</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights-blog/naseem-kourosh/time-for-us-to-reaffirm-its-commitment-to-children%E2%80%99s-rights">Time for the US to reaffirm its commitment to children’s rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/liam-mahony/improving-and-expanding-advocacy-efforts-on-ground-key-tasks-for-new-hi">Improving and expanding advocacy efforts on the ground: key tasks for new High Commissioner</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kenneth-roth-peggy-hicks/encouraging-stronger-engagement-by-emerging-powers-on-huma">Encouraging stronger engagement by emerging powers on human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/eric-posner/twilight-of-human-rights-law">The twilight of human rights law</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/beth-simmons/twilight-or-dark-glasses-reply-to-eric-posner">Twilight or dark glasses? A reply to Eric Posner</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/michael-o%E2%80%99flaherty/human-rights-law-makes-difference">Human rights law makes a difference</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/stephen-hopgood/human-rights-past-their-sell-by-date">Human rights: past their sell-by date</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jack-snyder/misunderstanding-mass-politics-of-rights-mission">Misunderstanding the mass politics of the rights mission</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Veronica Yates Charu Lata Hogg Global Fri, 24 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Veronica Yates and Charu Lata Hogg 94706 at https://opendemocracy.net The death penalty is a Commonwealth problem https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/david-kaner/death-penalty-is-commonwealth-problem <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/5000HzQpEZ74GL4_dJZ9r5X3LaerACm2CDZweSTSdiY/mtime:1437589192/files/Kaner1.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>The Commonwealth lags behind global trends on abolition, but taking an official stance against the death penalty would put it back on the international stage.&nbsp;<span><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/david-kaner/la-peine-de-mort-est-un-probl%C3%A8me-li%C3%A9-au-commonwealth" target="_blank">Français</a></strong></em></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Last year, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared: “The death penalty has no place in the 21st century.”</p><p dir="ltr">But it appears that many leaders of the 53 Commonwealth countries—who will gather in Malta for their biennial meeting in November—didn’t get that memo. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Nine of these leaders head governments that regularly execute their own citizens. Twenty-six more hail from states that are abolitionist “in practice” but retain capital punishment in their legal code. The organization’s most-populous countries—India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Bangladesh—have all hanged prisoners in the past three years.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Commonwealth consists largely of former colonies of the United Kingdom—a nation that, while expanding its empire across the globe, sanctioned hundreds of executions under the infamous “Bloody Code”. Yet, while the UK itself abolished capital punishment in the 1960s, the brutal legacy of imperial justice lives on in the legal systems of dozens of now-independent countries.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This group of states has lagged markedly behind global trends towards abolition of the death penalty. While 19 countries have barred capital punishment in the past decade, bringing the total number of abolitionist states to 103, only two were members of the Commonwealth. The share of fully abolitionist countries is nearly 45% lower within the Commonwealth than outside it.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Commonwealth Caribbean is particularly at odds with regional norms. Nearly two-thirds of the countries with death penalty laws in the Western Hemisphere are members of the Commonwealth.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The picture is not exactly encouraging elsewhere in the world. In Asia, not a single member state has abolished the death penalty. In Africa, the region with the highest number of Commonwealth countries, only a third have abolished it.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/5000HzQpEZ74GL4_dJZ9r5X3LaerACm2CDZweSTSdiY/mtime:1437589192/files/Kaner1.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Demotix/Tahir Iqbal (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Pakistanis protest the death penalty in Islamabad. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This year may prove to be the deadliest in recent memory. Last December, in the wake of the Peshawar school massacre, Pakistan partially lifted its moratorium on executions for terrorism charges; in March, the ban was ended entirely. The country has executed more than 100 individuals since December, making it one of the </span><a target="_blank" href="https://www.amnesty.org/press-releases/2015/04/pakistan-one-hundred-people-sent-to-the-gallows-since-death-penalty-moratorium-lifted" style="line-height: 1.5;">world’s most-frequent executioners</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In addition, the Maldives and Papua New Guinea, neither of which has executed a prisoner since the 1950s, have both taken legislative steps to resume hangings this year. The government of Trinidad and Tobago has also announced its desire to reintroduce executions.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But could there be a Commonwealth remedy to this disproportionately Commonwealth problem?</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Anti-death penalty activists should look to the continent hosting the Heads of Government Meeting this autumn for inspiration. Europe leads the world in abolitionism: of its 49 independent states, all but one has ended the use of capital punishment.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This remarkable accomplishment is due in part to a decades-long effort to make opposition to the death penalty a pan-European value—and to enshrine that commitment at the intergovernmental level. In 1983, the European Convention on Human Rights was amended with a protocol barring the death penalty </span><a target="_blank" href="http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/en/Treaties/Html/114.htm" style="line-height: 1.5;">except in wartime</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. In 1998 this prohibition was made total. Abolition of the death penalty is a prerequisite for membership in the Council of Europe, which led directly to the </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/hrpolicy/Others_issues/Death_Penalty/default_en.asp" style="line-height: 1.5;">moratorium on its use in Russia in 1996</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. Additionally, EU members are now legally bound by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">refrain from capital punishment</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">While Europe has led the way, intergovernmental efforts in other regions of the world have confirmed this growing global consensus. In the Americas, the </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.unog.ch/80256EDD006B9C2E/(httpNewsByYear_en)/B955182C2F9FE69CC1257DFE005F643F?OpenDocument" style="line-height: 1.5;">Inter-American Commission on Human Rights</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> has been a prominent pro-abolition voice, and was responsible for the removal of capital punishment from </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.ipsnews.net/2008/08/rights-argentina-last-vestiges-of-capital-punishment-abolished/" style="line-height: 1.5;">Argentina’s military code</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. In Africa, where the use of capital punishment has declined markedly in recent years, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights is slated to propose a protocol to the African Union’s primary human rights document, which would call for </span><a href="http://www.unog.ch/80256EDD006B9C2E/(httpNewsByYear_en)/B955182C2F9FE69CC1257DFE005F643F?OpenDocument" style="line-height: 1.5;">full abolition on the continent</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><span class="mag-quote-right">Few abuses strike at the core of 'the dignity of all human beings' and the 'universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated' human rights outlined in the Commonwealth Charter like capital punishment.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>Few abuses strike at the core of “the dignity of all human beings” and the “universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated” human rights outlined in the Commonwealth Charter like capital punishment. Moving towards an official Commonwealth stance against the death penalty would put it back in the vanguard of intergovernmental organizations and make it—for the first time in years—a bold, principled presence on the international stage.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This need not entail a demand for immediate abolition. Building on the approach of the UN General Assembly, the Commonwealth Secretary-General could instead encourage retentionist member states to take the intermediate steps of implementing a moratorium, reducing the number of offences eligible for death sentences and ensuring minimum due process in capital trials.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Commonwealth could also leverage its global platform and technical expertise in legal affairs and governance to help make abolition a norm for member states, much as it has done in recent decades for elections. In many countries, the death penalty debate suffers from a lack of information; in India, for instance, </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.deathpenaltyindia.com/" style="line-height: 1.5;">the first major national study of capital punishment</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> (which found extreme bias in the application of sentences) was only completed last year. The Commonwealth, in partnership with member states like the United Kingdom and New Zealand, that include abolition as a foreign policy goal, could provide both a forum and assistance for policymakers seeking justice system reform.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Finally, the organization needs to support and coordinate efforts among its most underutilized resource: civil society and professional organizations. The Commonwealth’s list of accredited organizations alone includes three broad-based human rights organizations, multiple NGO networks and associations of lawyers, magistrates, law reform agencies and legislative drafters.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">These groups (</span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.commonwealthlawyers.com/Deathpenalty.aspx" style="line-height: 1.5;">some of which are already engaged in anti-death penalty work</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">) would be natural partners in a pan-Commonwealth drive to end capital punishment. While the Commonwealth Secretariat often talks of a “Commonwealth Family”, it limits its own reach, capacity and relevance by—as CHRI finds in a forthcoming report for the Malta summit—failing to sufficiently engage the vibrant web of civil society actors in member states. This campaign would be an excellent opportunity to put its relationship with the “Commonwealth of the People” on a more productive footing.</span></p><p>Ultimately, the Commonwealth will not be the primary vehicle for anti-death penalty activism. This is a fight that will be fought and won at the domestic level. But as we’ve witnessed in Europe and in other regions, making capital punishment anathema at the intergovernmental level can have a profound effect. If the Commonwealth wants to be the values-driven organization it claims to be, one that earns the respect of citizens by standing for their human rights, it must work for a 21st century in which the death penalty truly has no place.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/8sCympnF59rl9xrpf82NrL_5-imm9ykh-3B3GXxjnBo/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/4N8fiQPBJym-nxI7kqtmv16UaPlM74ci6ksJOeS88Fw/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="//www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img src="//www.opendemocracy.net/files/openPagesidebox.png " alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/marc-limon-subhas-gujadhur/human-rights-council-at-10-too-much-talk-too-little-acti">The Human Rights Council at 10: too much talk, too little action? </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights-blog/v-nagaraj/social-justice-in-penal-state-%E2%80%93-can-human-rights-help">Social justice in the penal state – can human rights help?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/eric-posner/twilight-of-human-rights-law">The twilight of human rights law</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/doutje-lettinga/how-revolutionary-are-global-human-rights">How revolutionary are global human rights?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/in-uk-public-discourse-undermines-support-for-human-rights">In the UK, public discourse undermines support for human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/lucia-nader-akwasi-aidoo/africa%E2%80%99s-social-movements-present-opportunities-not-threat">Africa’s social movements present opportunities, not threats, for rights groups</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrightsopenpage/leilani-farha/cities-new-guardians-of-human-rights">Cities: the new guardians of human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights-blog/vijay-nagaraj/development-and-human-rights-%E2%80%93-plea-for-more-critical-embrace">Development and human rights – a plea for a more critical embrace</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/joel-r-pruce/human-rights-are-revolutionary%E2%80%94in-principle-not-practice">Human rights are revolutionary—in principle not practice</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/margot-salomon/human-rights-are-also-about-social-justice">Human rights are also about social justice</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights openGlobalRights-openpage David Kaner Global Eyeing the 2015 CHOGM Thu, 23 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 David Kaner 94214 at https://opendemocracy.net Can rights organizations use low-burden self-reflection for evaluation? https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/brian-root/can-rights-organizations-use-lowburden-selfreflection-for-evaluation <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/N6t1pW-DwGd44nols6s4Hj-V7Bp4-gw1nBz7LfcbOV4/mtime:1437454447/files/Root1.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Human Rights Watch generally avoids burdensome evaluations; instead, we’re looking for “light and agile” reflections on our work. A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate on&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/evaluation-and-human-rights">Evaluation and Human Rights.</a>&nbsp;<em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/brian-root/les-organisations-de-d%C3%A9fense-des-droits-peuventelles-se-livrer-%C3%A0-un-exer" target="_blank">Français</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/brian-root/%D9%87%D9%84-%D8%AA%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%B7%D9%8A%D8%B9-%D9%85%D9%86%D8%B8%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A5%D8%AC%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D8%B9%D9%85%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D9%82%D9%8A%D9%8A%D9%85-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AE%D9%84%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%87%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%A8%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%B7%D8%9F" target="_blank">العربية</a>,&nbsp;</strong></em><span><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/brian-root/%C2%BFpueden-las-organizaciones-de-derechos-humanos-usar-una-introspecci%C3%B3n-po" target="_blank">Español</a></strong></em></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Recently in openGlobalRights, Emma Naughton and Kevin Kelpin <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/emma-naughton-kevin-kelpin/when-evaluating-human-rights-progress-focus-also-on-jour" target="_blank">wrote</a> that human rights work does not easily lend itself to quantifiable, results-oriented evaluations. Their comments echo those of another expert who examined evaluation at Amnesty International and others in 2014, and also <a href="http://www.rhondaschlangen.com/portfolio/monitoring-and-evaluation-for-human-rights-organizations-three-case-studies" target="_blank">found</a> that linear evaluations are ill-suited to their work.</p><p dir="ltr">Complexity at all levels is perhaps the greatest challenge. Human rights issues and problems are multi-faceted with numerous stakeholders, causes, potential solutions and outcomes. Human rights groups have multiple partners and coalitions, and are concerned with multiple types of victims. We work with these actors and more to influence the behavior of multiple stakeholders, policymakers and perpetrators. How we conduct our work is intricate, with many different types and methods of research, communications products designed for multiple audiences, and multiple advocacy strategies and targets. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Organizational culture, resources and prioritization concerns, along with the case-specific nature of much of our work, are among the other challenges to implementing standardized impact evaluation strategies at HRW.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/N6t1pW-DwGd44nols6s4Hj-V7Bp4-gw1nBz7LfcbOV4/mtime:1437454447/files/Root1.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Shutterstock/iQoncept (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> "Useful evaluation is not simply filling in boxes next to the impact objectives in a logical framework. Learning comes from taking the time to reflect on how work was done, what actions were successful and why, and whether these steps could, and should, be replicated."</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Although there is real consensus throughout HRW that evaluation is important, and that we must do a better job with it, we have yet to hit upon feasible and effective solutions. Our geographic and thematic Programs and Divisions have a high degree of autonomy and do not share a common view, language or methodology for evaluation. We are still working towards finding evaluative processes that work more broadly. Given this, here are some important themes that guide our current thinking:</span></p><h2><span style="line-height: 1.5;">“Pathway”</span></h2><p dir="ltr">Naughton and Kelpin described a “pathway to change”, which mirrors how we think about impact. The path may begin simply with gaining attention for an issue and getting it on the agenda of actors, and leads, along a series of steps, towards an ultimate goal—changes in the human rights conditions facing people on the ground. Objectives along the path might include setting conditions for international aid, instigating changes in legislation or policy, helping local rights defenders—the list goes on. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Then there are the activities and successes that move us a step further along the path, such as scheduling advocacy meetings, getting op-eds published, attending hearings, securing official statements, and so on. The work that goes into research, communication and advocacy is indeed an impact in and of itself, and deserves to be documented. It can be a relief to accept this—what is important isn’t just whether we have stopped extra-judicial killings in X country, but whether we have been effective in moving towards that ultimate goal.</span></p><h2><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Quantification or proving causation</span></h2><p dir="ltr">The term “monitoring and evaluation” is deeply tied in people’s minds to the concepts of result-based management, randomized control trials, or expensive external consultants. Perhaps surprisingly, it can be difficult for people to conceive of a light, nimble and qualitative form of evaluation. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">And yet, qualitative documentation is precisely the type of evaluation that is most suitable for much of our work. Simply changing the tone and paradigm of what “evaluation” is has been important for myself and my colleagues. We do not need to prove causation when evaluating impact. We do not work in a bubble and we do not need to generate empirical evidence that x activity resulted in y output. We simply need to document what we know, which includes our own activities, what was occurring external of our activities, and how we pushed further along the path towards the goals we were trying to achieve.</span></p><h2><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Evaluation is about learning</span></h2><p dir="ltr"><span class="mag-quote-right">We are currently framing our evaluation discussions to be more about 'learning' and less about 'impact'.&nbsp;</span>There is a very real perception that monitoring and evaluation of a research project might be used as an evaluation of staff, and this has a chilling effect, especially when people fear resources are at stake. Getting staff buy-in is essential, and there are no easy solutions. We are currently framing our evaluation discussions to be more about “learning” and less about “impact”. Every program staff member at Human Rights Watch wants to be more effective in his or her work, so this is not a hard sell. Useful evaluation is not simply filling in boxes next to the impact objectives in a logical framework. Learning comes from taking the time to reflect on how work was done, what actions were successful and why, and whether these steps could, and should, be replicated. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">These reflections are already occurring daily at HRW. Our colleagues are consistently seeking avenues to better achieve higher and higher goals. We have insight into what we did, how it worked, and what we might have done differently. Our challenge is to get the most crucial pieces of information out of our heads and conversations and into a format that allows us to build institutional knowledge.</span></p><h2><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Simplify</span></h2><p dir="ltr">Complex and burdensome processes simply will not succeed for our organization. We are dispensing with the idea that evaluation necessitates some specific level of rigorous documentation. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Capturing some reflection is better than none. For the time being, we are trying to develop a method of learning and evaluation that is simple and has a low-resource burden, especially in terms of staff time. The idea is to document, in a light and agile way, the most important achievements and lessons. How do we turn short conversations into knowledge that is generalizable, accessible and useful? How do we do this consistently and in ways that do not distract from our substantive work?</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Rather than institute a mandatory process dictated by management, we are exploring ideas with enthusiastic staff. We seek to solidify a common language of impact and the “pathway to change”. We are attempting to develop tools to document reflective conversations in ways that will allow us to share relevant lessons with others. By simplifying the process of how we evaluate, we may be able to learn much more about how to succeed in our work.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/evaluation-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onMouseOver="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Evaluation_HR_Inset_2.png'" onMouseOut="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Evaluation_HR_Inset_1.png'"> <img src="http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Evaluation_HR_Inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Evaluation and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/emma-naughton-kevin-kelpin/when-evaluating-human-rights-progress-focus-also-on-jour">When evaluating human rights progress, focus also on the journey</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/carrie-oelberger/how-does-professionalization-impact-international-human-rights-org">How does professionalization impact international human rights organizations?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/vincent-ploton/human-rights-and-resultsbased-management-adopting-from-different-wor">Human rights and results-based management: adopting from a different world</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/annemeike-fechter/doityourselfaid-alternative-funding-sources-for-rights-work">Do-It-Yourself-Aid: alternative funding sources for rights work?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/datadriven-optimism-for-global-r">Data-driven optimism for global rights activists</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nicola-perugini-neve-gordon/human-rights-crisis-problem-of-perception">The human rights crisis: a problem of perception?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dhananjayan-sriskandarajah-mandeep-tiwana/towards-multipolar-civil-society">Towards a multipolar civil society</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/lucia-nader/firm-yet-flexible-keeping-human-rights-organisations-relevant">Firm yet flexible: keeping human rights organisations relevant</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/fateh-azzam/in-defense-of-professional-human-rights-organizations">In defense of &#039;professional&#039; human rights organizations</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-archana-pandya/universal-values-foreign-money-local-human-rights-organiza">Universal values, foreign money: local human rights organizations in the Global South</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Brian Root Global Funding for Human Rights Evaluation and Human Rights Wed, 22 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Brian Root 94211 at https://opendemocracy.net Improving family income does not ensure women’s economic empowerment https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/greta-friedemanns%C3%A1nchez/improving-family-income-does-not-ensure-women%E2%80%99s-economic-em <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/24WExdKKdsuikV6vlrfGXn0wCp0Zg4CfiqnTw7DEr48/mtime:1436335437/files/Sanchez.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Increasing family income does not necessarily increase women’s empowerment. A multi-sector multi-pronged approach is necessary. A contribution to the <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/debating-economic-and-social-rights" target="_blank">economic and social rights</a>.&nbsp;<span><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/greta-friedemanns%C3%A1nchez/mejorar-los-ingresos-familiares-no-garantiza-el-empoderamie" target="_blank">Español</a></strong></em></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">In a recent contribution to openGlobalRights, Barb MacLaren <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/barb-maclaren/to-empower-women-prioritize-their-social-and-economic-rights" target="_blank">argues</a> for advancing women’s economic and social rights, focusing her point specifically on employment and household income. She depicts education and health as ancillary to supporting income and employment, but not as a right in themselves or for the improvement of women’s capabilities. Unfortunately, her arguments overlook 30 years of research on gender inequality and the power dynamics inside households. She also replicates some of the shortcomings of the earlier WID (Women in Development) movement that ignored the interconnections between employment, income generation via agriculture, land ownership, the care of persons done on an unpaid basis by women, violence against women and the role of gendered social norms. MacLaren also reproduces <a href="https://www.ids.ac.uk/files/dmfile/Wp411.pdf" target="_blank">the common neglect of unpaid care in programming design in development agencies</a>, and the lack of gender mainstreaming in development approaches and debates. Lastly, although she mentions Colombia’s legislation addressing violence against women and on women’s human rights, she skips over it.</p><p dir="ltr">In the 1950s and 1960s, experts pretended that their development policies were gender neutral. They perceived women as reproducers, consumers and passive recipients of policy programs, but they saw men as productive workers and therefore agents of change. The 1970s Women in Development (WID) movement sought to change that by highlighting women’s active participation in the economy, especially their role in agricultural production. They tried to change how the development community engaged with women and to make them see women as productive agents in the monetised economy. However, the movement paid little attention to the role women played in unpaid productive roles—what would today be called unpaid labour and the care economy. WID also glossed over how women’s lack of access to economic resources, justice, education and health, along with the violence they suffered, allowed gender inequalities to persist. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><span class="mag-quote-left" style="line-height: 1.5;">Income and employment are but a few of the factors at play in women’s human development and wellbeing.&nbsp;</span>Out of this realisation emerged the Gender and Development (GAD) movement in the mid-1980s. GAD studies the economic, social and political structures that create gender inequality. It questions not only the asymmetry in power, but also in decision-making between men and women. GAD highlights how social norms on male and female roles influence the distribution of paid and unpaid labour, caring labour, income, assets, political participation, natural resource allocation and violence. In short, while WID assumed that the economic advancement of women would improve their status, GAD understands that income and employment are but a few of the factors at play in women’s human development and wellbeing. The factors at play have also come to be seen as women’s human rights. &nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">McLaren argues that women’s participation in the rural wage market is held back by the small holder family farm; therefore, supporting women’s economic empowerment can only be done by supporting family incomes in the aggregate. This assumes that families behave as cohesive units and that benefits are shared equally among family members. But women’s poverty and inequality relative to men’s is not only generated through the capitalist economy, but also through the dynamics and logistics of family life and patriarchy. The difference in power between men and women in a family affect each person’s choices and behaviour differently. As a consequence, resources and opportunities are unevenly distributed among family members.</span></p><p dir="ltr">To argue that women’s economic empowerment will come by improving total family income disregards not only decades of evidence to the contrary, but the gendered social norms reflected even in small coffee production, household decision-making and the division of paid and unpaid labour, and care activities between women and men, girls and boys. A few answers are in order. What percentage of women work without pay in family farms? Do women control a portion of the income once the coffee is sold? How do landless female day-labourers coordinate paid labour with care and domestic activities?</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/24WExdKKdsuikV6vlrfGXn0wCp0Zg4CfiqnTw7DEr48/mtime:1436335437/files/Sanchez.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/Juan Alvarez (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> A rural Colombian women teaches her son to read. The perceived feminine responsibilities of child-rearing, housekeeping, and providing seasonal agricultural labor are important considerations when discussing women's economic empowerment. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">More importantly, development programmes should not aim to increase the income of rural Colombian women so that they can pay for day care, as MacLaren suggests, since this would further reinforce the patriarchal assignment of care only to women. Instead, it should strive to find ways to involve men in care, to distribute care more evenly among men and women, and to make care visible and valued by men and boys, the community and the nation. All of this should be utilized to bolster local, national and instrumental and financial support for care. Agriculture extension personnel and planners need to realise that women miss trainings not because they merge their welfare with that of their children, as McLaren argues, but because rigid gendered social norms designate the care of children, housework and meal preparation to women and girls and they simply have no one else to take care of the tasks. Women are as poor of time as they are of money, and poorer on both fronts than men.</p><p dir="ltr">As important as income and employment are for wellbeing and capabilities, even in the best of cases, Colombian women are up against a patriarchal culture changing at glacial pace. Global capitalism, however, is moving at light speed. An emerging paradox for Colombia and other Latin American countries is women’s increased risk of being battered by their partners when <a href="http://sf.oxfordjournals.org/content/91/2/663" target="_blank">employed</a> and earning income. It appears that men use violence—physical, psychological and financial—to affirm masculine authority, and when they feel their role and identity as breadwinners is <a href="http://archivo.cepal.org/pdfs/NotasPoblacion/NP87Castro.pdf" target="_blank">threatened</a>.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Colombia’s 2012 National Policy on Gender Equity, and the 2008 legislation addressing all forms of violence against women, mentioned in the article but not discussed, are remarkable in their multidisciplinary, multi-sector approach toward addressing gender inequality. Women’s rights are raison d’etre of the policy and legislation, not “growth” and “efficiency”. They are also remarkable in recognising that violence against women inside and outside of the home is structural and affects where, how much, and how far women work for pay, if at all. Considering that the life-time prevalence of physical abuse by an intimate partner in Colombia is </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://sf.oxfordjournals.org/content/91/2/663" target="_blank">40% (22% for the past 12 months</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">), Colombia’s laws, while insufficient, are a necessary first step and are important to improve the status of women in Colombia.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Local, national and international programs that take a multi-pronged approach—positioning employment, health, education, care and violence on the same plain, and as equally necessary and interrelated—are indispensable if we want to empower women. Policies that address care and violence cannot be satellite to employment policies, and women’s needs cannot be subsumed under those of their families.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/debating-economic-and-social-rights" target="_blank" onMouseOver="document.Imgs.src=' https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Economic_Social_Inset_2.png '" onMouseOut="document.Imgs.src=' https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Economic_Social_Inset_1.png '"> <img src=" https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Economic_Social_Inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Debating economic and social rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/barb-maclaren/to-empower-women-prioritize-their-social-and-economic-rights">To empower women, prioritize their social and economic rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights-blog/radhika-balakrishnan-and-ignacio-saiz/transforming-development-agenda-requires">Transforming the development agenda requires more, not less, attention to human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dimitrina-petrova/nationality-laws-%E2%80%93-new-battleground-for-women%E2%80%99s-equality">Nationality laws – a new battleground for women’s equality</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/angelika-arutyunova/from-aid-to-investment-funding-womens-rights-groups">From aid to investment: funding women&#039;s rights groups</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jean-h-quataert/making-womens-rights-human-rights">Making women&#039;s rights human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/moiyattu-banya/human-rights-for-whom-closer-look-at-elitism-and-women%E2%80%99s-rights-in-a">Human rights for whom? A closer look at elitism and women’s rights in Africa</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/marsha-afreeman/leaving-struggle-for-women%E2%80%99s-rights-out-of-your-account">Leaving the struggle for women’s rights out of your account</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights-blog/rachel-kurian/one-step-forward-two-back-dalit-women%E2%80%99s-rights-under-economic-gl">One step forward, two back? Dalit women’s rights under economic globalisation </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/helena-hofbauer/winners-and-losers-how-budgeting-for-human-rights-can-help-poor">Winners and losers: how budgeting for human rights can help the poor</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/stuart-wilson/without-means-there-are-no-real-rights">Without means, there are no real rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/virginia-mantouvalou/workers%E2%80%99-rights-really-are-human-rights">Workers’ rights really are human rights</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Greta Friedemann-Sánchez Central and South America, & the Caribbean Global Debating economic and social rights Tue, 21 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Greta Friedemann-Sánchez 94209 at https://opendemocracy.net Can we really eliminate FGM in Egypt by 2030? https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/amel-fahmy/can-we-really-eliminate-fgm-in-egypt-by-2030 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/IgKcsNmFaCAt-_sWkMl-tWZO1m1MpLPLeCV0nKmG9yU/mtime:1437335334/files/FahmyJuly2015.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Without a full exploration of the relationship between sexual norms and FGM in Egypt, it will be difficult—if not impossible—to eliminate the practice. <em><strong>&nbsp;<span><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/amel-fahmy/pouvonsnous-r%C3%A9ellement-%C3%A9liminer-les-mgf-en-%C3%A9gypte-d%E2%80%99ici-2030" target="_blank">Français</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/amel-fahmy/%D9%87%D9%84-%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%83%D9%86%D9%86%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D8%B9%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D8%B6%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89-%D9%85%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%B3%D8%A9-%D8%AE%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%AB-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D9%85%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D8%A8%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%88%D9%84-%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%85-2030%D8%9F" target="_blank">العربية</a></span></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Despite the popular euphemism “female circumcision”, female genital mutilation (FGM) is widely acknowledged as being an extremely harmful—and sometimes life threatening—practice. But because of social, cultural and religious reasons, the challenges to ending this custom are significant. According to WHO and UNICEF respectively, around 125 million girls worldwide have undergone the practice, with an estimated 30 million girls at risk of FGM in the next decade. </p><p dir="ltr">Currently, the proposed new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a target focusing on the total elimination of FGM by 2030. Many agencies see this as an achievable target given the growing knowledge of best practices and effective versus non-effective strategies. A <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/nafissatou-j-diop/eliminating-female-genital-mutilation-by-2030" target="_blank">recent article</a> on openGlobalRights pointed to several key strategies, including building civil society support, enforcing anti-FGM legislation, involving health workers, and more, that if implemented, could make the goal attainable. However, most of the efforts in Egypt over the period of the last 20 years have used these strategies, but with rather modest results. </p><p dir="ltr">Advocacy to end FGM in Egypt started early in the 1970s and were intensified after the UN’s International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1996. In the beginning, most of these activities addressed FGM from a health perspective rather than a rights perspective. This resulted in a medicalization of the practice, but not a decrease in its prevalence. Currently, medical doctors perform more than 70% of FGM cases in Egypt (despite it being illegal). </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Anti-FGM activities received more visibility and funding in Egypt when FGM became a priority issue on the agenda of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM). In 2003, a joint partnership between NCCM, national NGOs, different UN agencies and other donors was established with the objective of ending FGM in Egypt. As a result, a national program entitled “FGM-Free Village Model” was designed to empower girls and families to make informed decisions against FGM. The program was implemented in 60 villages in six governorates in the first phase of implementation, and was increased to 120 villages in the second phase to cover 20 out of 27 governorates.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/IgKcsNmFaCAt-_sWkMl-tWZO1m1MpLPLeCV0nKmG9yU/mtime:1437335334/files/FahmyJuly2015.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/Colin Manuel (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> A girl in rural Egypt goes to retrieve water.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Another nationwide program, “the UNFPA-UNICEF joint program on FGM”, was launched in 2008 and ran extensively for seven years promoting strategic approaches to end FGM. At the policy level, the Egyptian Ministry of Health in 2007 issued a ministerial decree banning health professionals from performing FGM. This was followed in 2008 by changes in the penal code to criminalize FGM. Furthermore, Dar al-Iftaa, the official entity issuing religious opinions, ruled that the practice is “un-Islamic”.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span class="mag-quote-right" style="line-height: 1.5;">The prevalence of the practice is simply not dropping fast enough.&nbsp;</span>Yet, these programs have had a limited impact. Recent data released by the Egyptian Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS 2014) in May 2015, as well as data from the June 2015 Young People Survey in Egypt (SYPE), do not support the claim that FGM can be eliminated by 2030. The prevalence of the practice is simply not dropping fast enough.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In 2014, the EDHS data reported the prevalence of FGM among ever-married women between the ages 15-45 to be 92.3% with a drop of 4.7% over the past 20 years. The percentage of daughters aged 0-19 reported by their mother to be currently circumcised was 21.4% in 2014, dropping 6% over a period of ten years. Furthermore, 34.9 % of mothers intended to circumcise their girls in the future; dropping only 2.7% over a period of 20 years. The 2014 SYPE reported that 77.9% of youth between the ages of 15-29 reported themselves to be circumcised, dropping 7% over a period of five years. &nbsp;An alarming finding in the 2014 SYPE was that 70.7% of young female and 68.6 % of young male respondents intended to circumcise their future daughter(s).</span></p><p dir="ltr">Most of the programs on FGM during the past 12 years have been led by the government, and with two main messages: FGM is not part of the Islamic or Christian religious teachings; and FGM has negative health consequences. Most of these programs avoid addressing the issue from the perspective of women’s sexual rights and freedoms. Yet, without a full exploration of the relationship between sexual norms and FGM in Egypt, it will be difficult—if not impossible—to totally eliminate the practice. Female genital mutilation is a form of violence against women. It is used to exercise control over women’s bodies and maintain the current patriarchal system. The reasons for the continuation of FGM might be interpreted as cultural, social or even religious but, at the core of the matter, it is fundamentally an issue of control. Women’s sexuality is perceived as something that needs to be guided and restrained for the sake of society, and the belief in this practice is so entrenched, that even criminalizing it doesn’t seem to be a deterrent to future generations.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Although many studies point at women as the main decision makers when it comes to FGM, the few studies that investigated the role of men found that men’s perceptions of their roles within the family are strongly linked to the continuance of FGM. A </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.researchgate.net/publication/273440839_Men%27s_Perspectives_on_the_Relationship_Between_Sexuality_and_Female_Genital_Mutilation_in_Egypt" target="_blank">study conducted</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in 2010 in Egypt revealed that men stressed the concept of “quama” in Arabic, which can be translated as “responsibility”, “superiority” and “protection”. Men feel responsible for protecting their daughters and wives, and FGM is seen as an important aid in this role. The majority of men interviewed in this study believed that uncut women are “oversexed” and sexually demanding, which they believe can lead to extra-marital relationships.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Programs and community interventions need to work on breaking this perception and changing the strong association between norms of masculinity, power, sexual control and FGM. In this regard, men must be a primary target group in any activities undertaken. Even though women may support FGM, it is really the opinion of men and their position of power that perpetuate it. Younger generations of men will repeat what their fathers have done, unless the root of this issue is addressed in advocacy programs. Until the problem is approached from this angle, we will never see the end of this damaging practice.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="//www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img src="//www.opendemocracy.net/files/openPagesidebox.png " alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nafissatou-j-diop/eliminating-female-genital-mutilation-by-2030">Eliminating female genital mutilation by 2030</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dimitrina-petrova/nationality-laws-%E2%80%93-new-battleground-for-women%E2%80%99s-equality">Nationality laws – a new battleground for women’s equality</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrightsopenpage/amel-fahmy/tackling-egypt%E2%80%99s-genderbased-violence-with-crowdsourcing">Tackling Egypt’s gender-based violence with crowdsourcing</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights-blog/naseem-kourosh/time-for-us-to-reaffirm-its-commitment-to-children%E2%80%99s-rights">Time for the US to reaffirm its commitment to children’s rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights-blog/rachel-kurian/one-step-forward-two-back-dalit-women%E2%80%99s-rights-under-economic-gl">One step forward, two back? Dalit women’s rights under economic globalisation </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/karoline-kamel/incorporating-religion-into-human-rights-bad-idea-for-egypt">Incorporating religion into human rights: a bad idea for Egypt</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jack-snyder/in-egypt-human-rights-need-religion">In Egypt, human rights need religion</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/emma-naughton-kevin-kelpin/when-evaluating-human-rights-progress-focus-also-on-jour">When evaluating human rights progress, focus also on the journey</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meriem-el-haitami-shannon-golden-james-ron/partners-in-prayer-women%27s-rights-and-re">Partners in prayer: women&#039;s rights and religion in Morocco</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/greta-friedemanns%C3%A1nchez/improving-family-income-does-not-ensure-women%E2%80%99s-economic-em">Improving family income does not ensure women’s economic empowerment</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights openGlobalRights-openpage Amel Fahmy Middle East & North Africa Mon, 20 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Amel Fahmy 94208 at https://opendemocracy.net Climate change poses an existential threat to human rights https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/stephen-humphreys/climate-change-highlights-fragility-of-human-rights-norms <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/mEwdNQOodWbVMkjlR8Cm4WQz79w7pH2qkb009uKIBd8/mtime:1436303406/files/Humphrey.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>It’s obvious climate change is a human rights issue. Less obvious is that saying so doesn’t necessarily help much, and indeed exposes the limitations of rights advocacy in achieving systemic economic reform.&nbsp;<span><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/stephen-humphreys/el-cambio-clim%C3%A1tico-pone-de-relieve-la-fragilidad-de-las-normas-d" target="_blank">Español</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/stephen-humphreys/le-changement-climatique-souligne-la-fragilit%C3%A9-des-normes-relativ" target="_blank">Français</a>,&nbsp;</strong></em></span><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/stephen-humphreys/%D8%AA%D8%BA%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%AE-%D9%8A%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%B2-%D9%85%D8%AF%D9%89-%D8%B6%D8%B9%D9%81-%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%8A%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86" target="_blank">العربية</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">To grasp the immense human rights implications of climate change, read the series of reports produced by the Potsdam Institute, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/climatechange/publication/turn-down-the-heat">Turn Down the Heat</a>. Starting from the observation that, unless something extraordinary happens very soon, global average temperatures are likely to rise 4°C above preindustrial levels before 2100—well above the international target of 2°C—the reports document the ensuing carnage. These reports, like most climate change studies, do not refer to ‘human rights’ by name. But the story they tell is one of phenomenal hardship. Extreme heat waves (think Russia 2010) would become “the new normal summer”. In the tropics, the heat will be beyond “the historical range of temperature and extremes to which human and natural ecosystems have adapted and coped”. Indeed at a 4°C increase, say the authors, life in the tropics will cease to be liveable. </p><p dir="ltr">Rearticulated in human rights terms, the reports detail risks to: the right to food (productivity plummeting, export incomes hit, sudden price shocks); to health (vastly increased mortality, malnutrition, diarrheal diseases, and raging vector diseases—dengue, Chikungunya and malaria); to water (in the Middle East “the increase in demand for irrigation water will be difficult to meet due to the simultaneous decrease in water availability”); to work (“heat stress levels can approach the physiological limits of people working outdoors and severely undermine regional labor productivity”); to housing (“informal settlements on flood plains and steep hillsides … have been severely affected by floods and landslides in recent years”); to life. The poor are most vulnerable, and their numbers will grow: “shocks and stresses related to climate change can undermine poverty reduction and push new groups into poverty.”</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Over the last ten years or so, human rights groups, activists and scholars have plunged into climate change politics. We know a lot about the human rights dimensions of climate change today, but it is still unclear what, if anything, human rights law has to offer.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"></span><span class="mag-quote-right" style="line-height: 1.5;">The overwhelming majority of climate victims will be—indeed, already are—found in countries that have contributed relatively little to the problem.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">There may be a residual role for strategic litigation where climate victims are found in high-emitting countries with strong judicial systems. For example, human rights formed part of the argument, if not the judgement, of the recently successful </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.urgenda.nl/en/climate-case/" style="line-height: 1.5;">Urgenda case</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in the Netherlands. But there is little in the history of rights litigation that would give great cause for hope, even in these scenarios, given the political and scientific complexities. More to the point, the overwhelming majority of climate victims will be—indeed, already are—found in countries that have contributed relatively little to the problem. Courts there will not have authority to source compensation from where it's properly owed, much less to require major carbon emitters to desist.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Human rights activism has therefore sought other entry points to confront climate change. We hear a lot about the right to information on environmental impacts (as guaranteed in the </span><a target="_blank" href="http://ec.europa.eu/environment/aarhus/" style="line-height: 1.5;">Aarhus Convention</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">), and </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.un-redd.org/Launch_of_FPIC_Guidlines/tabid/105976/Default.aspx" style="line-height: 1.5;">some references to indigenous rights in the context of REDD+</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> (a program to reduce emissions by paying to keep developing country forests intact). &nbsp;We have seen the United Nations human rights machinery swing into action. Climate change is increasingly </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15528&amp;LangID=E" style="line-height: 1.5;">raised within the Universal Periodic Review</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> (UPR), numerous </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15393&amp;LangID=E" style="line-height: 1.5;">Special Procedures are paying attention</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, there is a brand new </span><a target="_blank" href="http://srenvironment.org/" style="line-height: 1.5;">Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, and even the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESC) </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.ciel.org/Publications/CESCR_CC_03May10.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">is apprised</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> of the issue. Inevitably, there is a concerted push to </span><a target="_blank" href="http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2010/cop16/eng/07a01.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">get ‘human rights language’</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> into the next climate treaty to be agreed at Paris in December.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This is all to the good, no doubt, but it does feel like tinkering around the edges. Human rights law has apparently little or nothing to say about the key problem facing climate change action: how are we going to bring carbon emissions down, dramatically and urgently, at a rate that will take us off the 4° path? States are not going to adopt binding emission reduction targets, potentially tanking their economies, merely in order to satisfy their peers at the UPR, scholars on the CESC or the various Special Procedures. They are not going to rein in the fossil fuel industries because of human rights language in the Paris agreement. A focus on indigenous rights may make the REDD+ programme more human rights friendly—but it says nothing about whether monetising forests is a good idea in itself.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/mEwdNQOodWbVMkjlR8Cm4WQz79w7pH2qkb009uKIBd8/mtime:1436303406/files/Humphrey.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Shutterstock/iurii (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> In order to keep more oil in the ground, as we must, concrete drastic action is needed: banning it; phasing it out; putting a moratorium on exploration; fining overproduction; criminalizing it.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">And what about fossil fuels? Some recent headlines: </span><a target="_blank" href="http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/04/07/saudi-oil-record-idUKL2N0X426Q20150407" style="line-height: 1.5;">Saudi Arabia’s oil output has just reached record highs</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, Shell has been </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/12/us/white-house-gives-conditional-approval-for-shell-to-drill-in-arctic.html" style="line-height: 1.5;">given the go-ahead</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> to drill in Alaskan offshore waters, </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/lamborghini-will-build-the-suv-official-announcement-2015-05-27" style="line-height: 1.5;">Lamborghini are designing a new SUV</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> to come out in 2018; and </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/416a0402-1a7f-11e5-a130-2e7db721f996.html" style="line-height: 1.5;">Iran is in talks with Shell and Eni to double its oil production by 2020</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. Oil production continues to increase year on year (</span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.iea.org/aboutus/faqs/oil/" style="line-height: 1.5;">93m barrels a day to date in 2015</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, up from 91.5m in 2014); proven reserves stand at an all time high (</span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/about-bp/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy/review-by-energy-type/oil/oil-reserves.html" style="line-height: 1.5;">1,700 billion barrels, according to BP</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">); and despite all this, we are supposed to be pleased when </span><a target="_blank" href="http://newsroom.unfccc.int/unfccc-newsroom/major-oil-companies-letter-to-un/" style="line-height: 1.5;">six oil giants offer to “contribute” to the design of a carbon pricing tool</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Today’s proven oil reserves, if burned, would put us far beyond a 4° world. They would shoot an extra 3,000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide into the sky, when the best estimates say </span><a target="_blank" href="http://gdrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/National-fair-shares.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">anything beyond 500Gt puts the 2° target out of reach</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. This is why Nicholas Stern, the British economist, refers to the $3 trillion invested in these reserves as “</span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.carbontracker.org/report/wasted-capital-and-stranded-assets/" style="line-height: 1.5;">stranded assets</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">”. Perhaps he’s right – but the market clearly doesn’t think so.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In order to keep 80% or more of this oil in the ground, as we must, concrete drastic action is needed: banning it; phasing it out; putting a moratorium on exploration; fining overproduction; criminalizing it. We would also need to be injecting massive public funding into renewable energy R&amp;D and into transferring technology to developing countries. Figuring out how to do this, under conditions of softly-softly neoliberalism and austerity, has become the core challenge of climate change.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Of course we might recast all these concerns too as human rights issues—but, if we want actual change, rather than, say, social media applause, why would we? The irony is that, faced with an extraordinary, indeed existential, threat to the fulfilment of supposed “internationally protected” human rights, on a global scale, human rights law and lawyers—and the human rights movement as a whole—</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">has little useful to say and no obvious role to play.</span></span></p><p>I hope I am wrong.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="//www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img src="//www.opendemocracy.net/files/openPagesidebox.png " alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights-blog/usha-natarajan/human-rights-%E2%80%93-help-or-hindrance-to-combatting-climate-change">Human rights – help or hindrance to combatting climate change?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/john-knox/greening-human-rights">Greening human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrightsopenpage/asuncion-lera-st-clair/corporate-concern-for-human-rights-essential-to-tack">Corporate concern for human rights essential to tackle climate change</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/praful-bidwai/modi-government-cracks-down-on-green-ngos">Modi government cracks down on green NGOs</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrightsopenpage/c%C3%A9sar-rodr%C3%ADguezgaravito/decline-of-grand-treaties-thoughts-after-lima-clima">The decline of grand treaties? Thoughts after the Lima climate summit</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/steven-m-wise/struggle-for-nonhuman-rights">The struggle for nonhuman rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/naomi-hossain/why-food-riots-work-in-21st-century">Why food riots work in the 21st century</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/who_gains_from_global_warming">Who gains from global warming?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/globalization-climate_change_debate/politics_4486.jsp">A politics of global warming: the social-science resource</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jose-manuel-barreto/can-we-decolonise-human-rights">Can we decolonise human rights?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights openGlobalRights-openpage Stephen Humphreys Global Thu, 16 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Stephen Humphreys 94202 at https://opendemocracy.net Crushing dissent: NGOs under threat in India https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/seema-guha/crushing-dissent-ngos-under-threat-in-india <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/49kqYxMFwdI69fRb0jnXp_sg_qjHCf1yvHAIhWoJI1U/mtime:1436300008/files/GuhaJuly15.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Can NGOs and India’s political opposition stop Modi’s civil society clampdown? A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate, <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/funding-for-human-rights" target="_blank">Funding for Human Rights</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India have been put on notice. By recently <a href="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/asia/article4464038.ece" target="_blank">denying entry to Greenpeace</a> and <a href="https://nonprofitquarterly.org/policysocial-context/26029-india-puts-ford-foundation-on-notice.html" target="_blank">placing the Ford Foundation on its watch list</a>, the Modi government has sent a clear message to all NGOs: be very, very careful. “The target is not just Greenpeace,” says Anil Chaudhuri, coordinator of Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), “but also the thousands of smaller NGOs working with communities in tribal areas&nbsp;and forests.” </p><p dir="ltr">The effect has been profound. Locating the offices of smaller Indian NGOs is becoming more difficult as many remove their signage. “We don’t want to draw attention, as [we] never know when a policeman or … official [will] come and trouble us,’’ said the director of a small NGO in North Bengal that works closely with the police to rescue young girls from traffickers. His is not a foreign funded outfit, but the fear of being targeted has permeated the entire Indian NGO community.</p><p dir="ltr">Of course, neither the Ford Foundation nor Greenpeace will really be affected; they are too large and established. Instead, those feeling the most impact will be the smaller outfits who cannot defend themselves and can’t work without outside help. According to <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/lenin-raghuvanshi/in-india-pervasive-paranoia-blocks-progress-on-human-rights" target="_blank">Lenin Raghuvanshi</a>, founder and director of the Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) in Uttar Pradash, many smaller groups will shut down without foreign aid. Those most at risk are working against discrimination, a topic India’s upper castes typically refuse to support.</p><p dir="ltr">What is driving India’s civil society clampdown? Prime Minister Modi swept to power in May 2014 on an economic development platform, promising acche din (better days) for all Indians. He was massively funded by a corporate India tired of the previous government’s economic non-performance. With unwavering faith in Modi, Indian industry is looking to smooth the way towards land acquisition and subsoil mineral access, both of which are often found in tribal areas across the country.</p><p dir="ltr">Modi has travelled widely, exhorting foreign businessmen to “make in India” and turn the country into a manufacturing hub. Clearly, he ignores <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/medha-patkar/pure-hypocrisy-india%E2%80%99s-fear-of-foreign-funding-for-ngos" target="_blank">the hypocrisy of courting foreign investment</a> while restricting NGOs from doing the same. Still, <a href="http://www.tradingeconomics.com/india/foreign-direct-investment" target="_blank">foreign direct investment (FDI) has not increased significantly</a>, and overseas businesses say there is still no sign that doing business in India is getting much easier. Modi’s National Democratic Alliance knows that unless it creates sufficient jobs, its popularity will suffer, and so the government sees NGOs, especially those in the environmental sector, as an impediment to growth.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/49kqYxMFwdI69fRb0jnXp_sg_qjHCf1yvHAIhWoJI1U/mtime:1436300008/files/GuhaJuly15.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Demotix/Nishant Ratnakar (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> An Indian NGO highlights the environmental consequences of a commuter rail line project in Bangalore by holding a funeral for felled trees in the train's path. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">“This government…is driven by corporate interests and feels NGOs are against development,” explains NGO leader Raghuanshi. He rejects the claim, however; “We want development,” he says, “but not at the cost of marginalised communities or …the environment.” </p><p dir="ltr"><span class="mag-quote-left" style="line-height: 1.5;">'We want development, but not at the cost of marginalised communities or …the environment.' &nbsp;</span>Indian officials are also pursuing action against activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband, Javed Anand, both civil rights activists and journalists in charge of <a href="http://www.sabrang.com/" target="_blank">Sabrang Communications</a>, a group dedicated to fighting India’s societal divisions. Sabrang publishes a monthly magazine, Communalism Combat, and runs a program called Khoj, which teaches tolerance and secular values to Mumbai school children. Setalvad and Anand are also trustees of <a href="http://www.cjponline.org/" target="_blank">Citizens for Justice and Peace</a> (CJP), a group that offers free legal aid and is currently a co-petitioner seeking criminal charges against Modi and 62 other government officials for their involvement in the Gujarat violence of 2002. </p><p dir="ltr">In 2006, Ford Foundation gave $200,000 to Sabrang, and NGOs speculate that the government has targeted the New York-based donor because of this grant. Since 2010, the police have repeatedly charged Sabrang director Teesta Setalvad with all manner of legal violations. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Attacks on environmental NGOs are not entirely new, however. Prior to Modi’s election, the Congress-led government had a similar mind-set, especially when dealing with anti-nuclear activists. In fact, it was Congress that created the first laws restricting foreign donations to local NGOs in 1976, and Congress once again tightened that law in 2010. Over the years, all manner of governments have used these laws to harass local non-profits.</span></p><p dir="ltr">The government often catches NGOs out because many do not have the proper training or knowledge to fill out legal forms or file paperwork. As a result, official investigations typically do reveal violations. </p><p dir="ltr">And yet, former Congress leader Sonia Gandhi launched her government in 2004 by packing her National Advisory Council with NGO representatives. In fact, her son and Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi met representatives of several NGOs this week, including Greenpeace activist Priya Pillai. Now that Rahul has declared his support for India’s NGOs, the Congress party is likely to challenge the Modi government. “This kind of crackdown on NGOs is neither acceptable in our democratic society, nor appropriate or healthy for democracy,” says Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjawala.</p><p dir="ltr">If India’s NGOs unite against official harassment, and if Congress parliamentarians lend their support, Modi’s government may find it increasingly hard to crush dissenting voices.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/funding-for-human-rights" target="_blank" onMouseOver="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Funding_Inset_2.png'" onMouseOut="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Funding_Inset_1.png'"> <img src="http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Funding_Inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Funding for human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/medha-patkar/pure-hypocrisy-india%E2%80%99s-fear-of-foreign-funding-for-ngos">Pure hypocrisy: India’s fear of foreign funding for NGOs</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/praful-bidwai/modi-government-cracks-down-on-green-ngos">Modi government cracks down on green NGOs</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/lenin-raghuvanshi/in-india-pervasive-paranoia-blocks-progress-on-human-rights">In India, a pervasive paranoia blocks progress on human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-archana-pandya/universal-values-foreign-money-local-human-rights-organiza">Universal values, foreign money: local human rights organizations in the Global South</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-wahl/whats-funder-to-do">What&#039;s a funder to do?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/g-ananthapadmanabhan/going-local-0">Going local</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/mubin-s-khan/government-repression-and-bureaucratic-hoops-spell-gloom-for-rights-gr">Government repression and bureaucratic hoops spell gloom for rights groups in Bangladesh</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/saskia-brechenmacher-thomas-carothers/in-for-bumpy-ride-international-aid-and-closi">In for a bumpy ride: international aid and the closing space for domestic NGOs </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/ajaz-ashraf/to-raise-funds-indian-rights-groups-must-emulate-country%E2%80%99s-newest-polit">To raise funds, Indian rights groups must emulate the country’s newest political party </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Seema Guha South Asia Funding for Human Rights Wed, 15 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Seema Guha 94199 at https://opendemocracy.net Greening human rights https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/john-knox/greening-human-rights <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dv-mwaIl9QwEa0Ps6vyfasByG-thvRYi9WBfGfyPDcA/mtime:1436291820/files/Knox_0.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>The protection of human rights and a healthy environment are mutually reinforcing – a fact that is gaining increasing international legal recognition.&nbsp;<span><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/john-knox/hacer-que-los-derechos-humanos-sean-m%C3%A1s-verdes" target="_blank">Español</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/john-knox/rendre-les-droits-de-l%E2%80%99homme-plus-%C2%AB-verts-%C2%BB" target="_blank">Français</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/john-knox/%D8%AA%D8%AE%D8%B6%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86" target="_blank">العربية</a></strong></em></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">What does human rights law have to say about the environment? &nbsp;On the surface, the answer may seem to be—not much. &nbsp;The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, and the two International Covenants, both adopted in 1966, do not include a right to a healthy environment. &nbsp;International environmental law has developed, for the most part, along a different track than human rights law. &nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But the failure to include a right to a healthy environment in the seminal human rights instruments is due to timing, not substance. The modern environmental movement began in the late 1960s, just too late to be reflected in the foundational human rights treaties. &nbsp;It is nevertheless clear that human rights and environmental protection are dependent upon one another. &nbsp;Our ability to enjoy our rights to life and health, as well as a host of other rights, depends on our living in an environment that is healthy and sustainable. &nbsp;The international community recognized this connection in its very first major environmental conference, in Stockholm in 1972, which proclaimed that the natural environment is “essential” to the enjoyment of basic human rights, including the right to life itself.</span></p><p><span class="mag-quote-left" style="line-height: 1.5;">The exercise of human rights helps to protect the environment, which in turn enables the full enjoyment of human rights. &nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In recent years, it has become equally clear that the converse is also true: &nbsp;the exercise of human rights is necessary, or at the very least highly important to, the enjoyment of a healthy environment. &nbsp;When the people who may be affected by proposed policies and activities can freely participate in the environmental decision-making process, their societies are much more likely to have strong environmental protections. &nbsp;In this way, human rights and environmental protection can form a virtuous circle: &nbsp;the exercise of human rights helps to protect the environment, which in turn enables the full enjoyment of human rights. &nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Many States have recognized this symbiotic relationship by codifying a right to a healthy environment in their national constitutions. &nbsp;</span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Environmental-Rights-Revolution-Constitutions/dp/0774821612?&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=&amp;tag=ie-utf-20&amp;sr=&amp;keywords=" target="_blank">More than 90 countries have done so explicitly</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">; many more have joined regional human rights agreements, for example in </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/" target="_blank">Africa</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> and the </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.oas.org/juridico/english/treaties/a-52.html" target="_blank">Americas</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, that recognize the right to a healthy environment. &nbsp;Moreover, although it is still true that no global human rights agreement explicitly includes a right to a healthy environment, in the last two decades many human rights bodies have interpreted universally recognized rights, such as rights to life and health, to require States to take steps to protect the environment on which the enjoyment of such rights depends. &nbsp;The result has been a rapid “greening” of human rights law. &nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In 2012, the </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Environment/SREnvironment/Pages/SRenvironmentIndex.aspx" target="_blank">UN Human Rights Council appointed me</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> to serve as the first </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.srenvironment.org" target="_blank">Independent Expert on human rights and the environment</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. &nbsp;The Council asked me to study the human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and to identify good practices in their use. To that end, I conducted a series of consultations with representatives of governments, civil society organizations, international organizations, and many others, in every region of the world. &nbsp;With the help of many pro bono volunteers, I also researched what human rights bodies had said about environmental protection. &nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">I found a remarkable degree of convergence in their views. &nbsp;There was widespread agreement that environmental harms can interfere with human rights and that States have obligations relating to environmental protection based on their existing commitments under international human rights law. &nbsp;I summarized this emerging consensus in a “</span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Environment/SREnvironment/Pages/MappingReport.aspx" target="_blank">mapping report</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">” to the Council. The report explains that States have procedural obligations to assess environmental impacts on human rights, to make environmental information public, to facilitate participation in environmental decision-making, and to provide access to remedies. The obligation to facilitate public participation includes obligations to safeguard the rights of freedom of expression and association against threats, harassment and violence—a particularly important set of obligations in light of </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.globalwitness.org/campaigns/environmental-activists/how-many-more/" target="_blank">the threats and harassment many environmental activists face</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. &nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">States also have substantive obligations to adopt legal and institutional frameworks that protect against environmental harm that interferes with the enjoyment of human rights, including harm caused by private actors. The obligation to protect human rights from environmental harm does not require States to prohibit all activities that may cause any environmental degradation; States have discretion to strike a balance between environmental protection and other legitimate societal interests. But the balance cannot be unreasonable, or result in unjustified, foreseeable infringements of human rights. In assessing whether a balance is reasonable, national and international health standards may be particularly relevant.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dv-mwaIl9QwEa0Ps6vyfasByG-thvRYi9WBfGfyPDcA/mtime:1436291820/files/Knox_0.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/Friends of the Earth International (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> "The African regional human rights commission has held that the failure of the Nigerian government to protect the Ogoni people from massive oil pollution in the Niger delta violated their rights to health and to a satisfactory environment."</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">For example, the African regional human rights commission has held that the failure of the Nigerian government to protect the Ogoni people from massive oil pollution in the Niger delta </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/africa/comcases/155-96.html" target="_blank">violated their rights to health and to a satisfactory environment</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. &nbsp;The Inter-American human rights tribunal held that by granting mining and logging concessions without the free, prior, and informed consent of the tribal people who lived on the land, </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.corteidh.or.cr/docs/casos/articulos/seriec_172_ing.pdf" target="_blank">Suriname had violated their rights to property</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. And the European Court of Human Rights has held that governments’ failure to take reasonable steps to protect against foreseeable threats from natural or human-caused disasters </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.ecolex.org/ecolex/ledge/view/RecordDetails?id=COU-143827&amp;index=courtdecisions" target="_blank">can violate the victims’ right to life</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. &nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In 2015, the Human Rights Council extended the mandate for another three years and changed my title to Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment. &nbsp;In addition to continuing to clarify the human rights obligations relating to the environment, the new focus of the mandate includes assisting those working to put these principles into effective operation. &nbsp;Many actors around the world are already doing so—</span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Environment/SREnvironment/Pages/GoodPractices.aspx" target="_blank">my most recent report to the Council</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> identifies more than 100 good practices in the use of human rights obligations relating to environmental protection. &nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr">But much more remains to be done. &nbsp;For example, <a href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16049&amp;LangID=E" target="_blank">I recently joined with 26 other UN human rights experts</a> to draw attention to the effects of climate change on a wide range of human rights, and to urge the State parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to take account of their human rights obligations as they negotiate a new climate agreement. &nbsp;With respect to these and other environmental threats, a human rights perspective helps to clarify both what is at stake and how governments should respond. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="//www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img src="//www.opendemocracy.net/files/openPagesidebox.png " alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights-blog/usha-natarajan/human-rights-%E2%80%93-help-or-hindrance-to-combatting-climate-change">Human rights – help or hindrance to combatting climate change?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrightsopenpage/asuncion-lera-st-clair/corporate-concern-for-human-rights-essential-to-tack">Corporate concern for human rights essential to tackle climate change</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/praful-bidwai/modi-government-cracks-down-on-green-ngos">Modi government cracks down on green NGOs</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrightsopenpage/c%C3%A9sar-rodr%C3%ADguezgaravito/decline-of-grand-treaties-thoughts-after-lima-clima">The decline of grand treaties? Thoughts after the Lima climate summit</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/steven-m-wise/struggle-for-nonhuman-rights">The struggle for nonhuman rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/who_gains_from_global_warming">Who gains from global warming?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/globalization-climate_change_debate/politics_4486.jsp">A politics of global warming: the social-science resource</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/naomi-hossain/why-food-riots-work-in-21st-century">Why food riots work in the 21st century</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jose-manuel-barreto/can-we-decolonise-human-rights">Can we decolonise human rights?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights openGlobalRights-openpage John Knox Global Tue, 14 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 John Knox 94197 at https://opendemocracy.net In Israel, intense combat experience decreases support for negotiations and human rights organizations https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/guy-grossman-devorah-manekin-dan-miodownik/in-israel-intense-combat-experience-decr <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/gCQz6usf-aGZIUCwNH8vMHoVmCoo2NUX2INE1oHyWAw/mtime:1436287005/files/Manekin.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>The formative years that many Israelis spend in combat service can have a negative impact on attitudes towards conflict resolution and human rights. A contribution to <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a>’ <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Public Opinion and Human Rights</a> debate. &nbsp;<span><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/devorah-manekin-guy-grossman-dan-miodownik/en-israel-las-experiencias-de-combate-in" target="_blank">Español</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/devorah-manekin-guy-grossman-dan-miodownik/en-isra%C3%ABl-l%E2%80%99exposition-%C3%A0-d%E2%80%99intenses-comb" target="_blank">Français</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/devorah-manekin-guy-grossman-dan-miodownik/%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A5%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%8A%D9%84%D8%8C-%D8%AA%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B7%D9%88%D9%8A%D9%84%D8%A9-%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%83%D8%AB%D9%81" target="_blank">العربية</a> ,<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/devorah-manekin-guy-grossman-dan-miodownik/%D7%91%D7%99%D7%A9%D7%A8%D7%90%D7%9C-%D7%A9%D7%99%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%AA-%D7%A7%D7%A8%D7%91%D7%99-%D7%90%D7%99%D7%A0%D7%98%D7%A0%D7%A1%D7%99%D7%91%D7%99-%D7%9E%D7%A4%D7%97%D7%99%D7%AA-%D7%90%D7%AA-%D7%94%D7%AA%D7%9E" target="_blank">עברית</a></strong></em></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">A wave of research has emerged in recent years exploring public attitudes towards human rights issues, from <a href="http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&amp;aid=8820666&amp;fileId=S0020818312000343" target="_blank">opinions on particular rights violations</a> to <a href="https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&amp;type=summary&amp;url=/journals/human_rights_quarterly/v037/37.1.ron.html" target="_blank">attitudes towards human rights organizations</a>. </p><p dir="ltr">One perspective remains conspicuously absent, however: that of the members of state armed forces. Contemporary conflict is typically waged among civilians, in dense urban quarters or remote rural areas. Soldiers who participate in conflict are therefore at a heightened risk of witnessing or being implicated in human rights violations. How does the experience of combat affect soldier attitudes towards civilians, human rights groups and conflict resolution? </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">These questions are important, as former soldiers are often an influential group, whether due to their sheer number or to their greater political credibility on matters related to security.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Policymakers tend to view former combatants as a potentially destabilizing force, with access to skills, arms and networks that make them more likely to engage in violence. This perception has led to the proliferation of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programs, </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/issues/ddr.shtml" target="_blank">viewed by the UN as a vital step in the initial stabilization of war-torn societies</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. Yet evidence for this perception remains elusive. Assessing the effect of combat on attitudes presents a thorny methodological problem, as men who become combatants may differ systematically in their attitudes from those who do not. If such pre-existing differences exist, it becomes difficult to isolate the effects of combat on political attitudes.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In a </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&amp;aid=9796003&amp;fulltextType=RA&amp;fileId=S002081831500020X" target="_blank">study</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> published in International Organization, we investigate the effects of combat on attitudes towards conflict, conflict resolution and human rights organizations among veterans of the Israeli military. The attitudes of ex-combatants matter for Israeli politics, as mandatory conscription laws mean that former combatants form a substantial sector of the public.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/gCQz6usf-aGZIUCwNH8vMHoVmCoo2NUX2INE1oHyWAw/mtime:1436287005/files/Manekin.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/Israel Defense Forces (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Israeli soldiers drill for urban combat</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We conducted an original online survey of 2,334 combat and non-combat Israeli veterans who served between 1999 and 2012. We overcome the methodological issues associated with comparing combatant and non-combatant attitudes by using statistical techniques that employ an additional variable, in this case, the medical eligibility of individuals for combat service. Since medical eligibility predicts combat service but not political attitudes, we are able to isolate the effects of combat from that of other factors shaping soldiers’ decision to enter combat units in the first place.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We asked respondents for their attitudes on a variety of issues related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. For example, we asked whether, in the context of a negotiated peace agreement, they would consider territorial withdrawal, division of Jerusalem, or reparations to Palestinian refugees. We also asked whether respondents believed Palestinians were partners for peace, what was their preferred solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and whether they supported Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Finally, we asked whether Israeli human rights monitoring groups, such as </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.btselem.org/" target="_blank">B’tselem</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> and the </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.acri.org.il/en/" target="_blank">Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, which report regularly on violations of Palestinian rights in the Occupied Territories, should be legally restricted (</span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/daniel-sokatch/anti-ngo-legislation-in-israel-first-step-toward-silencing-dissent" target="_blank">as proposed recently</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in the Israeli parliament), or allowed to operate freely.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Our time frame included two very different types of combat exposure: the Second Intifada, and the years following the Israeli military’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005. During the Second Intifada, Israeli troops spent nearly all of their deployment in the West Bank and Gaza, and were </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://cps.sagepub.com/content/46/10/1273" target="_blank">exposed to high levels of violence</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> as perpetrators, victims and witnesses. Combatants in subsequent years, by contrast, had far less prolonged and direct military engagement with Palestinians. According to data from Israeli rights group </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.btselem.org/statistics" target="_blank">B’tselem</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, Israeli casualties between 2006 and 2012 dropped by 90% from the previous period. Although numbers of Palestinian fatalities remained high, many were killed by Israeli air and artillery strikes rather than by ground troops operating in close quarters. The 1999-2012 timeframe thus allowed us to assess whether combat intensity shapes combatant attitudes.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We found that ex-combatants who served in the Second Intifada are, on average, substantially and significantly less supportive of peaceful conflict resolution than non-combatants from the same period. They are significantly less likely to support territorial withdrawal as part of a peace agreement, to believe that Palestinians are partners for peace, and to support conciliatory solutions to the conflict. They are also significantly more likely to support Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and rank themselves as more hawkish on a right-left scale. Finally, they appear more supportive of restricting NGO activity, though that effect does not quite reach statistical significance.</span></p><p><span class="mag-quote-right" style="line-height: 1.5;">It was participation in intense, face-to-face military activities against Palestinians that led to increased skepticism of human rights-related themes.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In contrast, ex-combatants who served after 2005 do not for the most part differ from non-combatants in their attitudes. In other words, it was participation in intense, face-to-face military activities against Palestinians that led to increased skepticism of human rights-related themes.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We also found that ex-combatants from the Second Intifada were substantially and significantly more likely to vote for harder-line political parties. This effect is quite large, translating into a shift of nearly an entire party to the right on </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://en.idi.org.il/tools-and-data/guttman-center-for-surveys/2013-compass/" target="_blank">a left-right political scale of parties</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. It is also remarkably durable, persisting nearly a decade after release from service. We estimate that eight cohorts of combatants that served during all or part of the Second Intifada translate into five to six parliamentary seats, a number that can exercise considerable influence in Israel’s polarized political arena.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Why does intense combat exposure cause such a substantial hardening of political attitudes? We find suggestive evidence that former combatants are far more prejudiced against Palestinians than former non-combatants, and are also more likely to feel that ending the military occupation of the West Bank would pose an existential threat to Israel’s security. This is consistent with research in social psychology that links both prejudice and threat to exclusionary attitudes and </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-5907.2005.00144.x/abstract;jsessionid=29880949CB2DD4CACE25D2BBB4250DEE.f02t01?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&amp;userIsAuthenticated=false" target="_blank">support for aggressive behavior</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, providing some insight into why intense combat reduces, on average, support for negotiated solutions and compromise.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Our study has implications for both Israeli-Palestinian relations and for conflict resolution more generally. In the Israeli context, it suggests that mandatory conscription has had far-reaching political effects that are not yet well documented or understood. Individuals who are socialized into violent conflict at formative periods of their lives can be deeply affected by that experience in many ways, including in their political attitudes and behavior. Given the size and impact of the Israeli ex-combatant population, peace-building efforts should take its experiences into account.</span></p><p>More generally, our findings underscore the importance of combatant reintegration programs in reducing inter-group hostility, fostering respect for human rights, and creating the foundation for a viable, durable peace.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_2.jpg '" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg '"> <img src=" https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Public opinion and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/let-pollsters-pick-navigating-public-opinion-in-israel">Let the pollsters pick? 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Yet thousands of people across dozens of countries took to the streets when world food prices spiked in 2008 and 2011. Why, in the 21st century, do people feel compelled to risk life and limb to protest when food prices rise? What do they achieve, and is it more than can be won through constitutional or other legal guarantees of a right to food? </p><p dir="ltr">To answer these questions, <a href="http://www.ids.ac.uk/project/food-riots-and-food-rights" target="_blank">researchers studied the historical rupture in the global food system between 2007 and 2012</a>. Most studies of food riots in this period took a wide approach, studying correlations with price changes and regime types. We felt this risked treating these events as the spasmodic outbursts of hungry people. Studies of European food riots had established that historically these were ideological and strategic forms of political protest. We decided to go deep, to compare protests, movements and policy responses in selected cases—Bangladesh, India, Kenya and Mozambique. We talked to activists and protestors, studied newspaper coverage, and interviewed key policy elites. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We found that food riots still happen in the 21st century because they still perform important functions in influencing the policies and practices of governments towards subsistence—what we call </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.ids.ac.uk/publication/food-riots-and-the-politics-of-provisions-in-world-history" target="_blank">the ‘politics of provisions’</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. A popular protest over price alerts governments to impending subsistence crises or the limits of popular tolerance to sudden food price rise. Such protests remind governments that they are responsible for protecting citizens against such crises; for most rulers, the shame of food riots hitting the headlines is incentive enough to elicit some kind of response. They also highlight the plight of groups who fall out of whatever social safety net is there to protect people (one reason Bangladeshi garments workers protested when food prices spiked in 2008 and 2011). Finally, food riots signal popular outrage about food market and food policy failures; for example, speculative hoarding, withdrawn subsidies (which </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.ids.ac.uk/publication/hunger-revolts-and-citizen-strikes-popular-protests-in-mozambique-2008-2012" target="_blank">triggered riots in Maputo</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">), or corruption in public food schemes (which </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.ids.ac.uk/publication/popular-actions-state-reactions-the-moral-and-political-economy-of-food-in-india" target="_blank">did the same in West Bengal</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">).</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/3GVZhuR29cBncjazgb3uEdQ5lr5moQl6wFfaMRCmrJM/mtime:1436214712/files/Hossain.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Demotix/zakir hossain chowdhury (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Bangladeshi garment workers protest rising lunch prices in Dhaka. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Food riots work because—or to the extent that—a </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://understandingsociety.blogspot.com/2008/07/moral-economy-as-historical-social.html" target="_blank">shared moral economy</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> underpins the politics of provisions. By this is meant that elites share or at least acknowledge popular beliefs about how food markets ought to work—that there are limits to the rights to profit from food trade in times of scarcity, and that public authorities are responsible for policing food markets. But it is not obvious when this shared understanding exists. Further, the extent to which rights to food have been formally agreed may not be a reliable guide.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In Kenya, for example, </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.ids.ac.uk/publication/the-constitution-lies-to-us-securing-accountability-for-the-right-to-food-in-kenya" target="_blank">even a constitutional guarantee of the right to food does not mean the policy elite shares such views with hungry Kenyans</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. By contrast, Bangladeshi elites resist talk of rights to food, and yet </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://foodriots.org/publication/view/the-food-riots-that-never-were-the-moral-and-political-economy-of-food-security-in-bangladesh" target="_blank">the moral economy functions to keep the government alert and responsive to food crises</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. The hard political lessons of history bind the elite to a commitment to protect against hunger in Bangladesh, and turn their attention to more politically important groups such as big farmers in Kenya. A committed active social movement organized around the right to food can make all the difference, as the Indian experience shows. But even that may not be immune to ideological shifts with political change.</span></p><p><span class="mag-quote-left" style="line-height: 1.5;">Not all hungry people protest and many food rioters are not hungry.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Not all hungry people protest and many food rioters are not hungry. From our work with activists and protestors across these contexts, we concluded that six shared beliefs create the conditions for a 21st century food riot (or subsistence protest, a term we prefer): &nbsp;hunger arises while—or because—others profit (it is about fairness, not just empty bellies); food is special—it is necessary for life but it also nourishes people’s cultural and social being, and is the single most important item of consumption; there are limits to injustice, exploitation and corruption, and food rights are one of them; the situation is deteriorating and there is no sign of authoritative action; the public authorities have power and can act if so motivated; and people believe they can organize to express their collective discontent. 
</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Twenty-first century conditions offer two reasons to believe food riots will remain an important mass political strategy in a globalizing era. First, the mass media has become a key player in the politics of provisions. Whether and how protests get reported shape how they are received and responded to by policy elites. But media bias and failings in reporting protest are so significant as to render the findings of many large studies of food riots suspect (as these deploy media coverage as data). Nevertheless, a sympathetic media, one that shares the basic principles of the moral economy, provides a vital platform for protestors.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Second, compared to the weak incentives of noblesse oblige operating under the best circumstances in historical Europe, even the poorest developing countries have at least the semblance of electoral democracy on which to pin their hopes. It seems clear enough that an elected government that fails to at least demonstrate an effort to respond to a 21st century food price crisis, will need to pull some impressive alternatives out of its hat to get re-elected. Whether or not it succeeds, it will have sacrificed some of the invisible power of any government: its legitimacy.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.ids.ac.uk/publication/them-belly-full-but-we-hungry-food-rights-struggles-in-bangladesh-india-kenya" target="_blank">Food Riots and Food Rights</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> research shows that protection against subsistence crises is the rock-bottom price of regime legitimacy. A government may do other things—build new roads and bridges, blame minorities for the problems of the majority, tackle corruption, preside over robust economic growth even, but if it does not at least try to intervene when food crisis strikes, all bets are off. This may be getting harder to do in globalizing times. But as of the global food crises of 2007-12, the food riot was still doing its job.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="//www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img src="//www.opendemocracy.net/files/openPagesidebox.png " alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/irene-khan-david-petrasek/beyond-courts-%E2%80%93-protecting-economic-and-social-rights">Beyond the courts – protecting economic and social rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/chris-jochnick/poverty-and-human-rights-can-courts-lawyers-and-activists-make-diffe">Poverty and human rights: can courts, lawyers and activists make a difference?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights-blog/vijay-nagaraj/development-and-human-rights-%E2%80%93-plea-for-more-critical-embrace">Development and human rights – a plea for a more critical embrace</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/helena-hofbauer/winners-and-losers-how-budgeting-for-human-rights-can-help-poor">Winners and losers: how budgeting for human rights can help the poor</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights-blog/lloyd-lipsett/illicit-financial-flows-poverty-and-human-rights">Illicit financial flows, poverty and human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sara-bailey/can-legal-interventions-really-tackle-root-causes-of-poverty">Can legal interventions really tackle the root causes of poverty?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/wade-m-cole/international-treaty-on-economic-and-social-rights-has-positive-impacts">The international treaty on economic and social rights has positive impacts</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/barb-maclaren/to-empower-women-prioritize-their-social-and-economic-rights">To empower women, prioritize their social and economic rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/niko-lusiani/let%E2%80%99s-get-fiscal-%E2%80%93-human-rights-advocates-are-tackling-tax-injustice">Let’s get fiscal – human rights advocates are tackling tax injustice</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights openGlobalRights-openpage Naomi Hossain Global Thu, 09 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Naomi Hossain 94150 at https://opendemocracy.net Elevate the law in fight against atrocities https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/kip-hale/elevate-law-in-fight-against-atrocities <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/L6ILKTitsFOzpvrAhHo7nDqygGBJR4yYsu9RVDBTyGU/mtime:1436205642/files/Hale.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>No one would argue the law should be subservient to politics when confronting domestic criminality, so why should this be the case for international crimes? A contribution to <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a>’ <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/international-criminal-court">ICC </a>debate. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/kip-hale/elevar-el-derecho-en-la-lucha-contra-las-atrocidades" target="_blank">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Frustrated by shortcomings at the International Criminal Court (ICC), commentators have increasingly questioned the utility of law in the fight against genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (collectively, international atrocity crimes). Emblematic of this critique, Leslie Vinjamuri and Jack Snyder recently penned an </span><a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/jack-snyder-leslie-vinjamuri/to-prevent-atrocities-count-on-politics-first-law-late" style="line-height: 1.5;">oGR article</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> with the provocative title, “To prevent atrocities, count on politics first, law later”. They contend that the positive deterrent effects attributed to the ICC by Professors Beth Simmons’ and Hyeran Jo’s research—partly the subject of an earlier </span><a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/geoff-dancy-bridget-marchesi-florencia-montal-kathryn-sikkink/icc%E2%80%99s-deterrent-impac" style="line-height: 1.5;">oGR article</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">—are instead better explained by politics. For them, the “centrality of politics” makes diplomacy and other non-legal means the best way to prevent and address international atrocity crimes.</span></p><p dir="ltr">However, Vinjamuri’s and Synder’s analysis overlooks the centrality of law to the maintenance of peace and stability in countries around the globe. This domestic truth best instructs how international atrocities should be addressed. To date, “peace over justice” advocates have failed to counter this point convincingly, and for good reason, given that it is widely accepted in both the Global North and South that the law is essential to lasting domestic peace and security. Informed by numerous decades of development, these countries have found that the first step in combatting crime is law enforcement, not politicians and mediators. </p><p dir="ltr"><span class="mag-quote-right" style="line-height: 1.5;">The first step in combatting crime is law enforcement, not politicians and mediators.&nbsp;</span>Well-developed domestic legal systems rely on the law not only to preserve the peace, but to deter crime too. Regardless where one falls on the much debated law-deterrence spectrum, human beings are undoubtedly influenced by the threat of negative consequences. Further, few would advocate for the abolition or diminution of the law because domestic or transnational crime (e.g. corruption, trafficking) still occurs. </p><p dir="ltr">Of course, peaceful countries owe much to strong democratic institutions and vigorous political expression as well, and political entities do set the law. Yet, this does not subjugate law to politics. Rather, both play an equally important and mutually reinforcing role in addressing crime. Most crucially, in these countries, domestic political bodies support independent judicial institutions robustly and habitually, even when politically disagreeable. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for the <a target="_blank" href="https://ciccglobaljustice.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/coalition-briefs-expert-body-on-icc-budget/">relationship</a> between the international community and the ICC. </p><p dir="ltr">It is also true that lessons learned from the way law operates in developed countries are not so easily applied at the international level. Nevertheless, because something is difficult does not mean it should not be done. All developed countries that are peaceful and secure due to a functioning and independent rule of law had judicial institutions that started out decades ago in a very similar position to that of today’s ICC. </p><p dir="ltr">The effort needed to establish the rule of law globally—including the ICC—is well-worth it when closely reviewing the historical failures of the politics-first approach. Before the emergence of international law as a viable means of addressing conflict and atrocities, diplomacy and politics were the only recourse available. In looking at this track record, history is littered with far more failed ceasefires and peace deals than successful ones, often at the cost of more lives and human suffering. While many factors contributed to these failures, one major reason is that the widespread crimes in these conflicts went unpunished, thus allowing unresolved injustices to stew and eventually boil over into renewed conflict. Without the real threat of criminal accountability, ruthless dictators were given little reason to stop the cycle of violence. This fact is why the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. <a target="_blank" href="http://972mag.com/a-reminder-to-israel-from-martin-luther-king/33133/img_4139r/">observed</a> that “true peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/L6ILKTitsFOzpvrAhHo7nDqygGBJR4yYsu9RVDBTyGU/mtime:1436205642/files/Hale.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Demotix/timothy ngumi (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> It would be disingenuous to believe that the ICC’s highly visible, ongoing cases against Kenyan leaders did not play a substantial role in deterring mass violence following Kenya's 2013 election. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p><hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Vinjamuri and Synder cite continuing crimes in Libya and Sudan—after the UN Security Council referred both countries to the ICC—as evidence of the ICC’s ineffectiveness. However, this criticism misses the mark. The primary reason for prosecuting those who already broke the law is accountability, not deterrence. Yet, with successful prosecutions comes deterrence. If those who perpetrate atrocities are in fact prosecuted (not just indicted), would-be perpetrators have real reason to fear prosecution too. As a result, future atrocities by other leaders are averted through the concrete knowledge that commission of atrocities will weaken, not strengthen, their grip on power. This is not the case in either Sudan or Libya, where the Court’s work has not been adequately supported by the UN Security Council and ICC States Parties, specifically not helping turn indictments into prosecutions. Their failure to do so is a failure of politics and diplomacy, not of law. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Critics of justice often claim that peace is forsaken if legal accountability is pursued mid-conflict, because brutal despots will “<a target="_blank" href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/may/04/icc-arrest-warrants-libya-gaddafi">dig in their heels</a>” and prolong the conflict to avoid prosecution. Yet, Syria proves this claim thoroughly unconvincing. To date, the prospect that the Assad regime, rebel groups, or the Islamic State would ever be held accountable for their alleged atrocities in a court of law is extremely remote, yet the conflict drags on into its fifth year, making it one of the longest-running mass-atrocity crimes since Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge. Arguably, the lack of accountability (actual or threatened) in Syria has emboldened these actors despite a multitude of threatened political consequences. This point is substantiated by the fact the Assad regime has used chemical weapons once <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/07/world/middleeast/syria-chemical-weapons.html">again</a>, despite suffering political consequences for having previously <a target="_blank" href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2013/09/06/president-obama-and-the-red-line-on-syrias-chemical-weapons/">crossed</a> the chemical weapon “redline”. </p><p dir="ltr">Other evidence supports the deterrent effect of the ICC. For the first time in a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2008/0114/p09s02-coop.html">long time</a>, the Kenyan election in 2013 <a target="_blank" href="http://www.usip.org/events/why-were-kenya-s-2013-elections-peaceful">did not result</a> in mass violence. Certainly a range of factors led to this development, but it would be disingenuous to believe that the ICC’s highly visible, ongoing cases against Kenyan leaders did not play a substantial role in deterring mass violence. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Diane Orentlicher, former Deputy US Ambassador for War Crimes Issues, has <a target="_blank" href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/13/us-seeking-justice-for-syrians-idUSBRE98C03X20130913">recounted</a> that “then-President of Senegal Abdoulaye Wade reportedly told aides in 2012 that he would not use violence to enforce what would have been a false claim of winning the presidential election lest he face charges before the ICC—which had happened to former Ivoirian president Laurent Gbagbo.” It is also likely the case that leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah are weighing their future behavior through the lens of legal accountability now that Palestine has joined the ICC. &nbsp;</p><p>Of course, to prevent and punish atrocity crimes, the law and politics should be mutually reinforcing, and their operation must be sequenced in a fashion tailored to the unique facts and circumstances of each conflict. However, before a coordinated effort between law and politics can succeed, the law must be bolstered. An important first step in this regard is to follow the recommendation of Elizabeth Evenson and Jonathan O’Donohue, whose recent <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/elizabeth-evenson-jonathan-o%E2%80%99donohue/international-criminal-court-at-risk">oGR article</a> advocated for increased support by States of the ICC’s available resources, particularly its budget—a political movement upon which the success of both politics and law depends. &nbsp;</p><p><i>This article represents the views of the author and, except as specified otherwise, does not necessarily represent policy of the ABA or the ABA Center for Human Rights.</i></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" 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class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Kip Hale Global The International Criminal Court Wed, 08 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Kip Hale 94147 at https://opendemocracy.net Partners in prayer: women's rights and religion in Morocco https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/meriem-el-haitami-shannon-golden-james-ron/partners-in-prayer-women%27s-rights-and-re <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/q3TwdwGVdFJusZPdYYHN-MrU4vhJeyvJGhUBnBoXpIw/mtime:1435972447/files/Haitemi.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Pundits say that religion and human rights are opposing forces in Morocco, especially around women’s rights. Our Human Rights Perception Polls suggest a more nuanced picture. A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debates, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Public Opinion and Human Rights</a>&nbsp;and <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/religion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Religion and Human Rights</a>. &nbsp;<span><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/meriem-el-haitami-shannon-golden-james-ron/ensemble-dans-la-pri%C3%A8re-les-droits-de-la" target="_blank">Français</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/meriem-el-haitami-shannon-golden-james-ron/%D8%B4%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B5%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%A9-%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%A3%D8%A9-%D9%88-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%BA%D8%B1%D8%A8" target="_blank">العربية</a></strong></em></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Human rights ideas are often seen as highly secularized. For many, they are in direct <em>conflict</em> with religion, while for others they are, at best, “<a href="http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2014/09/religion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">awkward bedfellows</a>”. Over the past year, openGlobalRights has run <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/religion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">a series of articles on religion and human rights</a>, highlighting these points of convergence and divergence. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Some critics point to </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674725164" target="_blank">alleged Islamic positions on women as particularly problematic</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, and they portray women as victims of oppressive religious structures or as indoctrinated political subjects. Others point to Islam’s grounding in sacred texts, rather than universal secular humanism, as the problem.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">At first glance, the women’s rights movement in Morocco, a highly devout and observant country, seems to highlight this tension. Both Moroccan women’s rights activists and their opponents have framed their debate in “secular versus religious” terms, and both have successfully mobilized widespread public action.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"></span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">However, our Moroccan </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://jamesron.com/documents/hro-report-morocco.pdf" target="_blank">Human Rights Perception Polls</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, based on a 2012 survey of 1,100 adults residing in Rabat, Casablanca and their rural surroundings, suggest that this secular-religious polarization may be an elite-level artifact. Among ordinary people, the issue is more nuanced. </span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/q3TwdwGVdFJusZPdYYHN-MrU4vhJeyvJGhUBnBoXpIw/mtime:1435972447/files/Haitemi.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/Geraint Rowland (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Moroccan women walk to a mosque in Marrakesh.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The 1990s struggle over the Moroccan family code was a particularly high-profile and contentious moment in the country’s reckoning with women’s rights. In 1992, a petition calling for reform of the personal status code and Sharia-based family law (<em>Moudawana</em>) </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://rowman.com/ISBN/9780739182093/Moroccan-Women-Activists-and-Gender-Politics-An-Institutional-Analysis" target="_blank">garnered one million signatures</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The reform campaign attracted a large vocal base of both supporters and opponents. In 2000, dueling demonstrations materialized: as “</span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://mondediplo.com/2004/04/02islamicwomen" target="_blank">tens of thousands, representing women’s groups, human rights movements and political parties (and at least six government ministers), marched in the capital Rabat in support of the plan</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">”, half a million opponents gathered in Casablanca to </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/675182.stm" target="_blank">protest the “secularization” of religiously-based family law</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. A coalition of Islamist groups organized the anti-reform demonstration, and Islamist women had a strong presence at the rally, claiming that the <em>Moudawana</em>’s reform would </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/heidi-basch-harod/uncertainty-for-future-of-moroccan-women%E2%80%99s-movement" target="_blank">disrupt the family unit</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. Alarmed by the public outcry, the King put the reform policy on hold. Still, the Moroccan feminist movement continued their mobilization and advocacy; the King ultimately approved the new family code and </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.lematin.ma/journal/2014/le-code-de-la-famille-dix-ans-apres_en-dix-ans-la-moudawana-a-tout-changemais-les-feministes-veulent-aller-plus-loin/196419.html" target="_blank">parliament adopted it into law in 2004</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The standard narrative of the Moroccan women’s movement pits religion and human rights in strong opposition to one another. It suggests that Moroccans with stronger religious convictions or levels of religious participation would be more critical of local human rights organizations (LHROs), which they would see as pushing reforms that contradict religious teachings. Our survey evidence, however, suggests that participating in religious institutions and practicing a more personal version of religion may function differently.</span></p><p>First, consider the Moroccan public’s trust in local human rights organizations. We asked respondents how much they trusted local human rights organizations (LHROs), on a 4-point scale, where 1 means “no trust,” and 4 means “a lot of trust.” As Figure 1 suggests, when it comes to trusting local rights groups, religion is <em>not </em>necessarily incompatible with human rights. Although Moroccans who attended mosque at least once a week were indeed less trusting, those who reported praying <em>more often</em> were significantly <em>more</em> trusting of LHROs.</p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/2BfGUu2bVn5fzhXgcs7fP8HXlMj0YnRUf4kLzKv_qoY/mtime:1435972459/files/HaitemiEnglishChart1.jpg"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/2BfGUu2bVn5fzhXgcs7fP8HXlMj0YnRUf4kLzKv_qoY/mtime:1435972459/files/HaitemiEnglishChart1.jpg" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr">This suggests a distinction between institutional religiosity, measured by mosque attendance, and personal religiosity, measured by frequency of prayer. Although institutional religiosity in Morocco is indeed linked to <em>less</em> trust in local rights groups, as the standard narrative suggests, personal religiosity is linked to <em>greater </em>trust, a surprising finding. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We also asked respondents about their definition of “human rights”, asking to what extent they associated the term with other phrases. We found Moroccans most strongly associated “human rights” with “protecting women’s rights”, even more so than with “protecting people from torture and murder” or “promoting socio-economic justice”.</span></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/JQ8IwKUqODbS_3-m2kRGGkq-Eiak6OHrndKZ7CLhlsY/mtime:1435972467/files/HaitemiEnglishChart2.jpg"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/JQ8IwKUqODbS_3-m2kRGGkq-Eiak6OHrndKZ7CLhlsY/mtime:1435972467/files/HaitemiEnglishChart2.jpg" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The Moroccan public does indeed identify human rights with the hot-button women’s movement and <em>Moudawana</em> reforms, but the question remains as to whether Moroccans regard this positively or negatively.</span></p><p dir="ltr">To assess, we considered the relationship between defining “human rights” as “women’s rights”, and respondents’ trust in local rights groups. To our surprise, we found that those who think of human rights as women’s rights are <em>more</em>, rather than less, trusting of LHROs. Moroccans who define human rights as women’s rights are more positively inclined towards local rights groups.</p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/vF_sMW8YbWS5DkgRc3NhmCPT_HfVNXXEgvboEiE25cc/mtime:1435972476/files/HaitemiEnglishChart3.jpg"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/vF_sMW8YbWS5DkgRc3NhmCPT_HfVNXXEgvboEiE25cc/mtime:1435972476/files/HaitemiEnglishChart3.jpg" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Associating rights with feminism, in other words, is not a liability for Moroccan rights groups. This finding runs counter to the dominant narrative, which suggests a women’s rights reputation would be a major liability in a traditional, religiously devout country such as Morocco.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"></span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">More advanced statistical models suggest that it is <em>mosque attendance</em>, rather than personal religiosity, that is the problem. The more frequently people attend mosque, the less likely they are to view human rights as a women’s rights issue. This, in turn, leads to lower trust in local rights groups.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In Morocco, it is not personal piety that creates a barrier against human rights; instead, it is engagement with Moroccan mosques, as currently structured, that is associated with human rights disapproval. The causal nature of that association remains unclear; mosque attendance may be a cause, or perhaps a partial effect of, a human rights-skeptical world view.</span></p><p dir="ltr">Mosque attendance, however, is not the only way for Muslims to express their religion. Daily prayer, rites, personal beliefs and conduct all matter enormously. In fact, our data show that only 46% of respondents attend mosque once a week, and 47% attend either “never” or “seldom”. And yet, 96% of those we polled said that religion was “very important” in their daily lives, and virtually all respondents were &nbsp;of the Sunni Muslim persuasion. Further, 85% reported praying multiple times per day (6% said “never”, 6% said “seldom”, and 4% fell somewhere in between),&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">suggesting that, for many Moroccans, prayer is a more central tenet of their religious practice than mosque attendance.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><span class="mag-quote-left" style="line-height: 1.5;">The “problem” between human rights and Islam, as interpreted by some, seems rooted in the institutional experience of religion.&nbsp;</span>Moroccans, in other words, are serious about personal religiosity and Islamic belief. Mosque attendance, however, is only central for half of the population. The “problem” between human rights and Islam, as interpreted by some, seems rooted in the institutional experience of religion.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Although many Moroccan intellectuals and activists may buy into the notion of a religious-secular conflict, not everyone is convinced. Zakia Salime, for example, a prominent feminist Moroccan scholar, writes that Morocco’s anti-family code reform marches were, among other things, a site for exploring “</span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/between-feminism-and-islam" target="_blank">the intersections [between] … the feminist and the Islamist women’s movements</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.”</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In fact, it seems that women’s rights mobilization in Morocco perhaps led to the emergence of a grassroots Islamic feminism that is comfortable with both religious<em> and </em>human rights discourse. This emergent ideological compatibility may help to explain the surprising findings of our public opinion poll.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In Morocco, Islamic and secular feminism are shaping one another’s discourses, and opinion polls demonstrate that the religion-human rights divide is not as clear-cut as some suspect.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_2.jpg '" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg '"> <img src=" https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Public opinion and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/religion-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onMouseOver="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Religion_Inset_2.png'" onMouseOut="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Religion_Inset_1.png'"> <img src="http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Religion_Inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Religion and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/amina-bouayach/moroccans-are-protesting-but-conditions-aren%E2%80%99t-improving">Moroccans are protesting, but conditions aren’t improving </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/xaviera-medina/what-do-muslim-women-want-finding-women%E2%80%99s-rights-in-islam">What do Muslim women want? 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A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate, <a href="mailto:https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-subthemes/human-rights-resonance-in-mexico">Human Rights: Mass or Elite Movement?</a>&nbsp; <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/alexandra-d%C3%A9lano-melissa-ortiz-mass%C3%B3/nueve-meses-de-ayotzinapa-%C2%BFpuede-una-campa%C3%B1a-d" target="_blank">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">In a country where violence has become the new normal, the nine months since the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero have been marked by protests from a very discontented public. In less than ten years, there have been more than 23,000 disappearances and 100,000 deaths in the country, but Ayotzinapa tipped the scale. This new social mobilization makes it clear that the people disapprove of the government’s response and want new opportunities and methods for political participation. But which paths should we take in order to build them?</p><p dir="ltr">The demand “vivos se los llevaron, vivos los queremos” (“alive they took them, alive we want them back”) is still ringing strong, even though government institutions would prefer to close the case. Ayotzinapa awoke us to the fact that this was not an isolated case, that corruption at every level has allowed it to happen (reflected online by the phrase #FueElEstado – “It was the State”), and that Mexicans have had it with the impunity and violence that reigns in their country.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/9r0mTLzD9Jaa60MlYgwSDhmYKW_57MAYZVjY3pOVgDI/mtime:1435976081/files/Delano1.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/Por Eso Propongo (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Por Eso Propongo's call for anti-corruption and civic reform proposals on postcards yielded thousands of results and revealed ten main topics of concern among the Mexican people. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">On social media, thousands of voices proclaimed “#YaMeCansé” (“I’ve Had Enough”), echoing the demands of movements such as </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yo_Soy_132" target="_blank">#YoSoy132</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> (“I am 132”), created three years ago to protest repression and call for new citizen participation. March marked four years since the start of </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://movimientoporlapaz.mx/es/2015/03/21/seguimos-hasta-la-madre-nos-faltan-30-mil-43-iv-aniversario-mpjd/" target="_blank">Movimiento por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> (Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity), which included the slogan ¡Seguimos hasta la madre! (“We’ve had it up to here with this shit!”).</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Millions of Mexicans are unsatisfied with a political class that doesn’t allow open dialogue or is accountable to those it represents, while making public their luxurious expenses or discriminatory remarks in a country with so much poverty and inequality. There is even a lack of trust in institutions such as the </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="mailto:http://www.ine.mx/portal/" target="_blank">Instituto Nacional Electoral</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> (INE) or the </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="mailto:http://www.cndh.org.mx/" target="_blank">Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> (CNDH), whose strongest ties are supposed to be with the people.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The #Caravana43 headed by parents of the Ayotzinapa student teachers is pushing for a civil revolution, which would consist of popular assemblies to replace the current system of government. Other civil society groups are trying to work within the current institutional context in order to recapture or amplify the spaces that have been opened through decades of democratic construction. But faced with the urgency of what is happening in the country, the solutions often appear to be too slow, not enough, and far out of our reach.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The campaign #YaMeCansé, </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.poresopropongo.mx" target="_blank">#PorEsoPropongo</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> (“I’ve Had Enough”, “This is What I Propose”) was created in November of 2014 by Daniela Alatorre and Alexandra Délano and then joined by artists, filmmakers, designers, scholars and activists. In order to make Mexican voices tangible in a visually effective, substantial and creative way, we sent an invitation through social media asking people to send their messages in the form of a printed postcard, using the social action platform </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://postcard.com" target="_blank">Postcard.com</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. The postcards were addressed to Mexican society and government representatives. The goal was to print and display them in public spaces to push for continued dialogue and participation.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Amidst the hundreds of postcards that turned into thousands in less than a month, we began to notice similarities and boiled them down to ten main topics of concern.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The “</span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://poresopropongo.mx/whatsnext.html" target="_blank">Ten Citizens' Battles</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">”, as we called them, are not exhaustive, nor do they represent everyone, but they are a form of expressing the concerns that many of us citizens share and are troubled by, in contrast to a government that is not responding adequately. The ten main proposals in the 8,000 postcards we received are: 1) create a genuinely independent anti-corruption prosecutor; 2) eliminate impunity for government officials (fuero); 3) reduce the salaries and benefits of public servants; 4) reduce public funding for political parties; 5) reform the police forces and rebuild their relationship with the communities they work with; 6) prosecute the crime of enforced disappearance; 7) reduce or eliminate congressional seats assigned by proportional representation; 8) create citizen committees to monitor and regulate public service; 9) improve educational and health services, and give priority to culture and the arts, each with an emphasis on human rights; 10) raise the minimum wage.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><span class="mag-quote-right">&nbsp;#PorEso-Propongo shows that people are concerned and desire to participate and be heard from spaces that are truly democratic.&nbsp;</span>#PorEsoPropongo shows that people are concerned and desire to participate and be heard from spaces that are truly democratic. But often we don’t know where to start, or we think that those spaces, including organizations that defend human rights and impact decision-making processes, are closed to us. Since the start of this project we have collaborated with </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.amnistia.org.mx" target="_blank">Amnesty International</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> and other civil society organizations that have aided us in opening up opportunities for dialogue. The 8,000 proposals made by citizens are a source of inspiration and a reason for all Mexicans (and also for these organizations) to continue to work on the issues that are already being debated and to expand opportunities to channel citizen participation.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Now the challenge for #PorEsoPropongo is to keep the project alive so that these proposals are actually heard and attended to, and for more proposals to emerge. Through purely volunteer effort, with the network that we established in just a few short months, we have already been able to get responses from three political parties, set up meetings with at least eleven senators, the Supreme Court of Justice, and the president of the National Commission of Human Rights, and representatives of all the political parties and the National Institute for Elections. They have all committed to reviewing topics and incorporating them into their agendas. In September, we will take further steps to gain ground with the new legislators and elected officials, in the hopes that they will take up some of these proposals.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But the most important thing is to take these messages to the people that participated. We want to demonstrate that, as citizens, we have the possibility to open new doors for dialogue with our representatives and with the institutions that are ours—as </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://rendiciondecuentas.org.mx/author/mauricio-merino/" target="_blank">Mauricio Merino</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> insists—and not wait a set number of years to express ourselves through voting. Besides inviting people to add their postcards to all the spaces that have been used to display them, from the </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXVES4ouRVU" target="_blank">Monument to the Revolution</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, La Casa del Hijo del Ahuizote and their mobile art exhibitor, </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.facebook.com/poresopropongo/videos/vb.386237151543281/443469732486689/?type=2&amp;theater" target="_blank">Ahuizote Ambulante</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, the Art Festival </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/poresopropongo/17392553141/in/dateposted-public/" target="_blank">Constructo</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, the </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8x7TxsSIa-s" target="_blank">Caravan 43 in New York</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, and the </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/poresopropongo/17744799084/in/dateposted-public/" target="_blank">Latin American Studies Annual Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, #PorEsoPropongo has already motivated small groups to form their own initiatives, from schools to meetings with local officials. We hope that it inspires many more to continue searching for opportunities to express themselves, showing that there cannot be democracy without real civic participation.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/human-rights-mass-or-elite-movement" target="_blank" onMouseOver="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Masses_Elites_Inset_2.png'" onMouseOut="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Masses_Elites_Inset_1.png'"> <img src="http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Masses_Elites_Inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Human rights: Mass or elite movement? – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/karina-ansolabehere/mexico%E2%80%99s-crisis-is-rare-opportunity-for-domestic-rights-groups">Mexico’s crisis is a rare opportunity for domestic rights groups</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/ben-leather/no-more-doblecara-it%E2%80%99s-time-for-pe%C3%B1a-nieto-to-practise-what-he-preaches">No more doble-cara: it’s time for Peña Nieto to practise what he preaches</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jorge-g-casta%C3%B1eda/pe%C3%B1anieto-take-note-mexicans-are-embracing-human-rights">Peña-Nieto, take note: Mexicans are embracing human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/barbara-frey/doing-orwell-proud-%E2%80%9Chuman-rights%E2%80%9D-slogans-in-mexico">Doing Orwell proud: “human rights” slogans in Mexico </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/natalia-saltalamacchia/three-decades-of-socialization-later-mexicans-view-%E2%80%9Chuman-ri">Three decades of socialization later, Mexicans view “human rights” as their own </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/donagene-barton-courtney-hillebrecht-sergio-wals/more-than-smoke-and-mirrors-citize">More than smoke and mirrors: citizen perceptions of human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow/mapping-human-rights-skepticism-in-mexico">Mapping human rights skepticism in Mexico </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/benjamin-james-waddell/linking-mass-emigration-violence-and-human-rights-violations">Linking mass emigration, violence and human rights violations in Mexico</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/janice-gallagher/neither-elites-nor-masses-protecting-human-rights-in-real-world">Neither elites nor masses: protecting human rights in the real world</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/alejandro-anaya-mu%C3%B1oz/international-%E2%80%9Cnaming-and-shaming%E2%80%9D-of-mexico-won%E2%80%99t-suffice-wi">International “naming and shaming” of Mexico won’t suffice without massive domestic mobilization </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/karina-ansolabehere/reforming-and-transforming-multi-directional-investigation-of-h">Reforming and transforming: a multi-directional investigation of human rights</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Melissa Ortiz Massó Alexandra Délano Central and South America, & the Caribbean Human rights resonance in Mexico Human rights: mass or elite movement? Mon, 06 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Melissa Ortiz Massó and Alexandra Délano 94093 at https://opendemocracy.net Research-based messaging changes public support for human rights https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/researchbased-messaging-changes-public-support-for-human-rights <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/8ArxaRCVqiWWnmujz9qWszdov7JtGTCHjvVhlGk92Mc/mtime:1435859278/files/Krys1.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Amidst widespread negative views on human rights in the UK, public opinion research can help improve outreach strategies. A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Public Opinion and Human Rights</a>.&nbsp;<span><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/los-mensajes-basados-en-la-investigaci%C3%B3n-cambian-el-apoyo-p%C3%BAblico-para-" target="_blank">Español</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/les-messages-fond%C3%A9s-sur-la-recherche-font-%C3%A9voluer-le-soutien-public-en-" target="_blank">Français</a></strong></em></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Since the early May election, human rights chatter has taken over the United Kingdom (UK). The Conservatives, now in a parliamentary majority, hope to repeal the Human Rights Act of 1998, which gives citizens the ability to raise human rights cases in UK courts, and change Britain’s relationship with the European Court of Human Rights. The pro-human rights camp, for its part, is mobilizing to counter this message.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Research shows, however, that pro-human rights ideas are not getting through to the general public. To up their game, advocates must invest in more and better research, and use the results to reframe their work. Taking audience insight research and turning it into effective communication with human rights sceptics is a significant, but necessary, challenge.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">An </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://valuesandframes.org/how-not-to-talk-about-human-rights/" target="_blank">analysis</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> of human rights discourse by </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://counterpoint.uk.com/" target="_blank">Counterpoint</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://publicinterest.org.uk/" target="_blank">the Public Interest Research Center (PIRC) </a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;and my organization, Equally Ours, shows that in the UK, media narratives typically link human rights to “undeserving” groups and to anti-European views. The media portrays human rights as undermining, rather than enhancing, traditional freedoms, and as purely legal protections, rather than as tools to empower citizens. </span></p><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><strong>Figure 1: % Positive and negative messages about human rights in the UK media, 2013</strong></span></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/X4P9Hq_hR37bDxVS06YMHsd8pjRVV9rlEqWRQOFlByQ/mtime:1435752659/files/KrysChart1.jpg"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/X4P9Hq_hR37bDxVS06YMHsd8pjRVV9rlEqWRQOFlByQ/mtime:1435752659/files/KrysChart1.jpg" /></a></div> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><em>Source: &nbsp;Building Bridges: Connecting with values to reframe and build support for human rights. Contact <a href="mailto:info@equally-ours.org.uk" target="_blank">info@equally-ours.org.uk</a> for a copy.</em></span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Consider Figure 1, which analyses human rights messages appearing in broadsheet and tabloid UK newspapers, political blogs and parliamentary speeches in 2013. Researchers identified, classified and measured the frequency of positive and negative frames, and compared their frequency across the media in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">As Figure 1 suggests, the UK human rights conversation that year was overwhelmingly negative. The most frequently repeated frame was that UK human rights protections <em>decrease national security</em>, closely followed by the view that human rights <em>reduce the UK’s sovereignty</em>.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The frames shown in green are positive about human rights. They are not used very frequently; the most common is that human rights laws “protect our basic rights”, a frame that </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.equally-ours.org.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/A-practical-guide-to-communicating-human-rights-FINAL.pdf" target="_blank">research at Equally Ours</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> suggests isn’t the most persuasive. Instead, our polling shows that when advocates argue that, “<em>everyone</em> has human rights”, they do a better job of persuading sceptics that human rights are good. The media analysis, in other words, suggests that human rights groups should shift their focus to speak about human rights in more effective ways.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Our analysis of the “everyone has human rights” frame shows that this message </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://valuesandframes.org/handbook/2-how-values-work/" target="_blank">triggers intrinsic values</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> that build greater public support for social justice.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Amnesty International UK’s </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://keeptheact.uk/#first-slide" target="_blank">Keep the Act</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> campaign is the kind of research-based campaign we advocate. The research showed that when advocates link the Human Rights Act to ordinary people and everyday concerns, this is more persuasive than citing international or legal standards. Building on our research, Amnesty identified a growing UK cohort that is positive or persuadable about human rights, especially when linked to things they already care about. With the help of advanced statistical analysis, we uncovered messages that target audiences agree with, and that make people feel more positive towards human rights overall.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Based on this research, Amnesty discussed stories like that of </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.equally-ours.org.uk/need-help-disability/" target="_blank">Jan Sutton</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, who has multiple sclerosis and successfully challenged her local authority’s proposed care package, which would have confined her to bed. Jan’s story is human, easily understandable to a UK audience, and is an example of the stories missing from the way human rights advocates generally speak of their work.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/8ArxaRCVqiWWnmujz9qWszdov7JtGTCHjvVhlGk92Mc/mtime:1435859278/files/Krys1.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/Amnesty International UK (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> British youth outside Amnesty UK's Annual General Meeting. "Amnesty identified a growing UK cohort that is positive or persuadable about human rights, especially when linked to things they already care about."</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Although the legal flavour of human rights may be unavoidable, it is often unhelpful. Human rights practitioners know they need to reach a public that switches off when they hear legal or technical language such as the “universality” of human rights, or “universal jurisdiction” of international courts. &nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Instead, research shows that the phrase, “human rights are for all of us,” is more accessible than “human rights are universal”. The two phrases resonate quite differently.</span></p><p dir="ltr">Other groups are also taking up the challenge of research-based campaigning. In April 2015, for example, one group launched the <a href="http://rightsinfo.org" target="_blank">Rights Info</a> website to make the law more accessible, and to redress the way in which human rights are talked about. One of the ways they do this it be creating easily accessible infographics, such as this one:</p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/ghZ2DIJYqmTeyZzj3mDII3CgR4TLOV7mbyJUZNPYcg4/mtime:1435752669/files/KrysChart2.jpg"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/ghZ2DIJYqmTeyZzj3mDII3CgR4TLOV7mbyJUZNPYcg4/mtime:1435752669/files/KrysChart2.jpg" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Highly trusted NGOs in other issue areas are an important ally. </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.ageuk.org.uk" target="_blank">Age UK</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, for example, is a leading charity for older people, and has been campaigning on behalf of elders abused in care homes. This year, the group released a short film, “</span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://t.co/fLI6yzQ6CC" target="_blank">Charles’ story</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">”, which powerfully highlights links between dignity, respect and human rights. The film was designed to evoke intrinsic values and an emotional viewer response, resulting in positive feelings about human rights. At the time of writing, Charles’ Story had reached over a million people with more than 300,000 unique views. For many, this could be their first exposure to a positive take on human rights.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Consider also </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.womensaid.org.uk/" target="_blank">Women’s Aid</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, a domestic violence charity that launched a film targeting football fans and their clubs. Entitled “</span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2MFsmpbAlA&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">Unpunished</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">”, the film uses football imagery and metaphors to address domestic violence. Again, the strategy was to introduce human rights to a new audience in an unexpected context. These films do not educate about the details of human rights; rather, they connect issues the viewer <em>already cares about</em> with “human rights”, perhaps for the first time.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When the discourse on human rights is as negative as it currently is in the UK, it’s hard to tell a positive story. And it will take more than a few words or slogans to influence the many unconvinced people that human rights are worth defending. But audience insight research has repeatedly shown that the public is more positive about human rights when it understands how human rights are connected to the values and freedoms they already care about.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Public opinion research helps us understand the frames, values and messages that can help people view human rights more favourably. We must use these insights to change our messages; otherwise, we will just carry on preaching to a choir that sings a song most people don’t like or understand.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_2.jpg '" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg '"> <img src=" https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Public opinion and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-e-mendelson/doubling-down-on-human-rights-data">Doubling down on human rights data</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jeongwoo-koo/public-opinion-on-human-rights-is-true-gauge-of-progress">Public opinion on human rights is the true gauge of progress</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kathy-frankovic/does-it-matter-when-polls-go-wrong">Does it matter when polls go wrong?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/datadriven-optimism-for-global-r">Data-driven optimism for global rights activists</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/donagene-barton-courtney-hillebrecht-sergio-wals/more-than-smoke-and-mirrors-citize">More than smoke and mirrors: citizen perceptions of human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow/mapping-human-rights-skepticism-in-mexico">Mapping human rights skepticism in Mexico </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/let-pollsters-pick-navigating-public-opinion-in-israel">Let the pollsters pick? Navigating public opinion in Israel</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dahlia-scheindlin/in-israel-implementing-human-rights-feels-wrong">In Israel, implementing human rights feels wrong</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/scott-d-sagan-benjamin-valentino/use-of-force-american-public-and-ethics-of-war">Use of force: the American public and the ethics of war</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-kreps-geoffrey-wallace/international-law-and-us-public-support-for-drone-stri">International law and US public support for drone strikes</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-shannon-golden/struggle-for-truly-grassroots-human-rights-move">The struggle for a truly grassroots human rights movement</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Rachel Krys Western Europe Public Opinion and Human Rights Fri, 03 Jul 2015 09:00:00 +0000 Rachel Krys 93836 at https://opendemocracy.net Public opinion on human rights is the true gauge of progress https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/jeongwoo-koo/public-opinion-on-human-rights-is-true-gauge-of-progress <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/oDjoZb4AbdCJVhXhql57J-9oGs2LA3zQICfrqHTUnM8/mtime:1435749603/files/Koo.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>External, “objective” measures of South Korea’s human rights progress will only take us so far. What we need now are the opinions of the people. A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Public Opinion and Human Rights</a>. &nbsp;<span><em><strong><em><strong><span><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/jeongwoo-koo/la-opini%C3%B3n-p%C3%BAblica-sobre-los-derechos-humanos-es-el-verdadero-indicado" target="_blank">Español</a></span></strong></em>, </strong></em></span><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/jeongwoo-koo/%EC%9D%B8%EA%B6%8C%EC%A7%84%EB%B3%B4%EC%9D%98-%EC%A7%84%EC%A0%95%ED%95%9C-%EC%B8%A1%EC%A0%95%EA%B8%B0%EC%A4%80%EC%9C%BC%EB%A1%9C%EC%84%9C-%EA%B3%B5%EA%B3%B5%EC%97%AC%EB%A1%A0" target="_blank">한국어&nbsp;</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">In the 1960s, Nordic countries initiated awareness campaigns to mobilize support for their aid programs, which effectively galvanized public enthusiasm for the delivery of aid. Consequently, Nordic aid had a strong development orientation and sustained broader humanitarian goals, including enhancing human rights in developing countries. The same logic can be applied to the connection between public support of human rights and the chances that a national government will set human rights as a public policy agenda. Without insistence from the public, elected leaders will rarely give priority to respecting and protecting human rights in the country and around the world. </p><p dir="ltr">Central to the methods of measuring this public opinion is the social survey. But such a “<a href="http://sskhumanrights.org/ssk-brief-no-1/" target="_blank">human rights survey</a>” has not yet emerged as a substantiated and/or legitimated tool to capture public understanding of attitudes towards and experiences of human rights and their violations. For the most part, only sketchy opinion polls with selected items of human rights have appeared, and these provided a limited understanding of what citizens think about human rights. Consider, for example, the Foreign Policy Leadership Project, conducted by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, which began to assess the significance of human rights as a foreign policy frame in 1978. In particular, it asked the public to rate the importance of various American policy goals—including the goal of defending human rights in other countries—and found that the human rights goal consistently ranked lower than goals serving national interests. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><span class="mag-quote-right" style="line-height: 1.5;">The available opinion polls fall far short of conceptualizing and measuring human rights in a broader spectrum.&nbsp;</span>Even now, the available opinion polls fall far short of conceptualizing and measuring human rights in a broader spectrum, nor do they sufficiently or systematically identify individual traits responsible for higher or lower human rights orientations. Globally, there is an increasing consensus that human rights are multidimensional and that remarkable differences exist among global citizens in their human rights orientation. The existing data limitations have now pushed thoughtful people to design questionnaires explicitly and exclusively focused on human rights and their potential determinants.</p><p dir="ltr">That this innovation was recently made in South Korea contradicts a common belief that the country has a weak liberal tradition, shows reminiscences of authoritarian rules, and faces a continuing conflict with North Korea. After the adoption of a national human rights commission in 2001 under the leadership of President Kim Dae Jung, a Nobel Laureate, the country experienced a breakthrough around human rights. Not long after, in 2005, the National Human Rights Commission of South Korea (NHRCK) conducted the first human rights survey, which despite its considerable limitations <a href="http://cos.sagepub.com/content/55/1/45.abstract" target="_blank">planted the seeds for subsequent improved efforts at capturing public opinion on rights</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">The greatly refined 2011 National Human Rights Survey of South Korea (NHRSK) substantially improved upon the previous surveys: first, it was exclusively devoted to understanding general human rights with 170 questions. Second, it was based on a nationally representative sample. Third, many items were systematically derived from existing human rights opinion polls for comparability. Fourth, it captured multiple dimensions of human rights orientations as well as their contributing individual traits. Sponsored by NHRCK, NHRSK was designed by <a href="http://www.iks.or.kr/renew/addition/download.asp?ftype=abstract&amp;ftb=hm_issue_tb&amp;idx=1331" target="_blank">several Korean sociologists trained in eminent sociology programs in the US</a>.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/oDjoZb4AbdCJVhXhql57J-9oGs2LA3zQICfrqHTUnM8/mtime:1435749603/files/Koo.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Demotix/Ben Weller (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> A labor rights demonstration in Busan. "The 2011 NHRSK revealed that respondents had high levels of awareness of human rights. However, levels of actual respondent-participation in rights-promoting activities were much lower." </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p>The 2011 NHRSK revealed that respondents had fairly high levels of <strong>awareness</strong> of domestic and global human rights. However, levels of actual <strong>behavior</strong>—respondents’ participation in rights-promoting activities, such as making donations in <strong>support</strong> of minorities, signing petitions for human rights causes, having memberships in human rights NGOs—were much lower (see Figure 1). The level of support measured by respondents’ endorsement of pro-human rights policies remains in between. Over time, general awareness levels of both domestic and global human rights have moved upward (see Figure 2), confirming the widely known thesis of worldwide <a href="http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/sof/summary/v087/87.3.koo.html" target="_blank">human rights diffusion</a>. Even more interesting, the findings suggest that urban status, education and global citizenship are closely associated with higher awareness of and higher engagement in human rights. Liberal political outlook and higher level of trust are also correlated with higher awareness. Respondents’ socio-economic status, however, appear to be irrelevant to any dimension of human rights orientation. </p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Figure 1. Dimensions of Human Rights Orientations, South Korea (<a href="http://web.skku.edu/~socioadmin/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/03_Jeong-Woo_Koo_Korea-Observer_Final.pdf" target="_blank">Koo et al., 2015</a>)</strong></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/YFqLaRRLYWDAmEFCmksNDiQxvZzxE7JcuLlKiJjqNJ8/mtime:1435749633/files/KooChart1.jpg"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/YFqLaRRLYWDAmEFCmksNDiQxvZzxE7JcuLlKiJjqNJ8/mtime:1435749633/files/KooChart1.jpg" /></a></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Figure 2. Awareness of Human Rights Practices, South Korea (<a href="http://web.skku.edu/~socioadmin/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/03_Jeong-Woo_Koo_Korea-Observer_Final.pdf" target="_blank">Koo et al., 2015</a>)</strong></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dh0HQ7oGa7AYT_DQ7DgCIBzk_zSz7x8E-oK60PxID1I/mtime:1435749623/files/KooChart2.jpg"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dh0HQ7oGa7AYT_DQ7DgCIBzk_zSz7x8E-oK60PxID1I/mtime:1435749623/files/KooChart2.jpg" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr">In her <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/louise-arbour/geneva-spring-why-civil-society-needs-northsouth-solidarity" target="_blank">contribution to the debate on internationalizing human rights</a>, Louise Arbour highlighted the need of each country to look for indicators to measure progress, regression or stagnation of human rights. She suggested that a policy measure, such as the Universal Periodic Review, might serve the purpose of comparing each country against its own record. </p><p dir="ltr">Missing here, however, are citizens’ perceptions and experiences of human rights in each country. After all, the practice of human rights is experienced by individuals and thus individual persons are the only genuine bearers and/or appraisers of human rights. The future reforms of the global human rights policy need to be guided by what the local constituents think about the current state of human rights protection for women, the disabled, the elderly and the unemployed. Therefore, policy interventions need to be made in ways to monitor their experiences of, and attitudes towards human rights in order to have a real impact on rights practices. For instance, the National Human Rights Commission of South Korea is currently in the process of transforming the survey-based subjective data into the DB of human rights statistics in an attempt to make it publically available. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The UN Human Rights Council, in collaboration with national human rights institutions and NGOs, should take the lead in considering the voices not only from the victims of human rights abuses but also from the local public—normal citizens—in many parts of the world. We need to further develop human rights surveys or other opinion polls into globally agreeable vehicles for the measurement of global citizens’ human rights orientations. In fact, until now, <a href="http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&amp;type=summary&amp;url=/journals/human_rights_quarterly/v034/34.4.koo.pdf" target="_blank">most researchers have looked for “objective” indicators of human rights practices, as perceived by outside observers</a>. What is now required is a better sense of how the people themselves feel about human rights issues, infringements and organizations. If realized, all these promising efforts would eventually lead to the spread of human rights culture worldwide and result in the real improvements of human rights on the ground.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_2.jpg '" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg '"> <img src=" https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Public opinion and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-e-mendelson/doubling-down-on-human-rights-data">Doubling down on human rights data</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/researchbased-messaging-changes-public-support-for-human-rights">Research-based messaging changes public support for human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kathy-frankovic/does-it-matter-when-polls-go-wrong">Does it matter when polls go wrong?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/datadriven-optimism-for-global-r">Data-driven optimism for global rights activists</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/let-pollsters-pick-navigating-public-opinion-in-israel">Let the pollsters pick? Navigating public opinion in Israel</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/donagene-barton-courtney-hillebrecht-sergio-wals/more-than-smoke-and-mirrors-citize">More than smoke and mirrors: citizen perceptions of human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow/mapping-human-rights-skepticism-in-mexico">Mapping human rights skepticism in Mexico </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dahlia-scheindlin/in-israel-implementing-human-rights-feels-wrong">In Israel, implementing human rights feels wrong</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/scott-d-sagan-benjamin-valentino/use-of-force-american-public-and-ethics-of-war">Use of force: the American public and the ethics of war</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-kreps-geoffrey-wallace/international-law-and-us-public-support-for-drone-stri">International law and US public support for drone strikes</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-shannon-golden/struggle-for-truly-grassroots-human-rights-move">The struggle for a truly grassroots human rights movement</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Jeong-Woo Koo East and South-East Asia Public Opinion and Human Rights Fri, 03 Jul 2015 09:00:00 +0000 Jeong-Woo Koo 93834 at https://opendemocracy.net Use of force: the American public and the ethics of war https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/scott-d-sagan-benjamin-valentino/use-of-force-american-public-and-ethics-of-war <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/cDYe89gu_Cb88PaqNPxJNVMRXbXQ88j5crvpKPwt0Bw/mtime:1435743634/files/Sagano.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Survey data suggest that most Americans weigh the ethics of war with a heavy bias towards protecting American lives and national security. A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Public Opinion and Human Rights.</a><em><strong>&nbsp;<span><em><strong><span><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/scott-d-sagan-benjamin-valentino/uso-de-la-fuerza-el-p%C3%BAblico-estadounidense-y-la-%C3%A9t" target="_blank">Español</a>,</span></strong></em>&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/scott-d-sagan-benjamin-valentino/l%E2%80%99utilisation-de-la-force-le-public-am%C3%A9ricain-et-l" target="_blank">Français</a>,&nbsp;</span></strong></em><em><strong><span><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/scott-d-sagan-benjamin-valentino/%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%AE%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D9%88%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D8%A3%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D9%85%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%83%D9%8A-%D9%88%D8%A3%D8%AE%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%82%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B1%D8%A8" target="_blank">العربية</a></span></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">The philosophical and legal doctrine known collectively as “<a href="http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/war/#2" target="_blank">just war theory</a>” has been the prime focus of scholarly debate about the ethics of war in the West for hundreds of years. It also provides the basis for most extant international humanitarian law governing the conduct of war and has directly influenced the US military’s official targeting doctrine.</p><p dir="ltr">But to what extent are the American public’s views on the use of force consistent with just war doctrine’s ethical principles? Understanding the extent to which the public has internalized these principles provides insights into how warfare is likely to be practiced in the real world because, at least in democratic states, the public exerts an important influence over government policies.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Our research explores the public’s acceptance of three key moral principles from just war theory. These principles are usually referred to as “distinction” (sometimes called “non-combatant immunity”), which prohibits the intentional targeting of non-combatants; “proportionality,” which asks military decision makers to weigh the costs to foreign civilians of a particular operation against the operation’s contribution to winning the war; and “due care” which requires that combatants try to minimize collateral damage, even if that means accepting some increased risk to themselves.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/cDYe89gu_Cb88PaqNPxJNVMRXbXQ88j5crvpKPwt0Bw/mtime:1435743634/files/Sagano.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Flickr/MarineCorps NewYork (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Public opinion survey results paint a picture of an American public more committed to US national strategic interests and the lives of American military personal than human rights-induced pragmatism.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">To explore these questions, we conducted three related survey experiments in August 2014 on a large, representative sample of American citizens. In each experiment, subjects were randomly assigned to read a different mock news story about a hypothetical US military crisis in Afghanistan. In each article, subjects read that the United States had identified a Taliban target in an Afghan village and was considering various options to attack it. Each story then varied just one critical aspect of the scenario to highlight the application of different just war principles.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In the distinction experiment, subjects read that the US had discovered a chemical weapons facility in the village and was considering two airstrike options for attacking the target. The first option, a small-scale strike, had a 45% chance of destroying the target but would result in an estimated 20 collateral Afghan civilian fatalities. The second option, a large-scale strike, would double the chances of destroying the target to 90%, but increase the Afghan civilian fatalities in the village to 500. The different stories then varied whether the Afghan villagers were political supporters or opponents of the Taliban and whether or not the US would intentionally target the civilians. After reading the story, subjects were then asked which strike option they most preferred.</span></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/tassovPakGYFtcXxh-6lDP-Md464S_s1Si8Qp8nGrOU/mtime:1435743651/files/SaganoChart1.jpg"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/tassovPakGYFtcXxh-6lDP-Md464S_s1Si8Qp8nGrOU/mtime:1435743651/files/SaganoChart1.jpg" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Contrary to the principle of distinction, we found that the public did not decrease its support for the large-scale strike even when the story stated that the strike would deliberately target civilian dwellings in order to “send a strong signal” to other villages not to support the Taliban (see condition B vs. C in figure 1). Indeed, nearly two out of three Americans expressed a preference for the large-scale strike when it intentionally targeted civilians. Moreover, again contrary to just war teachings, we found that Americans were significantly more likely to prefer the large-scale strike when the victims were described as political supporters of the Taliban than when the victims were Taliban opponents.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In the due care experiment, subjects again read that the US had discovered a Taliban chemical weapons laboratory. In this story, however, US leaders were choosing between an artillery strike, which would kill 200 Afghan civilians but avoid any risk to US troops, and a house-to-house assault, which would kill no Afghan civilians but placed US troops at greater risk. The news stories then increased the number of US military deaths in the house-to-house option from 5 to 50, while holding Afghan civilian casualties and all other features of the story constant.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Consistent with the principle of due care, we found that support for the artillery strike declined as the number of US military fatalities it would avert declined (see figure 2). Even when the artillery strike would avert the deaths 5 American soldiers at the cost of 200 Afghan civilian deaths, however, only a bare majority (50.5%) preferred the more discriminating door-to-door assault. When the artillery strike would allow the United States to avoid 50 military deaths, the preference for the artillery strike increased to nearly three-quarters of the population.</span></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/BRe3raqdP9ZfWqvJVzYuuityvk2OUOLV3sc08R0xk9Y/mtime:1435743668/files/SaganoChart2.jpg"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/BRe3raqdP9ZfWqvJVzYuuityvk2OUOLV3sc08R0xk9Y/mtime:1435743668/files/SaganoChart2.jpg" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"></span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In the proportionality experiment, subjects read that the United States had received warning of a meeting of Taliban leaders in an Afghan village. US leaders were again deciding between a small-scale strike, which had a 45% chance of destroying the target was estimated to result in 20 Afghan collateral civilian deaths, and a large-scale strike, which increased the chances of destroying the target to 90% but also increased civilian casualties to 200. In one story, subjects read that the Taliban leaders were “low ranking” and that killing them “would have little effect on the outcome of the war.” In the second story, the Taliban leaders were described as “high ranking,” and the story stated that killing them would “have a major effect on the outcome of the war.”</span></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/FXoBp8BnKMBAMQbpT8vfzS5L6wF95WpONLnTUujGvL4/mtime:1435743680/files/SaganoChart3.jpg"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/FXoBp8BnKMBAMQbpT8vfzS5L6wF95WpONLnTUujGvL4/mtime:1435743680/files/SaganoChart3.jpg" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Our results indicate that Americans do appear to weigh foreign civilian deaths against the military importance of the target as the proportionality principle advises (see figure 3). Support for the less discriminant, large-scale strike dropped by over 20% when the meeting was described as “low level”. Nevertheless, a surprisingly large minority of the public (44%) preferred the large-scale strike—killing 180 additional Afghan civilians—even when American military leaders explicitly concluded that it would have little impact on the war.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"></span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Taken together, these findings reveal that the public’s commitment to the principles of distinction, proportionality and due care are heavily biased in favor of protecting American lives and national security interests in ways that suggest limited support, at best, for most interpretations of just war doctrine. This conclusion is reinforced by our </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/FINAL_APSR_Atomic_Aversion.pdf">previous research</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> that found high levels of public support for using nuclear weapons when those weapons provided a substantial military advantage over conventional weapons. Our findings suggest we cannot rely on the moral instincts of the American public to act as a strong check on American military operations that violate human rights.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Although these findings may appear inconsistent with the research by <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/sarah-kreps-geoffrey-wallace/international-law-and-us-public-support-for-drone-stri" target="_blank">Sarah Kreps and Geoffrey Wallace</a>, which finds that the public is influenced by concerns about compliance with international law, our results are more complementary than they may seem. Kreps and Wallace find that providing the public with arguments that drone strikes violate international law reduces support for drone strikes by between 6-8%. Yet over 40% of the public approved of the strikes even when told they would violate international law (this was almost twice as many subjects as opposed the strikes). Thus, as in our experiments, although the public is not unmoved by concerns for justice in the use of force, many Americans appear willing to put aside those concerns in times of war.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_2.jpg '" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg '"> <img src=" https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Public opinion and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-e-mendelson/doubling-down-on-human-rights-data">Doubling down on human rights data</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-kreps-geoffrey-wallace/international-law-and-us-public-support-for-drone-stri">International law and US public support for drone strikes</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jeongwoo-koo/public-opinion-on-human-rights-is-true-gauge-of-progress">Public opinion on human rights is the true gauge of progress</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/researchbased-messaging-changes-public-support-for-human-rights">Research-based messaging changes public support for human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kathy-frankovic/does-it-matter-when-polls-go-wrong">Does it matter when polls go wrong?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/datadriven-optimism-for-global-r">Data-driven optimism for global rights activists</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/let-pollsters-pick-navigating-public-opinion-in-israel">Let the pollsters pick? Navigating public opinion in Israel</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dahlia-scheindlin/in-israel-implementing-human-rights-feels-wrong">In Israel, implementing human rights feels wrong</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow/mapping-human-rights-skepticism-in-mexico">Mapping human rights skepticism in Mexico </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/donagene-barton-courtney-hillebrecht-sergio-wals/more-than-smoke-and-mirrors-citize">More than smoke and mirrors: citizen perceptions of human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-shannon-golden/struggle-for-truly-grassroots-human-rights-move">The struggle for a truly grassroots human rights movement</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Benjamin A. Valentino Scott D Sagan Canada & the US Public Opinion and Human Rights Thu, 02 Jul 2015 09:05:00 +0000 Benjamin A. Valentino and Scott D Sagan 93831 at https://opendemocracy.net International law and US public support for drone strikes https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/sarah-kreps-geoffrey-wallace/international-law-and-us-public-support-for-drone-stri <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/OksTCJ3OfBd8b4ftalclmNuwqLXcGO9QROcYjmKBTao/mtime:1435732861/files/Kreps.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>When it comes to public opinion on drone strikes, the UN and NGOs may have more influence than we think. A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Public Opinion and Human Rights</a>.&nbsp;<span><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/sarah-kreps-geoffrey-wallace/el-derecho-internacional-y-el-apoyo-de-la-opini%C3%B3n-p%C3%BAbl" target="_blank">Español</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/sarah-kreps-geoffrey-wallace/le-droit-international-et-le-soutien-public-aux-%C3%A9tatsu" target="_blank">Français</a>,&nbsp;</strong></em></span><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/sarah-kreps-geoffrey-wallace/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D9%8A-%D9%88-%D8%AF%D8%B9%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D8%B9%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D9%85%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%83%D9%8A-%D9%84%D9%84%D8%B6%D8%B1%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%88%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%84%D9%84%D8%B7" target="_blank">العربية</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">The use of unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, in United States counterterrorism operations has become a “<a target="_blank" href="http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2013/05/23-drones-obama-singer">key feature of the administration’s foreign policy</a>”. In late 2014, the US reached a milestone by conducting its <a target="_blank" href="http://blogs.cfr.org/zenko/2014/11/21/americas-500th-drone-strike/">five hundredth</a> drone strike to target suspected terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.</p><p dir="ltr">This growing reliance on drones to target militants has generated widespread <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/07/14/global-opposition-to-u-s-surveillance-and-drones-but-limited-harm-to-americas-image/">condemnation</a> worldwide. It has also become the subject of considerable controversy within the US itself. Recent debates have largely centered around two sets of questions: 1) the effectiveness of drones in eliminating terror threats; and 2) the legitimacy of strikes under international law. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204652904577193673318589462">Domestic</a> <a target="_blank" href="http://www.state.gov/s/l/releases/remarks/139119.htm">supporters</a> point to drones as both effective for disrupting terrorist networks, and consistent with legal principles of self-defense and military necessity. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/yemen1013_ForUpload_1.pdf">Critics</a> <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amnestyusa.org/research/reports/will-i-be-next-us-drone-strikes-in-pakistan">respond</a> that attacks spawn grievances resulting in more terrorists than they eliminate, and represent fundamental violations of international law by breaching other countries’ sovereignty while harming countless civilians.&nbsp;Detractors and defenders alike have sought to directly sway the US public by putting forward these contending arguments in the marketplace of ideas.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/OksTCJ3OfBd8b4ftalclmNuwqLXcGO9QROcYjmKBTao/mtime:1435732861/files/Kreps.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Flickr/Ministry of Defense (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> A Reaper drone returns to base in Kandahar, Afghanistan. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Despite this vibrant debate, little is known about which voices or arguments resonate most with the US public. Do appeals to international law change citizens’ opinions toward drones, or is the public more persuaded by claims about their effectiveness? Despite its central importance in helping to understand the roots of domestic attitudes toward the use of force in the United States (and potentially beyond to other frequent drone users, like </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.ibtimes.com/drones-warriors-or-robots-israel-debates-tomorrows-conflicts-1326949" style="line-height: 1.5;">Israel</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">), answers to this question are far from obvious.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">On its face, opponents of US drone strikes should face an uphill battle, especially when pushing criticisms grounded in international law. </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.uvm.edu/~dguber/POLS234/articles/huddy.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">Across</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.jstor.org/stable/3791018?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents" style="line-height: 1.5;">various</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/Democracy-Risk-Terrorist-American-Politics/dp/0226520552/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1429560695&amp;sr=8-1" style="line-height: 1.5;">countries</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, the threat of terrorism tends to generate fear, anxiety and a thirst for security, reactions that should make citizens suspicious of upholding legal commitments. Given the secrecy often surrounding drone strikes, the US government also enjoys an immense informational advantage over the program’s details. Moreover, the largely </span><a target="_blank" href="http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/it-s-official-bipartisan-drone-warfare-is-here-to-stay" style="line-height: 1.5;">bipartisan</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> agreement amongst Republican and Democratic politicians behind drone policies (a rarity in the current polarized US landscape) presents formidable obstacles for any contrary positions put forward by critics. In line with this political consensus, available polling data in recent years points to </span><a target="_blank" href="http://rap.sagepub.com/content/1/1/2053168014536533" style="line-height: 1.5;">consistently favorable</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> US public support for drone strikes, views that are seemingly impervious to outside critiques (legal or otherwise).</span></p><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><b>US Public Opinion Data on Support for Drone Strikes, 2011-2014</b></span></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/r5vXcaeMOTNezakv8APyFhpJ0oTwRMmg6Znvpzel_QI/mtime:1435732897/files/KrepsChart1.jpg" style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/r5vXcaeMOTNezakv8APyFhpJ0oTwRMmg6Znvpzel_QI/mtime:1435732897/files/KrepsChart1.jpg" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">To investigate the basis of public support for drone strikes—whether focused primarily on concerns of military effectiveness or international law—we conducted a survey experiment in September 2013 with a national sample of around 2,000 US adults, with assistance from Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (</span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.tessexperiments.org/" style="line-height: 1.5;">TESS</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">) and the survey research firm </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.knowledgenetworks.com/ganp/" style="line-height: 1.5;">GfK</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. Before being asked about their support or opposition toward drone strikes, respondents were randomly given additional information about the drones debate that differed on two main dimensions. First was the type of actor making the argument—the US Government (specifically the Joint Chiefs of Staff given </span><a target="_blank" href="http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8933.html" style="line-height: 1.5;">their</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.unc.edu/~fbaum/teaching/POLI195_Fall09/Druckman_2001_JOP.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">stature</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> on the use of force), the United Nations, or a human rights nongovernmental organization (NGO) like Human Rights Watch (HRW); and second, the line of argumentation for or against drone strikes—that is, was it based on military effectiveness, the violation of national sovereignty, or the violation of civilian protection. To remain consistent with the existing drones debate in America, the US government position was in favor of the effectiveness and international arguments, while the UN and NGO sides took a more critical stance. By comparing the answers of respondents in each of these groups to a separate baseline group that received no additional prompting, we could help to isolate the relative effect of arguments rooted in international law versus military effectiveness on support for drone strikes (for a full summary of the survey, see </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.tessexperiments.org/data/wallacebrief13.html" style="line-height: 1.5;">here</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">).</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Despite reasons to expect that drone strikes would pose a difficult case for the arguments put forward by the UN and NGOs, we find that these critics actually possess a concrete ability to sway public opinion, though with important caveats. Compared to their UN and NGO opponents, government claims actually have little additional impact on how its citizens think about drones. By contrast, when evaluating the various arguments concerning the merits of drone strikes, citizens appear particularly moved by criticisms rooted in international law. Pronouncements by either the UN or Human Rights Watch (HRW) that drone strikes violate the sovereignty of targeted states, or do not take sufficient measures to prevent civilian deaths, were associated with a drop of 6-8% in public approval for drones. Although modest, the available polling data suggest this would translate into a much more even split between US citizens for or against the use of drone strikes by their government. The relative impact of international legal appeals is also of similar size to that found in other studies on public opinion in related </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.geoffreyprwallace.com/uploads/1/3/1/4/13143829/wallace_io2013.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">issue</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.stephenchaudoin.com/Survey_IO.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">areas</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p style="text-align: center;" dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><b>The Effect of Arguments and Elites on US Support for Drone Strikes</b></span></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/vdgwxx6KylxVukxhT1OU0cSh4cC15if1Gk3f7JKrbqs/mtime:1435732884/files/KrepsChart2.jpg" style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/vdgwxx6KylxVukxhT1OU0cSh4cC15if1Gk3f7JKrbqs/mtime:1435732884/files/KrepsChart2.jpg" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">On the other hand, the public does not view all arguments equally. Claims both for and against the military effectiveness of drone strikes had fairly minor effects. While UN or NGO criticisms are still associated with declines in support, the effects are half the size found for the international law arguments based on violations of national sovereignty or civilian protection.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"></span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Taken together, our analysis suggests that in the case of counterterrorism, which should in many respects be a hard test for international law, appeals drawing on international legal arguments can influence the attitudes of citizens in the country that is currently the world’s foremost user of drone strikes. This is surprising given the </span><a target="_blank" href="http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8933.html" style="line-height: 1.5;">large</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span><a target="_blank" href="http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&amp;aid=8842912&amp;fileId=S0003055412000597" style="line-height: 1.5;">literature</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.jstor.org/stable/174436" style="line-height: 1.5;">showing</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> that Americans tend to be prudent and realpolitik in terms of their support for the use of force, not driven by concerns of legality or morality. Our results confirm that UN and NGO critics of US policy can gain some traction even within a relatively skeptical public. Their arguments are likely to resonate most when centered on legal issues, however, rather than on questions concerning the military effectiveness of drone strikes.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">These findings also have important implications for what has become one of the “</span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2013/05/23-drones-obama-singer" style="line-height: 1.5;">signature aspects</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">” of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy, the use of drones to target suspected terrorists. A </span><a target="_blank" href="http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10515.html" style="line-height: 1.5;">number</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> of </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2005/RAND_MG231.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">studies</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> have convincingly shown that public opinion matters in foreign policy, if not affecting whether a country initiates the use of force, but by affecting the sustainability of that decision. The US was able to intervene in countries like Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia and Iraq, but leaders ultimately found that their ability to continue those interventions was hamstrung by growing public opposition. Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Michael Hayden has implied that public attitudes are important in the specific context of American drone strikes, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/30/nsa-director-intelligence-public-support">suggesting</a> that “no president can do something repeatedly over a long term without that broad popular support.”</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"></span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">While more work certainly remains to be done, our research suggests that international law presents an important pathway through which controversial policies like drone strikes will be debated and challenged in the marketplace of ideas, both in the US and in the international community more broadly.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_2.jpg '" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg '"> <img src=" https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Public opinion and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-e-mendelson/doubling-down-on-human-rights-data">Doubling down on human rights data</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/scott-d-sagan-benjamin-valentino/use-of-force-american-public-and-ethics-of-war">Use of force: the American public and the ethics of war</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jeongwoo-koo/public-opinion-on-human-rights-is-true-gauge-of-progress">Public opinion on human rights is the true gauge of progress</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/researchbased-messaging-changes-public-support-for-human-rights">Research-based messaging changes public support for human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kathy-frankovic/does-it-matter-when-polls-go-wrong">Does it matter when polls go wrong?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/datadriven-optimism-for-global-r">Data-driven optimism for global rights activists</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/donagene-barton-courtney-hillebrecht-sergio-wals/more-than-smoke-and-mirrors-citize">More than smoke and mirrors: citizen perceptions of human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow/mapping-human-rights-skepticism-in-mexico">Mapping human rights skepticism in Mexico </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dahlia-scheindlin/in-israel-implementing-human-rights-feels-wrong">In Israel, implementing human rights feels wrong</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/let-pollsters-pick-navigating-public-opinion-in-israel">Let the pollsters pick? Navigating public opinion in Israel</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-shannon-golden/struggle-for-truly-grassroots-human-rights-move">The struggle for a truly grassroots human rights movement</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Geoffrey Wallace Sarah Kreps Canada & the US Public Opinion and Human Rights Thu, 02 Jul 2015 09:00:00 +0000 Geoffrey Wallace and Sarah Kreps 93828 at https://opendemocracy.net More than smoke and mirrors: citizen perceptions of human rights https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/donagene-barton-courtney-hillebrecht-sergio-wals/more-than-smoke-and-mirrors-citize <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/e-WpniDcEs8Zze9WUAMIu7B-QvokmK1wNgmJhJM4ptg/mtime:1435304083/files/Barton.jpg" alt="" width="140" />Study finds that Mexicans’ perceptions of human rights protections are linked to individuals’ evaluations of their leaders, their government and democratization. A contribution to <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Public Opinion and Human Rights.</a>&nbsp;<em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/donagene-barton-courtney-hillebrecht-sergio-wals/m%C3%A1s-que-humo-y-espejos-las-percepc" target="_blank">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Scholars and practitioners, from <a href="https://www.gutenberg.org/files/815/815-h/815-h.htm" target="_blank">Alexis de Tocqueville</a> to the <a href="http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/democracy/human_rights.shtml" target="_blank">United Nations</a>, have long <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.0092-5853.2004.00086.x/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&amp;userIsAuthenticated=false" target="_blank">argued</a> about the connection between <a href="http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/45.html" target="_blank">democracy and human rights</a>. </p><p dir="ltr">Democratizing states promise improved human rights practices, and liberal democracies embody many core human rights principles. Further, democratic institutions are often necessary to safeguard human rights and implement international human rights laws. This is not to suggest that<a href="http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2014/09/05/why-democracy-doesnt-always-improve-human-rights/" target="_blank"> democracies fully protect human rights</a> or that <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2478.2005.00372.x/full" target="_blank">all democracies provide the same levels of human rights protections</a>. This also does not imply <a href="http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/toc/45.html" target="_blank">that non-democracies cannot protect human rights</a>. Instead, the purported connection between democracy and human rights suggests that stronger democracies bring better human rights protections. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Missing from these arguments, however, is how citizens themselves understand the connection between human rights and democracy.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><span class="mag-quote-right" style="line-height: 1.5;">The more citizens believe their human rights to be protected, the more likely they are to support their president, government and the democratization process itself.&nbsp;</span>In </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13510347.2014.950565#abstract" target="_blank">a recently published article</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in the academic journal <em>Democratization</em>, we suggest that citizens in emerging democracies use their perceptions of human rights to evaluate the performance of democratically elected leaders. The more citizens believe their human rights to be protected, the more likely they are to support their president, government and the democratization process itself.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We study this process in Mexico, a country that began its democratization experiment 15 years ago. As former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castañeda </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/jorge-g-casta%C3%B1eda/pe%C3%B1anieto-take-note-mexicans-are-embracing-human-rights" target="_blank">stressed</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> earlier on openGlobalRights, Mexico’s current president, Enrique Peña Nieto, should take note of how highly </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/natalia-saltalamacchia/three-decades-of-socialization-later-mexicans-view-%E2%80%9Chuman-ri" target="_blank">Mexican citizens value human rights.</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> Our study, “</span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13510347.2014.950565#abstract" target="_blank">Perceived human rights and support for new democracies: lessons from Mexico</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">,” echoes Castañeda’s views.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Before presenting our findings, however, two disclaimers are in order. First, our study looks at <em>citizens’ perceptions</em> of human rights, rather than the state of human rights policies or practices. Individual </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-shannon-golden/struggle-for-truly-grassroots-human-rights-move" target="_blank">perceptions of human rights are a critical, if understudied, component of human rights research.</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> How individuals perceive human rights in an emerging democracy, and their evaluation of the changing political environment, are related. The question we analyzed in 2003 was “How much respect is there for human rights nowadays in our country?” The question in 2010 was, “On a scale from 1-10, where 1 means ‘none at all’ and 10 means ‘very much,’ how much respect is there in your state for human rights?” &nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Second, our study is limited to Mexico during the first decade after the defeat of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, according to its Spanish language initials), following the country’s first fully contested presidential elections in 2000. That year, the PRI’s presidential candidate ran against contenders from the other two main political parties: the right-of-center National Action Party (PAN), and the left-of-center Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). The winner was the PAN’s Vicente Fox.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Studying the connection between individuals’ perceptions of human rights and their support for democratization and democratically elected leaders in Mexico during the 2000-2010 time period is important for several reasons. First, as previous openGlobalRights authors </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-shannon-golden/struggle-for-truly-grassroots-human-rights-move" target="_blank">suggest</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, Mexico occupies an important position among newly democratized states: a relatively wealthy democracy that interacts heavily with international human rights institutions. Yet, it has also faced economic fluctuations and the brutality of the war on drugs. As a result, Mexico is a crucial site for evaluating the importance of human rights among citizens.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Further, in 2010, Mexico experienced heavy violence driven by the war on drugs as well as the beginnings of its recovery from the 2008-2009 recession. In analyzing public opinion data from that year, we expected human rights to have little effect on citizens’ evaluation of government performance and that constituents would be most concerned with issues like restoring law and order, and revamping the economy. Our findings, however, show that even while facing a serious national security crisis and being in the early stages of economic recovery, Mexicans’ perception of human rights were strongly linked to their support for democratically elected leaders and democratization. Given these results, we expect this connection to appear in less adverse situations as well.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/e-WpniDcEs8Zze9WUAMIu7B-QvokmK1wNgmJhJM4ptg/mtime:1435304083/files/Barton.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/Presidencia de la República Mexicana (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> "President Peña Nieto and other political elites must recognize that human rights protections in new democracies cannot just be smoke and mirrors." </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Our study relied on two nationally representative surveys: the <em>2003 Mexican Values Survey</em> <em>(MVS 2003)</em> and the <em>2010 National Survey of Values that Unite and Divide Mexicans (NSVUDM 2010)</em>. By examining the link between citizens’ perception of human rights and support for democracy in 2003, when Mexican democratization was in its early stages, and again after democracy had more firmly taken root in 2010, we were able to evaluate whether this relationship held at different stages of democratic consolidation.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Our statistical analyses controlled for ideology, political party identification, sociotropic evaluations of the macro-level Mexican economy, indicators of economic satisfaction at the household level, perceptions of bureaucratic efficiency under democracy and some key demographics.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The <em>MVS 2003</em> surveyed 2,380 Mexican adults during the midterm elections of former Mexican president Vicente Fox’s first term in office (2000-2006). The <em>NSVUDM 2010</em> surveyed 15,910 Mexican adults on the eve of the country’s centennial celebrations of the Mexican revolution, and bicentennial of the country’s independence (2010).</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The original questionnaires in both surveys contained questions about citizen perceptions of human rights, as well as individual levels of support for the president, attitudes towards government, and support for democratic rule.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The results from these two different points in time were similar—the more citizens believed their human rights to be protected, the more likely they were to support their president, government, and democracy overall. Conversely, the less individuals believed their human rights to be protected, the less likely they were to offer their political support.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">See, for example, Figures 1 and 2, below.</span></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/nvocfQMr9OVvwtUgK9mb8mC3yZZR5_fg5VEEt6VwQG0/mtime:1435692926/files/BartonetalENFig1.png"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/nvocfQMr9OVvwtUgK9mb8mC3yZZR5_fg5VEEt6VwQG0/mtime:1435692926/files/BartonetalENFig1.png" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Figure 1 illustrates our main finding: as respondents’ perceptions of respect for human rights improve, so too did their support of President Fox, regardless of the respondents’ party affiliation.</span></p><p dir="ltr">Notably, as Figure 2 demonstrates, this connection between perceptions of human rights and support for democratization and democratically elected leaders held across a seven year window, during which Mexicans experienced <a href="http://www.economist.com/node/16231470" target="_blank">economic growth, deep recession and slow recovery</a> as well as <a href="http://www.cfr.org/mexico/mexicos-drug-war/p13689" target="_blank">the ravages of the drug war on both human rights and government security and legitimacy</a>.</p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dUisG3BRj_gHpfhERF6gXF5pBjV75z5RoYCT7pMMssw/mtime:1435692938/files/BarttonetalENFig2.png"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dUisG3BRj_gHpfhERF6gXF5pBjV75z5RoYCT7pMMssw/mtime:1435692938/files/BarttonetalENFig2.png" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The implications of our findings are straightforward: even when accounting for individual variations and other issues affecting the country, Mexicans’ perceptions of human rights protections are significantly correlated to individuals’ evaluations of their leaders, their government and democratization.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">What this suggests is that democratically elected leaders need to do more than simply pay lip service to human rights. Today in Mexico, for example, it will not be sufficient for President </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/11/07/mexico-delays-cover-mar-atrocities-response" target="_blank">Peña Nieto to depict the tragedies in Iguala and Tlatlaya as isolated incidents or to cover-up security forces’ involvement</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in an </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2014/10/massacres-mexico" target="_blank">alarming number of enforced disappearance cases.</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/01/mexican-president-under-pressure-protests-student-teachers" target="_blank">Facing mass protests across the country and dropping approval ratings</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, President Peña Nieto and other political elites must recognize that human rights protections in new democracies cannot just be smoke and mirrors.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Instead, these protections must be lived and experienced—indeed, perceived—by voters.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div 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Navigating public opinion in Israel</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Sergio Wals Courtney Hillebrecht Dona-Gene Barton Central and South America, & the Caribbean Human rights resonance in Mexico Public Opinion and Human Rights Wed, 01 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Sergio Wals, Courtney Hillebrecht and Dona-Gene Barton 93824 at https://opendemocracy.net Mapping human rights skepticism in Mexico https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/david-crow/mapping-human-rights-skepticism-in-mexico <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/ou8kHXNDnSc-otXDfrH4-W1WAnVbHAYl1nzhWGxEhdk/mtime:1435300181/files/Crow.jpg" alt="" width="140" />Most Mexicans don’t associate human rights with protecting criminals, but surveys show this varies depending on region and political affiliation. A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Public Opinion and Human Rights</a>. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/david-crow/una-cartograf%C3%ADa-del-escepticismo-en-materia-de-derechos-humanos-en-m%C3%A9xic" target="_blank">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Mexico, it seems, finds itself perched on the horns on a dilemma: &nbsp;should it fight crime or protect the rights of those accused of committing it? Since President Felipe Calderón declared war on drugs in 2006, some 95,000 Mexicans have been&nbsp;<a href="http://secretariadoejecutivo.gob.mx/incidencia-delictiva/incidencia-delictiva-fuero-comun.php" target="_blank">murdered</a>, and another 25,000 disappeared, through 2012. At the same time, the Mexican government was implementing a 2008 criminal justice reform that explicitly codified international norms such as the presumption of innocence and assistance of counsel during interrogations. Some may argue that time and money spent on justice reform in the face of uncontrolled gang violence is misplaced, while others will say it is highly warranted. Indeed, in an atmosphere ridden by violence and fear, the rights of the accused may seem like a luxury—something to be conceded only after pressing security problems are brought under control. As abhorrent as it might seem, the idea that rights protect criminals—which I’ll call “rights skepticism”—is an understandable response to violence that is spiraling out of control. Certainly, office-seekers looking to make political hay of crime frequently adopt anti-rights stances. On the other hand,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2012&amp;dlid=204464#wrapper" target="_blank">mounting</a>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Torture/SRTorture/Pages/SRTortureIndex.aspx" target="_blank">rights abuses</a>&nbsp;make protecting the rights of the accused paramount. But where do ordinary Mexicans stand on this security-rights tradeoff? &nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In 2014, the&nbsp;</span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.lasamericasyelmundo.cide.edu/" target="_blank">Americas and the World</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;(</span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.cide.edu/" target="_blank">CIDE</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, Mexico City) teamed up with the&nbsp;</span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://jamesron.com/hro-project/#three" target="_blank">Human Rights Perceptions Polls</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;(University of Minnesota) to probe Mexicans’ views on rights. The two groups had already worked together in 2012, but this new polls expanded the number of human rights questions. Pollsters asked respondents on a scale of 1 to 7 (with 1 being “not at all” and 7 “very much”), “[H]ow much does ‘protecting criminals’ have to do with what you understand as human rights?” Do Mexicans believe that human rights protect criminals? &nbsp;Does this belief vary across regions, as well as by aspects of the local social context, including crime rates? Our survey evidence, judiciously combined with other data, suggests that Mexican opinions vary depending on geography and politics. &nbsp;</span> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/ou8kHXNDnSc-otXDfrH4-W1WAnVbHAYl1nzhWGxEhdk/mtime:1435300181/files/Crow.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Demotix/Enrique Perez Huerta (All rights reserved) </div> </p><p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> "The idea that rights protect criminals—which I’ll call 'rights skepticism'—is an understandable response to violence that is spiraling out of control." </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <h2><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The liberal view</span></h2><p dir="ltr">The good news for rights advocates is that most Mexicans do not associate human rights with protecting criminals. Of the 2,400 respondents we surveyed, the average level of agreement with this understanding of rights was just 2.7 on a 1-7 scale (anything under “4” indicates disagreement and anything over, agreement). In a separate survey, the average agreement level of 500 business, political and social leaders was 2.8. So in general, among both elites and masses, agreement with this sentiment was fairly low. But it wasn’t zero, either.</p><p dir="ltr">If Mexicans don’t think human rights are for protecting criminals, what do they think they’re for? Mexicans heartily endorse the understanding of human rights as “protecting people from torture and murder” (5.8 general public, 6.8 leaders). Leaders and the public also understand rights as “promoting economic and social justice” (5.9 public, 6.5 leaders) and “free and fair elections” (5.2 public, 6.5 leaders). In short, most Mexicans repudiate skeptical critiques, hewing to a liberal vision of rights. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><h2>The skeptical view</h2><p dir="ltr">Of course, some Mexicans do believe that human rights protect criminals. Who, and where, are they? &nbsp;To see where rights skepticism is concentrated, I estimated and mapped municipal-level averages, 185 in all, for rights skepticism. Though some municipalities had up to 60 respondents, most had just 10. To get municipal-level estimates, I used a statistical technique called “<a href="http://sae.cancer.gov/understanding/" target="_blank">small</a>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.inegi.org.mx/eventos/2012/Ciencias_sociales/doc/Rao_Mexico_City_slides.pdf" target="_blank">area</a>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.springer.com/fr/book/9781852337605" target="_blank">estimation</a>” (SAE) to combine information from respondents in a given municipality with information from similar respondents in other municipalities, and from other municipalities with similar characteristics.</p><p dir="ltr">Figure 1 shows the averages of the belief that human rights protect criminals for the municipalities included in the sample; municipalities in green are in the lowest 25% and those in red, in the highest 25% (yellow and orange are in between). Strikingly, rights skeptics are concentrated in Mexico’s northern border states, all of which are wracked by drug violence. Rights skepticism is, on average, about 1.4 points higher in the north than elsewhere. In contrast, those who do not believe rights protect criminals (the green and yellow patches) are mostly in central and southern Mexico. Scattered red splotches indicate other hot spots around the country, including embattled Guerrero state—where 43 teacher’s college students were forcibly disappeared in Ayotzinapa last September—and on the southern border with Guatemala.</p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/spTXKqUxJaeHYt_7yngKnbc8Z0muclRg1tIF9fsG1Cs/mtime:1435692629/files/CrowENFig1.png"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/spTXKqUxJaeHYt_7yngKnbc8Z0muclRg1tIF9fsG1Cs/mtime:1435692629/files/CrowENFig1.png" /></a></div> <h2>The social context: &nbsp;crime and politics</h2><p dir="ltr">The concentration of rights skepticism in Mexico’s north suggests two possible causes: crime and political preference. &nbsp;Though drug trafficking organizations have now spread throughout Mexico, the north has historically borne the brunt of their violence. Figure 2 maps the 2011 murder rates (per 100,000 inhabitants) in the 185 municipalities included in the survey; darker blue indicates higher murder rates, which ranged from 0 to 276.6. High-murder rate municipalities overlap considerably with rights-skeptical ones. Exploratory analysis indicates that every 50 additional murders increase rights skepticism by about .3 points (5% of the 1-7 scale). The cumulative effect, however, is large. Placid San Diego de la Unión, Guanajuato, for example, had no murders, and averaged a very modest rights skepticism of 2.8 on the 1-7 scale. Tumultuous San Fernando, Tamaulipas, on the northern border—where a mass grave of 172 Central American transmigrants was discovered in 2010—had 276 murders and averaged a whopping 5.2.</p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/49ADhCgK9v7mYgT9qLrINezEsbiHIg-wOIErvv4Jovk/mtime:1435692642/files/CrowENFig2.png"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/49ADhCgK9v7mYgT9qLrINezEsbiHIg-wOIErvv4Jovk/mtime:1435692642/files/CrowENFig2.png" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The north is also where center-right National Action Party (PAN) gained its first electoral foothold, suggesting another possible cause of rights skepticism: party politics. Indeed, analysis reveals an association between the PAN’s municipal vote share and rights skepticism. As Figure 3 shows, for every ten percentage points the PAN vote increases, the belief that rights protect criminals increases .22 points (3.6% of the 1-7 scale). It would be reckless to conclude that the PAN has manipulated voters’ deepest fears to gain electoral advantages. But it might not be far-fetched to suggest that, if it wished, the PAN could certainly do so.</span></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/ID52xPlrJ5zBpBCvreREFVtUuFXqNORvsPO46gnJ_bo/mtime:1435696825/files/CrowEnfig3COPY1.png"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/ID52xPlrJ5zBpBCvreREFVtUuFXqNORvsPO46gnJ_bo/mtime:1435696825/files/CrowEnfig3COPY1.png" /></a></div> <h2>Conclusions</h2><p dir="ltr">Surveys can tell us a great many things about human rights. They can portray broad attitudinal tendencies and associations between opinion and other factors, such as geography and political affiliations. As indicated in this analysis, Mexicans largely eschew the notion that human rights protect criminals; indeed, the data suggest that many may reject the rights-security tradeoff altogether. Small area estimation, which reveals the geographic concentrations of attitudes, shows that rights skepticism concentrates in northern Mexico. Combined with other data, surveys can point to contextual factors that abet rights skepticism, such as murder rates and party preferences. This information can then help target areas and social segments ripe for the rights message, while also identifying fertile ground for rights skepticism. This, in turn, can help fine-tune programming and communication efforts. Surveys alone, though, cannot ensure rights are upheld. For that, committed activists, lawyers, and government officials will always be necessary.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_2.jpg '" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg '"> <img src=" https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Public opinion and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-e-mendelson/doubling-down-on-human-rights-data">Doubling down on human rights data</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/donagene-barton-courtney-hillebrecht-sergio-wals/more-than-smoke-and-mirrors-citize">More than smoke and mirrors: citizen perceptions of human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jeongwoo-koo/public-opinion-on-human-rights-is-true-gauge-of-progress">Public opinion on human rights is the true gauge of progress</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/researchbased-messaging-changes-public-support-for-human-rights">Research-based messaging changes public support for human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kathy-frankovic/does-it-matter-when-polls-go-wrong">Does it matter when polls go wrong?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/datadriven-optimism-for-global-r">Data-driven optimism for global rights activists</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/natalia-saltalamacchia/three-decades-of-socialization-later-mexicans-view-%E2%80%9Chuman-ri">Three decades of socialization later, Mexicans view “human rights” as their own </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-kreps-geoffrey-wallace/international-law-and-us-public-support-for-drone-stri">International law and US public support for drone strikes</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/scott-d-sagan-benjamin-valentino/use-of-force-american-public-and-ethics-of-war">Use of force: the American public and the ethics of war</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/let-pollsters-pick-navigating-public-opinion-in-israel">Let the pollsters pick? Navigating public opinion in Israel</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dahlia-scheindlin/in-israel-implementing-human-rights-feels-wrong">In Israel, implementing human rights feels wrong</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-shannon-golden/struggle-for-truly-grassroots-human-rights-move">The struggle for a truly grassroots human rights movement</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/barbara-frey/doing-orwell-proud-%E2%80%9Chuman-rights%E2%80%9D-slogans-in-mexico">Doing Orwell proud: “human rights” slogans in Mexico </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights David Crow Central and South America, & the Caribbean Human rights resonance in Mexico Public Opinion and Human Rights Wed, 01 Jul 2015 08:30:00 +0000 David Crow 93823 at https://opendemocracy.net Let the pollsters pick? Navigating public opinion in Israel https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/let-pollsters-pick-navigating-public-opinion-in-israel <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/_J-44Ha-E3Olr1fVxSyYH_hIRMhB4WrSR8OaI1D-sUk/mtime:1435612101/files/MontellPublicOpinion1.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Polls help identify wedge issues, but what happens if human rights activists only pick fights they can win? A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Public Opinion and Human Rights</a>. &nbsp;<span><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/%C2%BFque-los-encuestadores-elijan-una-exploraci%C3%B3n-de-la-opini%C3%B3n-p%C3%BAblica" target="_blank">Español</a>,&nbsp;</strong></em></span><span><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/%D9%87%D9%84-%D9%86%D8%AA%D8%B1%D9%83-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AE%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D9%84%D9%85%D9%86%D8%B8%D9%85%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%B7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D8%A3%D9%8A%D8%9F-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%B7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D8%A3%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%85-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A5%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A6" target="_blank">العربية</a>&nbsp;,</strong></em></span><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/%D7%94%D7%90%D7%9D-%D7%A8%D7%90%D7%95%D7%99-%D7%9C%D7%AA%D7%AA-%D7%9C%D7%A2%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%9B%D7%99-%D7%94%D7%A1%D7%A7%D7%A8%D7%99%D7%9D-%D7%9C%D7%91%D7%97%D7%95%D7%A8-%D7%9B%D7%99%D7%A6%D7%93-%D7%9C%D7%A0%D7%95%D7%95%D7%98-%D7%91%D7%AA%D7%95%D7%9A-%D7%93%D7%A2%D7%AA-%D7%94%D7%A7%D7%94%D7%9C-%D7%91%D7%99%D7%A9%D7%A8%D7%90%D7%9C" target="_blank">עברית</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Before B’Tselem began polling the Israeli public, we placed bets among ourselves about the size of our constituency. As an Israeli organization primarily addressing our own military’s treatment of Palestinians under occupation, we knew we weren’t popular. This was at the height of the second intifada, with suicide bombings and other attacks against Israeli civilians a regular occurrence. There was much hostility to our message that Israel must respect Palestinian human rights even in the fight against such attacks. Most of our staff estimated that only around 5% of Israeli Jews supported our work. In fact, results revealed that some 20% of respondents thought B’Tselem’s reports were “accurate and fair”. In the same poll, 30% agreed that in the current situation it was justified for human rights organizations to focus on the rights of Palestinians. While to outsiders 20% support might seem minimal, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that a not-insignificant constituency understood the importance of our work.</p><p dir="ltr">For human rights organizations solely focused on elite audiences, there’s no need to engage with public opinion, and for years this was the case in Israel. Over the past two decades, however, Israeli organizations have invested in bringing their message to the mainstream public in order to create discussion and to strengthen support for our issues. Public opinion polling has assisted in these efforts. </p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><span class="mag-quote-right" style="line-height: 1.5;">Polls are like perfume—they are to be sniffed, not drunk.&nbsp;</span>B’Tselem played a leading role in the expansion of human rights work beyond research and legal cases to also include public campaigning. We used polling to establish a benchmark regarding the public’s views, to identify wedge issues, to tailor messaging and to attempt to measure our impact. Polling certainly can contribute to more effective engagement with the public, but its limitations must also be understood. As one consultant told me, polls are like perfume—they are to be sniffed, not drunk.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">With this is mind, B’Tselem’s first poll tried to gauge both the public’s knowledge and its views on the range of human rights issues. It also measured the familiarity and support for the organization. This established quite clearly that the problem was not a lack of awareness regarding the organization—everyone had heard of B’Tselem—but rather a lack of support. So at least we were past the first hurdle.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The broad survey of all human rights issues enabled identification of “wedge issues”, those issues on which our views had the most traction. While the majority of Israelis support virtually any measure that is justified as necessary to promote our security (e.g., administrative detention, the Separation Barrier, military combat operations), we discovered that there is much less support for the discriminatory allocation of water between Israelis and Palestinians. In addition, a majority of Israelis expressed discomfort with incidents of violence by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians. They were also more likely to be sympathetic when the victims of violations were children. These are our wedge issues.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The pollster who identified the wedge issues suggested we devote all our efforts to settler violence, an issue that aligns human rights organizations with the Israeli majority. This approach was rejected by the organization. From a human rights perspective, the problem is not a few extremist settlers, but rather the security forces’ failure to protect Palestinians and the entire discriminatory system of law enforcement. This is not to suggest that we should never select a wedge issue. The possibility of success is certainly one consideration when planning a campaign. Indeed B’Tselem conducted a public campaign on behalf of Palestinians’ water rights, based partly on the understanding that—even if this is not our first priority issue—our message on this would resonate with a larger proportion of the Israeli public.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/_J-44Ha-E3Olr1fVxSyYH_hIRMhB4WrSR8OaI1D-sUk/mtime:1435612101/files/MontellPublicOpinion1.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Demotix/Horseman Rapid (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> 'Wedge issues', like water allocation, provide openings for human rights dialogue in an Israeli community typically supportive of any measure justified as necessary to promote its security.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Likewise polling assisted us in tailoring our messages, though here too there may be tensions between wanting to be effective and remaining faithful to human rights principles. A campaign against rubber bullets that focuses on child victims is appropriate and strategically smart, given the polling data that Israelis are more sensitive to harming children. Yet what if the strategically smart course is to ignore the human rights message entirely? Could a campaign against the Separation Barrier, for example, focus solely on Israelis' self-interest (the economic and international repercussions of the Barrier) without mentioning its toll on Palestinian human rights, just because the first two “poll better” than the third? Here there is a tension between short-term goals (building public support for moving a Barrier that harms human rights) and longer-term goals (strengthening the public's understanding of the importance of human rights). &nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Occasionally we used polling to gauge the effectiveness of a particular campaign. Given the limited resources most organizations can devote to public campaigning, the impact of any given campaign is going to be marginal. It is not realistic to expect that a few weeks of advertisements, events and newspaper articles will change people’s minds enough to register in a representative sample of the public. However, when the goal of a campaign was to reshape the public conversation—specifically to introduce the term “strangulation policy” into the public discourse to refer to the West Bank checkpoints—before and after polling indicated that the campaign had had some success.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In many ways, the polls merely confirmed and quantified what we already knew. As&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/dahlia-scheindlin/in-israel-implementing-human-rights-feels-wrong" target="_blank">Dahlia Scheindlin&nbsp;</a>reported, a majority of the Israeli public is quite hostile to the work of human rights organizations, particularly those promoting Palestinian rights, and a decade of engagement with the public has not changed these numbers. This is not a reason to abandon these efforts, but it does mean that public campaigning is a supplement and not an alternative to our other advocacy strategies. Even if we're not going to win the public argument, it's a conversation worth having.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_2.jpg '" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg '"> <img src=" https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Public opinion and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-e-mendelson/doubling-down-on-human-rights-data">Doubling down on human rights data</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dahlia-scheindlin/in-israel-implementing-human-rights-feels-wrong">In Israel, implementing human rights feels wrong</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jeongwoo-koo/public-opinion-on-human-rights-is-true-gauge-of-progress">Public opinion on human rights is the true gauge of progress</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/researchbased-messaging-changes-public-support-for-human-rights">Research-based messaging changes public support for human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kathy-frankovic/does-it-matter-when-polls-go-wrong">Does it matter when polls go wrong?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/datadriven-optimism-for-global-r">Data-driven optimism for global rights activists</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/scott-d-sagan-benjamin-valentino/use-of-force-american-public-and-ethics-of-war">Use of force: the American public and the ethics of war</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-kreps-geoffrey-wallace/international-law-and-us-public-support-for-drone-stri">International law and US public support for drone strikes</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/donagene-barton-courtney-hillebrecht-sergio-wals/more-than-smoke-and-mirrors-citize">More than smoke and mirrors: citizen perceptions of human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow/mapping-human-rights-skepticism-in-mexico">Mapping human rights skepticism in Mexico </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-shannon-golden/struggle-for-truly-grassroots-human-rights-move">The struggle for a truly grassroots human rights movement</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Jessica Montell Middle East & North Africa Human rights resonance in Israel and Palestine Public Opinion and Human Rights Tue, 30 Jun 2015 08:00:00 +0000 Jessica Montell 93821 at https://opendemocracy.net In Israel, implementing human rights feels wrong https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/dahlia-scheindlin/in-israel-implementing-human-rights-feels-wrong <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/tbpjp_aKRtnIRLRUDLHrOPEIMWKTAA5lleh4LaI-vO0/mtime:1435605513/files/Scheindlin1.jpg" alt="" width="140" />Polls indicate that Jewish Israelis generally support the concept of human rights, but are less supportive of Israeli human rights organizations – especially those defending Palestinians. A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights">Public Opinion and Human Rights</a>. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/dahlia-scheindlin/en-israel-implementar-los-derechos-humanos-no-se-siente-bien" target="_blank">Español</a>,&nbsp;</strong></em><span><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/dahlia-scheindlin/%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A5%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%8A%D9%84%D8%8C-%D9%8A%D8%A8%D8%AF%D9%88-%D8%A3%D9%86-%D8%AA%D8%B7%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%82-%D9%85%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%A6-%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B4%D9%8A%D8%A6%D8%A7%D9%8B-%D8%BA%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%BA%D9%88%D8%A8-%D9%81%D9%8A%D9%87" target="_blank">العربية</a> ,<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/dahlia-scheindlin/%D7%91%D7%99%D7%A9%D7%A8%D7%90%D7%9C-%D7%99%D7%99%D7%A9%D7%95%D7%9D-%D7%A9%D7%9C-%D7%A2%D7%A7%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%A0%D7%95%D7%AA-%D7%96%D7%9B%D7%95%D7%99%D7%95%D7%AA-%D7%94%D7%90%D7%93%D7%9D-%D7%9E%D7%A8%D7%92%D7%99%D7%A9-%D7%9B%D7%A6%D7%A2%D7%93-%D7%A4%D7%A1%D7%95%D7%9C" target="_blank">עברית</a></strong></em></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Even in relatively stable democracies, it is far easier to support the idea of human rights than to examine one’s own society critically. This problem is compounded in Israel, where the country is deeply invested in its democratic self-image, even as it rules four million Palestinians through an inherently repressive military regime. Palestinians may be the occupation’s chief victims, but for most Israelis, they are first and foremost bitter enemies in violent conflict. </p><p dir="ltr">According to international law, Israel, as the occupying power, is responsible for protecting the rights of the Palestinian population under its control. Most Israelis, however, view the notion of “protecting Palestinian rights” as akin to supporting the enemy. </p><p dir="ltr">These sentiments intensified following Israel’s 2008-09 Gaza war, and in 2009, the country elected a hardline nationalist government that pushed forward some of the most anti-democratic legislation in Israel’s history. In response, Israeli peace and human rights groups stepped up their actions.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/tbpjp_aKRtnIRLRUDLHrOPEIMWKTAA5lleh4LaI-vO0/mtime:1435605513/files/Scheindlin1.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Demotix/Michaela Whitton (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Israeli activists protest Jewish settlements. Should Israeli human rights groups 'push the boundaries' of public discourse despite a lack of popular support? </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Israeli civil society groups faced a real dilemma. Should they use terms and ideas amenable to the general Israeli public, but which would possibly restrain their full human rights message? Or should they “push the boundaries” of public discourse, even though most of their compatriots disagreed with their message? This dilemma remains in the air today, and there are no easy answers.</p><p dir="ltr">Opinion polls on human rights in Israel reflect these contradictions. A 2011 survey I conducted for a consortium of human rights organizations defending Palestinians in the occupied territories shows that Israelis embrace the human rights idea in the abstract, but resist its implementation by Israeli organizations on behalf of Palestinians. I conducted this research on a random sample of 600 Israeli Jews in May 2011, via telephone (+/- 3.5% margin of error).</p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/cYCVR3i4Hlb839NaVg-keMKpuuCRGcNFoCN8W1GEOjg/mtime:1435604873/files/ScheindlinENFig1.png"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/cYCVR3i4Hlb839NaVg-keMKpuuCRGcNFoCN8W1GEOjg/mtime:1435604873/files/ScheindlinENFig1.png" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr">Our survey revealed that two-thirds of the Jewish public held favorable views of “human rights”, broadly conceived. Three-quarters (77%) of self-described left-wingers gave human rights a grade between 51 to 100, the range we asked respondents to use if they felt favorably (0-49 stood for an unfavorable response, while 50 was neutral). The data revealed similar responses from 60% of right-wingers, and 67% of self-identified “centrists”. In fact, even 60% of those who had recently voted for nationalist or hardline religious parties were favorable, while 90% of the overall sample said that Israel, as a democracy, should be more aware of human rights principles.</p><p dir="ltr">Yet the survey also revealed clear political and demographic divisions. Younger Israelis aged 18-34 were less likely to rate human rights favorably than their older counterparts. Religiously devout respondents also gave human rights lower scores than secular respondents. </p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When we asked respondents for their views of Israeli human rights organizations in general, however, public support took a dive; only 41% gave them a favorable rating, compared to 61% for the term overall.</span></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/rDUDR6a803-I_GHaQL28YW_hKDcOZ2X_u8VwvUNQcYM/mtime:1435604885/files/ScheindlinENFig2.png"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/rDUDR6a803-I_GHaQL28YW_hKDcOZ2X_u8VwvUNQcYM/mtime:1435604885/files/ScheindlinENFig2.png" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">These findings were surely influenced by the post-2008/09 Gaza war context. When the fighting ended, the United Nations (UN) charged an international commission with examining possible war crimes on both sides. The Israeli government refused to participate, but various Israeli rights groups provided information to the commission. Some Israelis accused these NGOs of treason—many felt generally betrayed.</span></span></p><p dir="ltr">Support plunged even further when we asked respondents for their attitudes towards Israeli human rights organizations specifically dealing with Palestinians in the territories. Here, just 20% of our sample reacted favorably, down from the 60% who had approved of human rights in the abstract, and the 41% who had approved of Israeli rights groups in general (see Figure 1).</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Politics mattered tremendously for this last question. Among self-identified political “rightists,” only 8% expressed support for Israeli groups working for the rights of Palestinians, compared to 50% of self identified political “leftists,” and 26% of political “centrists.”</span></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/vpbTcJw9q8I5ZT4i4mQlSSGqfcKWffaVun3txaImNlE/mtime:1435604929/files/ScheindlinENFig3.png"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/vpbTcJw9q8I5ZT4i4mQlSSGqfcKWffaVun3txaImNlE/mtime:1435604929/files/ScheindlinENFig3.png" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr">According to my ongoing survey research in Israel, , just under half of all Israelis in representative samples describe themselves as “right wing”—by far the largest of any political group. Self-described “leftists” and “centrists,” by contrast, number approximately 20% and 20-25%, respectively, or about 40-45% of the Israeli public in total. The majority of Israel’s Arab-Palestinian citizens, who make up roughly 20% of the population, self identify as “leftist.” Among Jewish Israelis, the self-identified right wing is commonly over 50% in surveys, sometimes even as high as 60%. Public discourse in Israel thus tends to reflect and reinforce the political right’s narrative, rather than that of the left or center. </p><p dir="ltr">The 2012 and 2014 wars between Israel and Hamas forces in Gaza intensified these trends. Israel’s devastation of Palestinian life could, in theory, have raised sympathy among Jewish Israelis, but Hamas precluded most such sentiments by lobbing rockets at Israeli cities. </p><p dir="ltr">No parallel surveys have been carried out since 2011, but there is little reason to believe that Israeli society has grown more supportive of NGOs working for the rights of those it fears. Were our 2011 survey to be repeated today, the trends would likely be similar. If anything, the more hardline demographic groups have only grown in the intervening years.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">These trends reinforce the longstanding dilemma facing Israeli rights groups. Should they focus on changing policy at the decision-making level, rather than wasting time, resources and emotional energy to convince an unwilling and often uninterested Jewish-Israeli public?</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_2.jpg '" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg '"> <img src=" https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Public opinion and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-e-mendelson/doubling-down-on-human-rights-data">Doubling down on human rights data</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/let-pollsters-pick-navigating-public-opinion-in-israel">Let the pollsters pick? Navigating public opinion in Israel</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jeongwoo-koo/public-opinion-on-human-rights-is-true-gauge-of-progress">Public opinion on human rights is the true gauge of progress</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/researchbased-messaging-changes-public-support-for-human-rights">Research-based messaging changes public support for human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kathy-frankovic/does-it-matter-when-polls-go-wrong">Does it matter when polls go wrong?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/datadriven-optimism-for-global-r">Data-driven optimism for global rights activists</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/scott-d-sagan-benjamin-valentino/use-of-force-american-public-and-ethics-of-war">Use of force: the American public and the ethics of war</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-kreps-geoffrey-wallace/international-law-and-us-public-support-for-drone-stri">International law and US public support for drone strikes</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/donagene-barton-courtney-hillebrecht-sergio-wals/more-than-smoke-and-mirrors-citize">More than smoke and mirrors: citizen perceptions of human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow/mapping-human-rights-skepticism-in-mexico">Mapping human rights skepticism in Mexico </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-shannon-golden/struggle-for-truly-grassroots-human-rights-move">The struggle for a truly grassroots human rights movement</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights Arab Awakening openGlobalRights Dahlia Scheindlin Middle East & North Africa Human rights resonance in Israel and Palestine Public Opinion and Human Rights Tue, 30 Jun 2015 08:00:00 +0000 Dahlia Scheindlin 93822 at https://opendemocracy.net Doubling down on human rights data https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/sarah-e-mendelson/doubling-down-on-human-rights-data <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="SCX202446709 Paragraph"><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/AkH6az24cB65Fdkpv9ta_2tBPVUIgZ5-crkDxlbwfAQ/mtime:1435091068/files/Mendelson.jpg" alt="" width="140" />NGOs have often resisted social science methods, but random sampling and public opinion survey data can help us understand what people actually think and want. A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Public Opinion and Human Rights</a>.&nbsp;<em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/sarah-e-mendelson/doblar-la-apuesta-por-los-datos-sobre-derechos-humanos" target="_blank">Español</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/sarah-e-mendelson/doubler-la-mise-sur-les-donn%C3%A9es-relatives-aux-droits-de-l%E2%80%99homme" target="_blank">Français</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/sarah-e-mendelson/%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%B2%D0%BA%D0%B0-%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%B4%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%BD%D1%8B%D0%B5-%D0%BF%D0%BE-%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%BC-%D1%87%D0%B5%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B5%D0%BA%D0%B0" target="_blank">Ру́сский</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Globally, we are witnessing something of a crisis mentality within civil society. A vivid example emerged in the months before the 2014 International Civil Society Week: CIVICUS and a number of NGOs <a href="http://blogs.civicus.org/civicus/2014/08/06/an-open-letter-to-our-fellow-activists-across-the-globe-building-from-below-and-beyond-borders/" target="_blank">signed a letter</a> suggesting that the “vision” of human rights embodied in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights “lies in tatters” and that informal movements are beginning to deeply challenge more established NGOs. </p><p dir="ltr">Some development experts claim NGOs have strayed too far from the people they are meant to represent. Transnational NGOs have received perhaps the most such criticism in terms of accountability. And some research suggests that weak links between NGOs, local populations and their source of funding lead to worse results—with development aid in particular having a negative impact. As one expert, <a href="http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1806-64452006000100002&amp;script=sci_arttext&amp;tlng=en" target="_blank">Fernande Raine</a>, notes, “any organization that depends on a narrow number of donors and does not have a broad base of citizen support risks losing touch with the people whom it is trying to serve.” </p><p dir="ltr">Can this crisis turn into an opportunity for civil society? What remedies exist to help NGOs, for example, become more resilient and effective? In an age of discontent among civil society organizations, and of governments increasingly trying to shut down NGOs, doubling down on data about what citizens think, know and experience in terms of human rights is one answer. Public opinion data can be used to help reframe agendas and increase NGOs’ ties with the populations they are meant to serve. </p><p dir="ltr"><span class="mag-quote-right" style="line-height: 1.5;">Public opinion data can be used to help reframe agendas and increase NGOs’ ties with the populations they are meant to serve.&nbsp;</span>Here lies a potential paradigm shift that will be controversial to some and embraced by others: advancing and protecting human rights need not only (or even mainly) be about methodical assessments of governments’ noncompliance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—something that NGOs such as Human Rights Watch have made central to their mandate. However important that approach, organizations also ought to make a robust effort to move rights “<a href="http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1627&amp;context=ilj" target="_blank">from the margins to the mainstream</a>”, in this case by using large, random-sample surveys of populations’ experiences with human rights. Based on my own work with <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2747/1060-586X.23.1.50" target="_blank">surveys on human rights</a> in Russia, and the work that scholars such as University of Minnesota’s <a href="http://www.jamesron.com" target="_blank">James Ron</a> and his team are doing with their human rights’ perception surveys in multiple world regions, or that Sungkyunkwan University’s <a href="http://wiz.skku.edu/wiz/user/jkoo/" target="_blank">Jeong Woo Koo’s</a> is doing in Korea, this approach holds promise.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Taking the approach a step farther, surveys could be used to better evaluate impact. Currently, randomized controlled trials are rarely used in human rights work. During four years at USAID, I frequently encountered confusion about how to design such tests on issues related to human rights. Indeed, in the human rights and the larger democracy promotion field, this approach is misunderstood, underdeveloped and even resisted. Some might argue that there are ethical issues involved in controlling who receives treatment and who does not, but assistance and interventions never cover 100 percent of a population; donors and NGOs must make choices, but they largely do so without considering the opportunity for planned and systematic learning.</span></p><p dir="ltr">The focus on survey data need not come at the expense of work on human rights issues that are contested or viewed as marginal; to be more effective and to build constituents, data about people’s real-life experiences and knowledge of human rights issues can be used to help build support through social marketing campaigns. Certainly in terms of addressing specific human rights abuses—such as combatting human trafficking and modern slavery—the lack of data has been a widely recognized problem in building a truly global movement, as well as in designing effective programs. The <a href="http://www.worldbank.org/content/dam/Worldbank/Publications/WDR/WDR%202015/WDR-2015-Full-Report.pdf" target="_blank">2015 World Development Report “Mind, Society, and Behavior”</a> puts heavy emphasis on paying “close attention to how humans actually think and decide”, using survey data rather than just making assumptions in designing development programs. CIVICUS, the global civil society advocacy group, also notes the importance of <a href="http://socs.civicus.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/2013StateofCivilSocietyReport_full.pdf" target="_blank">“public attitudes, trust, tolerance and participation”</a> as elements that help create a healthy “enabling environment” for civil society.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/AkH6az24cB65Fdkpv9ta_2tBPVUIgZ5-crkDxlbwfAQ/mtime:1435091068/files/Mendelson.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/U.S. Agency for International Development (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> USAID workers conduct a healthcare services survey in Uganda. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">To be sure, there are obstacles. Few NGO leaders and human rights practitioners are trained social scientists. A pairing or partnership between social scientists who want to help NGOs and NGOs that want to help gather and understand survey data would need to be developed. For some activists, the very notion of listening to the population and shaping an intervention driven by data may be alien. Traditionally, both public and private donors that fund work on human rights have not been interested in survey data; many view it as a luxury rather than an essential tool. </p><p dir="ltr">But there are exceptions. The Ford Foundation has supported survey work on human rights, helping organizations such as the <a href="http://opportunityagenda.org/" target="_blank">Opportunity Agenda</a> in the United States and <a href="http://www.memo.ru/eng/memhrc/index.shtml" target="_blank">Memorial</a> in Russia understand how local populations think about the issues they were working on. At USAID, meanwhile, <a href="https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1866/USAID%20DRG_%20final%20final%206-24%203%20(1).pdf" target="_blank">new strategies</a> include the collection of survey data as a critical component in learning what works best. How the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals are implemented and measured may also help boost the demand for survey data and provide opportunities for partnership. </p><p dir="ltr">A broker organization might help address the influence and legitimacy gaps with which civil society activists are so consumed. Such an organization, an International Human Rights-Social Science-NGO collaborative, would pair social scientists with NGOs. It might begin working in a few countries, or in a series of regional or topical hubs in which donors are already investing. From there, it could evolve into a worldwide platform creating a peer-to-peer learning environment supplemented by social scientists. This collaborative would not by any means be the only remedy to the shrinking space around the world for civil society, but data might be used to increase domestic philanthropic support of NGOs and provide a concrete way to help NGOs become more sustainable and linked to the people they want to help.</p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><p><i></i></p><hr /><i>This piece is adapted from the author’s <a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2015-03-11/dark-days-civil-society?cid=rss-law_institutions-dark_days_for_civil_society-000000" target="_blank">“Dark Days for Civil Society: What’s Going Wrong—And How Data Can Help,”</a> Foreign Affairs, March 11, 2015. For a longer version, see her report, <a href="http://csis.org/files/publication/150422_Mendelson_GovTargetCivilSociety_Web.pdf" target="_blank">“Why Governments Target Civil Society and What Can Be Done in Response: A New Agenda,”</a> April 2015, CSIS.</i><p></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_2.jpg '" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg '"> <img src=" https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Public opinion and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-shannon-golden/struggle-for-truly-grassroots-human-rights-move">The struggle for a truly grassroots human rights movement</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jeongwoo-koo/public-opinion-on-human-rights-is-true-gauge-of-progress">Public opinion on human rights is the true gauge of progress</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/researchbased-messaging-changes-public-support-for-human-rights">Research-based messaging changes public support for human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/datadriven-optimism-for-global-r">Data-driven optimism for global rights activists</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kathy-frankovic/does-it-matter-when-polls-go-wrong">Does it matter when polls go wrong?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/let-pollsters-pick-navigating-public-opinion-in-israel">Let the pollsters pick? Navigating public opinion in Israel</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dahlia-scheindlin/in-israel-implementing-human-rights-feels-wrong">In Israel, implementing human rights feels wrong</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow/mapping-human-rights-skepticism-in-mexico">Mapping human rights skepticism in Mexico </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/donagene-barton-courtney-hillebrecht-sergio-wals/more-than-smoke-and-mirrors-citize">More than smoke and mirrors: citizen perceptions of human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-kreps-geoffrey-wallace/international-law-and-us-public-support-for-drone-stri">International law and US public support for drone strikes</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/scott-d-sagan-benjamin-valentino/use-of-force-american-public-and-ethics-of-war">Use of force: the American public and the ethics of war</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Sarah E. Mendelson Global Public Opinion and Human Rights Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:15:00 +0000 Sarah E. Mendelson 93812 at https://opendemocracy.net Does it matter when polls go wrong? https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/kathy-frankovic/does-it-matter-when-polls-go-wrong <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/ecdbNj_ToNtMITWDrak0FF3Odc6vvNR02o7vIIAmpkU/mtime:1435269349/files/Frankovic.jpg" alt="" width="140" />When political polls go wrong, many people start to doubt polling entirely. But that’s a costly mistake. A contribution to the <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Public Opinion and Human Rights.</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">On May 8, the day after the British elections, everyone saw that the pre-election polls had gone horribly wrong. What was supposed to be a close election, with the possibility of a hung Parliament, had turned into a clear Conservative victory and Parliamentary majority. &nbsp;Election polls have become so much a part of political life and they are expected to be accurate, making these results quite a shock. A serious <a href="http://www.research-live.com/news/details-of-bpc-opinion-poll-inquiry-released/4013370.article" target="_blank">investigation</a> is about to take place, and some are beginning to question <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/08/europe/uk-election-polls-2016/" target="_blank">polling itself</a>. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Should they? And should the British polling problem make us doubt the recent use of opinion polls to measure human rights needs and attitudes? </p><p dir="ltr">No. </p><p dir="ltr">There are a number of key factors to consider when debating the utility and accuracy of polls.</p><h2>Methodology</h2><p dir="ltr"><span class="mag-quote-left" style="line-height: 1.5;">Polling in less developed countries is likely to be conducted mostly face-to-face, making it easier to ensure good sampling.&nbsp;</span>Today, face-to-face polling is basically non-existent in Britain and in most other Western democracies, and telephone polling (which replaced face-to-face) suffers from low response rates and limited population coverage, as people migrate to using mobile phones. Most polls in the UK and many elsewhere are conducted online, using opt-in panels that many argue cannot represent the public. Polling in less developed countries is likely to be conducted mostly face-to-face, making it easier (though more expensive) to ensure good sampling. That methodology has been validated over time, and it is not subject to concerns about representativeness now facing telephone and online polls.</p><p dir="ltr">The coverage issues in developing countries are different: in some areas security concerns might prevent interviews, and researchers need to be sure respondents have the privacy to speak freely. They must also keep a close eye on possible interviewer effects. </p><h2>Whose opinion counts?</h2><p dir="ltr">It is often as important in the developed world to discover who is going to vote as to learn how they will vote (in the US, for example, the percentage of adults who vote, especially in Congressional elections, is often under 50%). That complexity—either in selection or in post-interviewing adjustments—is not necessary for human rights polling, where any post-interview weighting is likely to be limited to demographic and geographic variables.</p><h2>What answers are useful?</h2><p dir="ltr">In most polling, “Don’t know” answers are legitimate. Sometimes they tell us more than the actual answers do. But the British election pollsters mostly attempted to allocate everyone, a complication that may have added to their errors. British polls often do not publish any “undecided” or “don’t know” percentages. Parliamentary election polls attempt to project seats from national percentages—a difficult process that can’t just be dealt with by translating the percentage of supporters directly into a percentage of seats. And in a multi-party system, there can be far more strategic voting than there is in a two-party system. What polls say becomes a factor in the voter’s decision (should one continue to support a party that will lose or switch to a second choice party that might win?). </p><h2>The level of precision—and judgment</h2><p dir="ltr">In the last few years, pre-election polls have been held to a much higher standard than surveys can usually manage. Sampling error is ignored, and the expectation is that polls will match the election outcome precisely. Aggregator websites have propagated this notion by combining all polls to create what they hope will be an estimate less subject to error, cancelling out one possible error with another. As seen in the UK, that doesn’t always work. But polling on human rights issues is not subject to the same unrealistic expectations.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/ecdbNj_ToNtMITWDrak0FF3Odc6vvNR02o7vIIAmpkU/mtime:1435269349/files/Frankovic.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/David Erickson (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Many of the variables which obscure political polling are not applicable when measuring public opinion on human rights. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Whenever a pre-election poll is in error, there is much hand wringing. That happened in 1948, a year immortalized by the image of US president Harry Truman, who had just won the election, holding up a copy of the Chicago Tribune declaring, “Dewey Defeats Truman.” That image is used nearly every time a pre-election poll is in error, including <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/08/top-pollster-yougov-how-we-got-the-british-election-so-wrong.html?via=newsletter&amp;source=DDAfternoon" target="_blank">this month’s British Parliamentary election</a>. Usually an investigation follows. In 1948, the <a href="http://www.zetterberg.org/Lectures/l041115.htm" target="_blank">Social Science Research Council</a> took on that poll investigation. The British Polling Council will investigate this year’s polls, as the Market Research Society did after a polling mistake more than 20 years ago.</p><p dir="ltr">Of course, the polling landscape in Britain is quite different today than it was in 1992, and even more different from the polling landscape in developing countries. Twenty years ago, polling <a href="http://www.amstat.org/sections/SRMS/Proceedings/papers/1993_199.pdf" target="_blank">methods in the UK had been unchanged since the 1970s, pollsters used both in-person interviews and telephone interviews, and some of those in-person polls were conducted on the street</a>. In addition, the Market Research Council study found a differential response rate between supporters of the competing parties, and the effort to categorize all possible voters included some who didn’t end up voting, as well as others who voted differently from what had been predicted. The impact was to underestimate Conservative support, giving birth to the notion of the “Shy Tory”: a Conservative voter afraid to say the word. </p><p dir="ltr">The differences between then and now and between the pre-election polls and human rights polling are enormous, and they are both methodological and structural.&nbsp; They include the way the polls are conducted, the purpose of the polls and the inclusion of all—not just those who might cast a vote in the next election.&nbsp; The investigation of the British polls will take some time (the full 1992 investigation wasn’t released until 1994), but preliminary results should be available much sooner. Whatever the findings, they shouldn’t stop efforts to use polls to discover and understand human rights issues, especially in terms of who is affected and how they can be helped. &nbsp;If the UK results stifle such efforts, we will all lose.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_2.jpg '" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg '"> <img src=" https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Public opinion and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-e-mendelson/doubling-down-on-human-rights-data">Doubling down on human rights data</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jeongwoo-koo/public-opinion-on-human-rights-is-true-gauge-of-progress">Public opinion on human rights is the true gauge of progress</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/researchbased-messaging-changes-public-support-for-human-rights">Research-based messaging changes public support for human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/datadriven-optimism-for-global-r">Data-driven optimism for global rights activists</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/scott-d-sagan-benjamin-valentino/use-of-force-american-public-and-ethics-of-war">Use of force: the American public and the ethics of war</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-kreps-geoffrey-wallace/international-law-and-us-public-support-for-drone-stri">International law and US public support for drone strikes</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/donagene-barton-courtney-hillebrecht-sergio-wals/more-than-smoke-and-mirrors-citize">More than smoke and mirrors: citizen perceptions of human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow/mapping-human-rights-skepticism-in-mexico">Mapping human rights skepticism in Mexico </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dahlia-scheindlin/in-israel-implementing-human-rights-feels-wrong">In Israel, implementing human rights feels wrong</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/let-pollsters-pick-navigating-public-opinion-in-israel">Let the pollsters pick? Navigating public opinion in Israel</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-shannon-golden/struggle-for-truly-grassroots-human-rights-move">The struggle for a truly grassroots human rights movement</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/ourkingdom/david-elstein/reflections-on-election-lessons-to-be-learned">Reflections on the election: lessons to be learned...</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ourkingdom/shaun-lawson/polls-and-all-but-one-of-forecasts-were-wrong-ed-miliband-was-nowhere-near-b">The polls (and all but one of) the forecasts WERE wrong. Ed Miliband was nowhere near becoming Prime Minister</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Kathy Frankovic Eastern Europe and Russia Global Public Opinion and Human Rights Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:13:00 +0000 Kathy Frankovic 93818 at https://opendemocracy.net Data-driven optimism for global rights activists https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/datadriven-optimism-for-global-r <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/2u4GtmFhdTDI51vr6YFyC63FbGdmX6bj63VjfUgBnfA/mtime:1435608898/files/Ronetal1.jpg" alt="" width="140" />Opinion polls across four world regions suggest that human rights activists can be cautiously optimistic—the public likes and trusts them. A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Public Opinion and Human Rights.</a>&nbsp; &nbsp;<span><em><strong><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/un-optimismo-basado-en-datos-par" target="_blank">Español</a></strong></em>,&nbsp;</strong></em></span><strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/les-donn%C3%A9es-invitent-%C3%A0-l%E2%80%99optimis" target="_blank">Français</a>,</em></strong><em><strong>&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%A4%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%A8%D8%B9%D8%AB%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%84%D9%86%D8%B4%D8%B7%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82" target="_blank">العربية</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">To succeed, local human rights groups must have some level of local support. Local groups can always <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/Activists-Beyond-Borders-Advocacy-International/dp/0801484561">call on foreigners</a> for help, but lasting change <a target="_blank" href="http://jamesron.com/documents/scholarly-2009-seeing-double.pdf">requires domestic buy-in</a> from politicians, state agents and ordinary people. Politicians need to feel the human rights heat from constituents, officials need to believe that human rights groups are credible, and members of the public need to contribute their voice, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/james-ron-archana-pandya/universal-values-foreign-money-local-human-rights-organiza">money</a> and energies. </p><p dir="ltr">Human rights activists are often pessimistic about the public’s views, believing their co-citizens view them with skepticism, or worse. According to our surveys in four world regions, however, the public views human rights ideas and organizations positively. Critical claims that <a target="_blank" href="http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/books/the-endtimes-of-human-rights-by-stephen-hopgood/2008870.article">human rights workers are linked to foreign powers and intervention</a>, moreover, receive scant public support. Our data suggest that rights activists can feel cautiously optimistic about their public reputations. </p><h2><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Activist perceptions, public surveys</span></h2><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">To learn how activists see themselves, we </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.nsi-ins.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/2012-Rights-Based-Approaches-to-Development-Implications-for-NGOs1.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">first interviewed hundreds of human rights experts, activists and workers across 60 countries</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, asking them to comment on how the public viewed them, their organizations, and their issues. Some believed their compatriots viewed them positively, as courageous campaigners for justice. Most, however, felt embattled, disliked, or disregarded.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">To test the activists’ perceptions against actual public attitudes, we inserted our questions into an ongoing public survey, </span><a target="_blank" href="http://mexicoyelmundo.cide.edu/home2010english.swf" style="line-height: 1.5;"><em>Mexico, Americas, and the World</em>,</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> run by </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.cide.edu" style="line-height: 1.5;">CIDE</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, a leading Mexican research institute. Their team administered our questions to a nationally representative sample of adults in Mexico (N=2,400) in 2012.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Based on that experience, we developed our </span><a target="_blank" href="http://jamesron.com/hro-project/#three" style="line-height: 1.5;">Human Rights Perceptions Poll</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, a unique battery of questions about public attitudes towards human rights issues, activists, and organizations. We deployed the poll in Morocco and India in 2012 and in Nigeria in 2014. We surveyed representative samples of urban and rural populations in and around Rabat and Casablanca (N=1,100); India’s major financial capital, Mumbai (N=1,680); and Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos (N=1,000). We over-sampled rural populations and ethnic or religious minorities to gather sufficient data from marginalized perspectives. We weight our results to account for this over-sampling.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/2u4GtmFhdTDI51vr6YFyC63FbGdmX6bj63VjfUgBnfA/mtime:1435608898/files/Ronetal1.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />David Crow (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Pilot testing the survey in Morocco, September 2012. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We worked with local companies in each country to administer the surveys, including </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.dataopm.net" style="line-height: 1.5;">Data OPM</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in Mexico, </span><a target="_blank" href="https://directory.esomar.org/country119_Morocco/r2163_LMS-CSA-Marketing-Sondages.php?id=2163" style="line-height: 1.5;">LMS-CSA</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in Casablanca, </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.teamcvoter.com" style="line-height: 1.5;">Team C-Voter</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in Delhi, and </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.psi-research.net" style="line-height: 1.5;">Practical Sampling International</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in Lagos.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We chose these countries for a variety of reasons. They differ dramatically on factors such as history, colonial background, religious tradition, language, and region. Given this variation, any cross-country similarities powerfully suggest broader global trends.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Yet the four cases also meet conditions that make studying rights meaningful and safe. They all have substantial, rights-inclined civil societies, and all have sufficient political freedom for members of the public to express political views and for pollsters to ask about human rights. Finally, all have pressing human rights problems attracting both domestic and international attention and mobilization efforts.</span></p><h2><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Data-based optimism</span></h2><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><span class="mag-quote-right">Our findings leave us cautiously optimistic about the human rights movement’s prospects, even in this era of increasing &nbsp;government hostility towards civil society.&nbsp;</span>We have published several articles from the data (see </span><a target="_blank" href="http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/human_rights_quarterly/v037/37.1.ron.html" style="line-height: 1.5;">here</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.conectas.org/en/actions/sur-journal/issue/20/1007335-human-rights-familiarity-and-socio-economic-status-a-four-country-study" style="line-height: 1.5;">here</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> and </span><a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-shannon-golden/struggle-for-truly-grassroots-human-rights-move" style="line-height: 1.5;">here</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">), and are working on a book. Cumulatively, our findings leave us cautiously optimistic about the human rights movement’s prospects, even in this era of increasing </span><a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/saskia-brechenmacher-thomas-carothers/in-for-bumpy-ride-international-aid-and-closi" style="line-height: 1.5;">government hostility towards civil society</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Consider Figure 1, which reports average responses to the question, “<em>How strongly do you associate</em> [phrase] <em>with ‘human rights</em>?’” &nbsp;We asked about positive-sounding phrases, including “protecting people from torture and murder”, “promoting socio-economic justice”, and “promoting free and fair elections”; negative-sounding phrases including “protecting criminals”, “protecting terrorists”, “not protecting or promoting anyone’s interests”; and associating human rights with foreign intervention: “promoting United States interests” and “promoting foreign values and ideas.”</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In all countries but Mexico, we also asked whether respondents associated “human rights” with “protecting women’s rights”, a particularly </span><a target="_blank" href="http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/H/bo3636543.html" style="line-height: 1.5;">hot-button issue</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> for rights activists worldwide.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We asked each respondent to rank the strength of their association from 1, the weakest score, to 7, the strongest. A score of 4, the midpoint, indicates respondent neutrality; scores below that indicate little or no association, while scores above that indicate an increasingly strong association.</span></p><p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/srwfytyHD2gXPZiAH8La2I9JpI2b0rgc_30RWSif5ZI/mtime:1435429288/files/RonFig1.png" target="_blank" style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;"><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/srwfytyHD2gXPZiAH8La2I9JpI2b0rgc_30RWSif5ZI/mtime:1435429288/files/RonFig1.png" width="469" /></a></p> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We found some remarkably consistent results. Across all four cases, respondents were far more likely to associate human rights with positive sounding than negative-sounding phrases. Ordinary people, in other words, feel more warmth than chill towards the term, “human rights”.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Associations of human rights with foreign intervention, moreover, received little support. Weighting each country’s scores equally, the average four-country association between human rights and “promoting U.S. interests” or “promoting foreign values and ideas” was a weak 3.6, below the neutral midpoint.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Remarkably, publics also strongly associate “human rights” with “protecting women’s rights”, suggesting the women’s movement is tightly linked in the public mind with its human rights counterpart.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Figure 2 offers other promising news. We asked the 6,000+ respondents about their trust in all manner of international and domestic institutions, which we express on a range from 0 to 1, or “no trust” to “a lot of trust”. Once again, we calculate an average score for each institution to which each country contributes equally.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In all four countries, local rights groups scored towards the top of the public’s institutional trust spectrum.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/ujP_0FN8DjeH-nrb4dQj-hLs0Ade6797AJnfz-M00o4/mtime:1435429301/files/RonFig2.png"><img width="460" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/ujP_0FN8DjeH-nrb4dQj-hLs0Ade6797AJnfz-M00o4/mtime:1435429301/files/RonFig2.png" /></a></div> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Across all cases, publics express high trust in religious institutions, whose four-country average is 0.65 on the 0 (least trust) to 1 (most trust) scale. Politicians, by contrast, were among the public’s least trusted actors, with an abysmal four-country average of 0.32. Local rights groups’ average of 0.52 places them in the upper end of this 0.32 to 0.65 range.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Taken together, Figures 1 and 2 suggest that across diverse world regions, publics view human rights and local human rights organizations with favor. When we combine those who highly trust LHROs with those who most strongly associate human rights with “promoting socio economic justice” and “protecting people from torture and murder,” we find that 23% of the public, on average, are hard-core human rights supporters.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Our polls may be overly optimistic, but the odds of over 6,000 randomly selected respondents responding <em>in remarkably consistent ways across very different countries</em> seem low. Instead, our polls likely reveal an underlying global trend obscured in polarized, elite-level debates: ordinary people <em>do</em> generally support human rights ideas and groups, even though both are often widely criticized in the media.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Human rights professionals work in highly contentious settings, where critics often allege that human rights ideas and NGOs are motivated by ill intentions or the agendas of foreign powers. Ordinary people, however, seem less inclined to believe the worst of rights-based actors.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">More work is required to test and extend our findings, but our research suggests that human rights promoters have reason for optimism.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_2.jpg '" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg '"> <img src=" https://opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Public opinion and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-e-mendelson/doubling-down-on-human-rights-data">Doubling down on human rights data</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jeongwoo-koo/public-opinion-on-human-rights-is-true-gauge-of-progress">Public opinion on human rights is the true gauge of progress</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/researchbased-messaging-changes-public-support-for-human-rights">Research-based messaging changes public support for human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kathy-frankovic/does-it-matter-when-polls-go-wrong">Does it matter when polls go wrong?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/scott-d-sagan-benjamin-valentino/use-of-force-american-public-and-ethics-of-war">Use of force: the American public and the ethics of war</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sarah-kreps-geoffrey-wallace/international-law-and-us-public-support-for-drone-stri">International law and US public support for drone strikes</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/donagene-barton-courtney-hillebrecht-sergio-wals/more-than-smoke-and-mirrors-citize">More than smoke and mirrors: citizen perceptions of human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow/mapping-human-rights-skepticism-in-mexico">Mapping human rights skepticism in Mexico </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dahlia-scheindlin/in-israel-implementing-human-rights-feels-wrong">In Israel, implementing human rights feels wrong</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/let-pollsters-pick-navigating-public-opinion-in-israel">Let the pollsters pick? Navigating public opinion in Israel</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-shannon-golden/struggle-for-truly-grassroots-human-rights-move">The struggle for a truly grassroots human rights movement</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Shannon Golden Archana Pandya David Crow James Ron Global Public Opinion and Human Rights Mon, 29 Jun 2015 10:00:00 +0000 Archana Pandya, David Crow, Shannon Golden and James Ron 93820 at https://opendemocracy.net The human rights crisis: a problem of perception? https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/nicola-perugini-neve-gordon/human-rights-crisis-problem-of-perception <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_right 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/_wewikPy14GjkEdqz7cwA1TLadn7sIGtrDEfxzmi-n4/mtime:1435019978/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549213/Gordon.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/DrwLL98jT3dwZta8CZROlr2QM9LspQ_YkndpDgMzoN0/mtime:1435019746/files/imagecache/article_xsmall/wysiwyg_imageupload/549213/Gordon.jpg" alt="" title="" width="140" height="84" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xsmall" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>The main crisis of human rights is not about perceptions, but about deeply rooted problems in power and politics. A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate, “<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/human-rights-mass-or-elite-movement" target="_blank">Human rights: mass or elite movement?</a>” <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/neve-gordon-nicola-perugini/la-crisis-de-los-derechos-humanos-%C2%BFun-problema-de-perce" target="_blank">Español</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/neve-gordon-nicola-perugini/la-crise-des-droits-de-l%E2%80%99homme-un-probl%C3%A8me-de-perceptio" target="_blank">Français</a></strong></em><strong><em><strong>,&nbsp;</strong><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/neve-gordon-nicola-perugini/%D8%A3%D8%B2%D9%85%D8%A9-%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%87%D9%84-%D9%87%D9%8A-%D9%85%D8%B4%D9%83%D9%84%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%82%D8%A9-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA%D8%9F" target="_blank">العربية</a></strong></em></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">When Israel is criticized about its rights-abusive policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the refrain most often heard among local politicians is that the government’s <a href="http://www.hasbarafellowships.org/" target="_blank">hasbara</a>—the Israeli propaganda machine—is inadequate. The problem, in other words, is not what Israel actually does to the Palestinians, but rather the inability to get its positive message across to the international community. This is usually referred to as “<a href="http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/foreign-ministry-pr-firm-rebrand-israel-as-land-of-achievements-1.255073" target="_blank">rebranding Israel</a>”. The underlying assumption here is that the merchandise is fine, and only the packaging needs to be replaced.</p><p dir="ltr">Rachel Krys’ <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/in-uk-public-discourse-undermines-support-for-human-rights" target="_blank">recent argument</a> is based on a similar logic, even though she is writing about a different issue. She tells us that most people in the UK do not support human rights, while arguing that this is happening because human rights are presented in a way that is disconnected from people’s everyday lives. She claims that if the public would hear less “negative discourse” about human rights and more “stories about old people challenging bad treatment, invasive decisions or the intrusion into their private and family life”, support for human rights would be much wider. Once again the problem with human rights has to do with perceptions, and the solution, here as well, is hasbara.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The relationship between representation and reality is, however, much more complex. It has to do with human rights themselves: the way they have been institutionalized, the political projects to which they lend themselves, their intricate connections to the state, and the alternative discourses of justice they omit and repress.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><span class="mag-quote-left">Human rights can, and often do, enhance domination.&nbsp;</span>We do not assume, as many human rights practitioners and scholars do, that more human rights necessarily lead to more emancipation. Indeed, the assumption that people would believe in human rights if only they better understood human rights work is misguided. Human rights can, and often do, enhance domination. This issue becomes particularly urgent when NGOs that purport to criticize abuse align themselves with the very powers they investigate and criticize.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Consider a </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.hrw.org/de/node/119909/section/3" target="_blank">2013 report</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> on drone attacks in which Human Rights Watch (HRW) examines six unacknowledged US military attacks against alleged Al-Qaeda members in Yemen. Eighty-two people, of whom at least 57 civilians, were killed in these attacks. Yet this is a mere sample of the 81 attacks carried out in Yemen, and it does not include the hundreds of targeted killings in Pakistan and Somalia.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">HRW argues that two of the six attacks were in clear violation of international humanitarian law because they only struck civilians, or they used indiscriminate weapons. HRW also states that:</span></p><p class="blockquote-new" dir="ltr">"The other four cases may have violated the laws of war because the individual attacked was not a lawful military target or the attack caused disproportionate civilian harm, determinations that require further investigation. In several of these cases the US military also did not take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians, as the laws of war require."</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The underlying logic of these statements is subtle, but very disturbing since it exposes how adherence to international law can advance domination. For HRW it is unclear whether the remaining four cases violated the law. But, if it turns out that the military had used discriminate weapons, taken all the “necessary precautions”, and finally killed civilians while targeting militants, then the "deliberate killing by a government" in another country halfway across the globe does not in fact constitute a violation. Phrases like “all necessary precautions” are exactly where human rights advocates begin aligning themselves with military power. &nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Following the dictates of international humanitarian law, HRW goes on to discuss whether the "terrorist suspects" are in fact "valid military targets", whether the situation in Yemen can be characterized as passing the "threshold of armed conflict" as well as whether the assassinations adhere to US policies of targeted killing. And, although it acknowledges the lawfulness of some of the attacks, it criticizes the US government for not offering compensation to families whose members were killed as civilian bystanders. Hence, as this report demonstrates, when human rights are subservient to international legal discourse, the best they can do is to call for a reduction of civilian casualties, the provision of economic compensation for victims, and guarantees that future targeted killings comply with the law.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/eQeIPn2GYpGxcBgNsJOMYAZqccgj_eTjkuvkoH7Bwmc/mtime:1435020488/files/Gordon.jpg" alt="" width="444" /> <br />Demotix/MusarratUllah Jan (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> A wounded civilian awaits medical treatment following a US drone strike in Wazirstan, Pakistan. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p>Indeed, such reports underscore what happens to human rights once they have been hijacked by the law and become a prism for debating the legality or illegality of violence—namely, they cease to raise questions about the morality and legitimacy of the law itself. This becomes even more striking when reading the HRW report not only for what it says, but also for what it fails to say. For example, the report cites Faisal Bin Ali Jaber, a relative of a cleric and policeman wrongfully killed during a drone attack, as saying: “We are caught between a drone on one side and Al-Qaeda on the other.” And, yet, HRW fails to acknowledge that for Ali Jaber the drone attacks are tantamount to Al Qaeda's acts of terrorism. This oversight is also a consequence of the reduction of human rights to the formal dictates of international law, an approach that HRW has doggedly adopted.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Regardless of the </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/drones-graphs/" target="_blank">thousands of civilians killed</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> during the drone wars, and the terrorizing effect these wars have had on entire populations, insofar as drones are armed with discriminate weapons and do not intend to kill civilians, the US drone wars are not—in HRW's view—a terrorist act. In this way, the law permitting the dominant to kill is preserved and even reinforced by those who struggle for human rights. It is precisely when human rights denunciations are articulated in a way that complies with the sovereign's right to kill that human rights become a discourse that rationalizes killing—what we call, counter-intuitively, “the human right to kill”.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Finally, it is crucial to ask whether the HRW's drone report really represents the population in Yemen. Put differently, the problem of representation does not only or primarily have to do with how human rights are portrayed in the media, but rather involves the fact that human rights NGOs operate as if they had a natural mandate from the wretched of the earth. In reality, however, human rights NGOs prevent human rights from becoming a popular language deployed by the people for their own—popular—mobilization. In this sense, human rights can never become a tool of the masses, but only of those experts who claim to represent the wronged population.</span></p><p>The crisis of human rights, in other words, is not really one of perceptions. It is about complicity with domination.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/human-rights-mass-or-elite-movement" target="_blank" onMouseOver="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Masses_Elites_Inset_2.png'" onMouseOut="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Masses_Elites_Inset_1.png'"> <img src="http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Masses_Elites_Inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Human rights: Mass or elite movement? – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/in-uk-public-discourse-undermines-support-for-human-rights">In the UK, public discourse undermines support for human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/ursula-levelt/can-%E2%80%9C-people%E2%80%9D-truly-set-agenda">Can “the people” truly set the agenda?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/clifford-bob/fighting-abuses-in-existing-powers">Fighting abuses in existing powers</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/barbara-frey/doing-orwell-proud-%E2%80%9Chuman-rights%E2%80%9D-slogans-in-mexico">Doing Orwell proud: “human rights” slogans in Mexico </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nicola-browne-dessie-donnelly/making-human-rights-matter-to-marginalised">Making human rights matter to the marginalised </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nidal-al-azza/belief-in-common-humanity-is-first-principle">Belief in common humanity is the first principle</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/eilat-maoz/human-rights-mirror-for-all">Human rights: a mirror for all</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/ezequiel-gonz%C3%A1lez-ocantos/speaking-with-elite-accent-human-rights-and-masses">Speaking with an elite accent: human rights and the &quot;masses&quot;</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/karina-ansolabehere/reforming-and-transforming-multi-directional-investigation-of-h">Reforming and transforming: a multi-directional investigation of human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/janice-gallagher/neither-elites-nor-masses-protecting-human-rights-in-real-world">Neither elites nor masses: protecting human rights in the real world</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-shannon-golden/struggle-for-truly-grassroots-human-rights-move">The struggle for a truly grassroots human rights movement</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/noam-sheizaf/replacing-peace-process-with-civil-rights-0">Replacing the peace process with civil rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/felipe-cordero/elites-still-matter-when-protecting-human-rights">Elites still matter when protecting human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/steve-crawshaw/activists-and-elites-connecting-dots">Activists and elites: connecting the dots</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Nicola Perugini Neve Gordon Global Human rights: mass or elite movement? Wed, 24 Jun 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Nicola Perugini and Neve Gordon 93766 at https://opendemocracy.net Human rights are revolutionary—in principle not practice https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/joel-r-pruce/human-rights-are-revolutionary%E2%80%94in-principle-not-practice <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_right 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/lVtwYdz_UrzlzHlPiP3EbFrpyg4_dCXWw5P-IVcjDvI/mtime:1434751133/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549213/Pruce.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/N4MNR-KWrZapPh5cS4Gjn-plV9NnditL9dMxbrR6ZjM/mtime:1434750573/files/imagecache/article_xsmall/wysiwyg_imageupload/549213/Pruce.jpg" alt="" title="" width="140" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xsmall" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>The practice of human rights is utterly inconsistent with the subversive backbone expressed in its norms, and this tension presents problems for the movement.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;"><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/joel-r-pruce/los-derechos-humanos-son-revolucionarios-en-principio-pero-no-en-la-pr" target="_blank">Español</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/joel-r-pruce/les-droits-de-l%E2%80%99homme-sont-r%C3%A9volutionnaires-%E2%80%A6-en-principe-pas-en-prati" target="_blank">Français</a></strong></em></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">In her compelling article, <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/doutje-lettinga/how-revolutionary-are-global-human-rights" target="_blank">Doutje Lettinga</a> prompts us to critically consider the relationship between transnational NGO advocacy and revolutionary grassroots activism, and the contrast is indeed stark. When activists Nadia Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina departed from the band Pussy Riot and later appeared at the 2014 Amnesty International benefit concert, “<a href="http://www.amnestyusa.org/Feb5Concert/" target="_blank">Bringing Human Rights Home</a>,” it was a far cry from their radical origins with the art collective, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voina" target="_blank">Voina</a>. Attending an event hosted at a pro-basketball arena, sponsored by multinational corporations, and accessible only to those who could afford the costly price of admission was not exactly an act of resistance. Indeed, the remaining members of Pussy Riot <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/06/nadia-masha-pussy-riot-collective-no-longer" target="_blank">called out their comrades</a> for joining the mainstream, pointing out that “institutionalized advocacy” clashed strongly with radical movements for emancipation.</p><p dir="ltr">But one initial, knee-jerk response to Lettinga’s probing question of “How revolutionary are global human rights?” may be “Very revolutionary!” After all, human rights demand a confrontation between citizens and the state. Human rights check the arbitrary exercise of power and correct market excess. To claim that the dignity of individuals should be prioritized in political and social decision-making is a subversive act. Only true radicals would even attempt to require the powerful to be transparent and accountable. And human rights seek to do precisely that by undermining traditional hierarchies and remaking society in line with their lofty aspirations. Human rights marshal resources and legal reform to better respect physical integrity, protect vulnerability and administer justice equitably. Constructing an ideal-type rights-bound political order would entail a fundamental transformation of any state that has ever existed. If human rights express a utopian vision, then they must be profoundly revolutionary.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">If these principles capture the essential nature of human rights, then why would radical activists like the remaining members of Pussy Riot distance themselves from such a noble enterprise? What explains this tension and how do we understand its origins and impact?</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"></span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Stephen Hopgood </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=80140100173990" target="_blank">describes Amnesty International</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> as having “no building blocks”: no prerequisite for membership, no philosophical litmus test, no audition, no faith commitment, no blood oath, no party affiliation and no barrier to entry. From the ideological perspective of the Cold War, this was seen as an attractive feature. Human rights were a catchall for disaffected liberal classes drawn to moral crusades and the pursuit of justice. Human rights advocacy groups positioned themselves as an alternative, as a palatable, least-common-denominator approach to politics. This, in a sense, is the force and meaning of universal human rights. It fits into whatever worldview you have without any anchors or attachments. Human rights can be personalized and can accommodate multiple functions.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/C6w8j8SKbvxJhMvYrRLj5S1A6GRE1SAWbYSEX8KnlsM/mtime:1434751518/files/Pruce.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Shutterstock/ojka (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> "Human rights can be personalized and can accommodate multiple functions." </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><span class="mag-quote-right" style="line-height: 1.5;">As a source of norms and ideas about the world, human rights have come to mean anything to anyone.&nbsp;</span>Into this ideological vacuum steps an odd cast of characters. As a source of norms and ideas about the world, human rights have come to mean anything to anyone. Conservative advocates champion </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://humanrightsfoundation.org/about/about-hrf/" target="_blank">free speech and expression</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, while ignoring threats against workers. Trade unions </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.ituc-csi.org/human-and-trade-union-rights?lang=en" target="_blank">utilize human rights discourse</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, but have opposed the extension of </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Politics/unions-stand-immigration-reform/story?id=18288148" target="_blank">rights to immigrant laborers</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. Catholic opponents of </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/abortion/abortion-the-first-human-rights-abuse.cfm" target="_blank">women’s access to health care</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> frame their agenda in terms of human rights and </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.nationalreview.com/article/291455/catholic-betrayal-religious-freedom-george-weigel" target="_blank">religious freedom</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. Human rights are appropriated and selectively applied across the political spectrum, from </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://duckofminerva.com/2014/02/guest-post-considering-the-bds-movement-from-a-human-rights-perspective.html" target="_blank">BDS</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> to </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/01/warren-farrell-mens-rights-movement-feminism-misogyny-trolls" target="_blank">men’s rights</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> with no checks, no permissions and no propriety. At times “human rights” seems to stand for nothing in particular at all. Human rights are political claims without politics. In the world of human rights advocacy, anything goes—and that’s exactly the problem.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">That human rights assume this role in 21st century global affairs is a product of the mainstreaming of human rights values undertaken by the major transnational NGOs over the past fifty years. The desire to build a broad constituent base compels organizations to conduct outreach and mobilization campaigns with mass appeal. In a strong sense, transnational human rights NGOs run away from anything resembling ideational foundations so as to coax the most diverse audience. Cobbling together </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Save_Darfur_Coalition:_Organizational_Members" target="_blank">opportunistic coalitions</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> may win advocates </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/emma-naughton-kevin-kelpin/when-evaluating-human-rights-progress-focus-also-on-jour" target="_blank">short-term victories</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, but it will also hollow out the core of a nascent movement. Many major organizations want elected officials and corporate CEOs to see them as partners to court, not as challengers to fear. Lettinga is absolutely correct to point to impartiality as a tactic that serves this goal as well: to bolster credibility, even as it diminishes the prowess to pressure for structural change.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Resolving the debate over the revolutionary nature of human rights rests on a paradox of form and content. Global human rights advocacy is housed in </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/carrie-oelberger/how-does-professionalization-impact-international-human-rights-org" target="_blank">professional</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> institutions, which are seen as bureaucratic, detached and </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/salil-shetty/moving-amnesty-closer-to-ground-is-necessary-not-simple" target="_blank">alien</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. But the form of human rights is also expressed in the media, marketing and communication strategies that filter out radicalism in order to foster mass appeal. The insurgent qualities of human rights claims become diluted when processed through branding strategies and affixed to bumper stickers. Human rights discourse is weakened when it graces the lips of </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.looktothestars.org/cause/human-rights" target="_blank">vapid celebrities</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> who seek only to grow their own status. Outreach efforts that hinge on cheap </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.invisiblechildren.com/kony-2012" target="_blank">emotional pleas and simplified narratives</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> do damage to the radical content of human rights by assuming so little of potential supporters—meeting them where they are, rather than getting them where they need to be. Human rights, like art, “</span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/01/03/eyes-j03.html" target="_blank">should elevate, not pander</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">,” and when commercialism and consumerism become key platforms for human rights struggle, we must not be surprised when our demands are met with derision.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The practice of human rights is utterly inconsistent with the subversive backbone of the movement, and Pussy Riot articulated this contradiction elegantly in their Dear John letter to Masha and Nadia. Unless the human rights community develops a voice—an assertive, genuine, self-realized voice—its language will continue to be misappropriated and revolutionary grassroots activists will continue to look elsewhere for collaborative partnerships. Instead of using Pussy Riot as a prop or publicity stunt to leverage for cultural cachet, human rights NGOs should learn from them about true radical praxis. The promising moment at which the human rights community now finds itself may either be a turning point for a new positive direction, or the last gasp before slinking into irrelevance.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="//www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img src="//www.opendemocracy.net/files/openPagesidebox.png " alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/doutje-lettinga/how-revolutionary-are-global-human-rights">How revolutionary are global human rights?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/salil-shetty/moving-amnesty-closer-to-ground-is-necessary-not-simple">Moving Amnesty closer to the ground is necessary, not simple</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/carrie-oelberger/how-does-professionalization-impact-international-human-rights-org">How does professionalization impact international human rights organizations?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/lucia-nader/firm-yet-flexible-keeping-human-rights-organisations-relevant">Firm yet flexible: keeping human rights organisations relevant</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/adriano-campolina/decentralizing-can-make-global-human-rights-groups-stronger">Decentralizing can make global human rights groups stronger</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/wendy-h-wong/time-for-change-future-of-ingos-in-international-human-rights">A time for change? The future of INGOs in international human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/emily-martinez/human-rights-diversity-goes-beyond-northsouth-relations">Human rights diversity goes beyond North-South relations</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/transnational-rights-violations-call-for-new-forms-of-cooperation">Transnational rights violations call for new forms of cooperation</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/susan-waltz/new-trend-old-roots-%E2%80%9Cinternationalization%E2%80%9D-in-amnesty%E2%80%99s-history">New trend, old roots: “internationalization” in Amnesty’s history</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/emma-naughton-kevin-kelpin/when-evaluating-human-rights-progress-focus-also-on-jour">When evaluating human rights progress, focus also on the journey</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/dhananjayan-sriskandarajah-mandeep-tiwana/towards-multipolar-civil-society">Towards a multipolar civil society</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights openGlobalRights-openpage Joel R. Pruce Global Tue, 23 Jun 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Joel R. Pruce 93705 at https://opendemocracy.net Is the relationship of the ICC and R2P truly “win-win”? https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/ruben-reike/is-relationship-of-icc-and-r2p-truly-%E2%80%9Cwinwin%E2%80%9D <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_right 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/nLxK2NcjQNVQ1wOvGBbanjEUHfrIDyyfAgJdS1aMEGI/mtime:1434511372/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549213/Reike_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/NTpbqjoaWNHYs00rq9-Gfxz41Mu-qRqO4HBvHiifvPU/mtime:1434510905/files/imagecache/article_xsmall/wysiwyg_imageupload/549213/Reike_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="140" height="77" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xsmall" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><p>Evidence from Syria and Libya suggests that linkages between the ICC and R2P are not always win-win. A contribution to the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> debate on the <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/international-criminal-court">ICC</a>. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/ruben-reike/la-relation-entre-la-cpi-et-la-r2p-estelle-vraiment-une-approche-o%C3%B9-%C2%AB-t" target="_blank">Français</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/ruben-reike/%D9%87%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%A9-%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%83%D9%85%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%88%D9%85%D8%A8%D8%AF%D8%A3-%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%A4%D9%88%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%87%D9%8A-%D9%81%D8%B9%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%8B-" target="_blank">العربية</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">It has become standard practice to call on the Security Council to refer situations of imminent or ongoing atrocity crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Syria is an obvious case in point. Besides ensuring justice for victims, a key rationale is the hope that ICC referrals can advance objectives related to the “responsibility to protect” (R2P)—that is, to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. It is assumed that the principle of R2P and the ICC can mutually reinforce each other’s objectives: the ICC can provide international society with an instrument to deter atrocity crimes, while R2P can lend political support and capacity to enforcing international criminal law. </p><p dir="ltr">Whether this win-win assumption holds in concrete cases, however, has received surprisingly little systematic scrutiny. There are only three cases where the Security Council has put an ICC referral to a vote. In 2005, the Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC. In 2011, the Council referred the situation in Libya. And in 2014, a referral of the situation in Syria was vetoed by Russia and China. But the Security Council’s use of the ICC to realize R2P objectives can be more problematic than the conventional narrative might suggest.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><span class="mag-quote-right" style="line-height: 1.5;">The Security Council’s use of the ICC to realize R2P objectives can be more problematic than the conventional narrative might suggest.&nbsp;</span>Asking the same three questions around the cases of Libya and Syria helps illustrate this point: 1) What was the purpose behind the ICC referral proposal? 2) What were the implications for R2P? 3) What were the implications for the ICC?</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Let’s start with Libya. On 26 February 2011, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1970, which referred the situation in Libya to the ICC. Libya is not a state party to the Rome Statute, so a Security Council referral was necessary for the ICC to get jurisdiction. The overarching objective of Resolution 1970, including the ICC referral, was to deter specific Gaddafi-associated individuals from committing atrocity crimes.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">As to whether the ICC referral helped to deter crimes, there is some anecdotal evidence in favour. &nbsp;There are rumors that Gaddafi contacted his lawyers in London to evaluate his options. There were also defections of key ministers, diplomats and members of the armed forces. Moreover, while Gaddafi troops used excessive violence to retake contested cities in early March 2011, they stopped short of committing large-scale atrocities. On the other hand, however, the UN’s Department of Political Affairs and the African Union (AU) complained that the ICC complicated their efforts to find a political solution—and many believe that mediation is a critical tool for R2P, as ending the conflict would end the risk of atrocities.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Part of the problem here was that the ICC moved forward extraordinarily quickly, issuing a request for arrest warrants against Gaddafi, his son, and security chief in mid-May 2011. Those working on the UN mediation said that the quick ICC process did not help and that they avoided mentioning the ICC. The AU was even more outspoken about the perceived negative effect of the ICC involvement. The AU called on its member states not to cooperate in the execution of the arrest warrant and even sought to halt the ICC investigation.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">For the ICC, the implications of the Libya referral were largely negative. First, the referral included provisions requiring the ICC to use existing resources for the investigation and excluding nationals of non-state parties from the Court’s jurisdiction in Libya. These conditions, it seems, will always be necessary to get the support of the US. Second, state cooperation and follow-up was not forthcoming. For example, in June 2012, four ICC staff members who tried to visit Saif al-Islam (indicted by the ICC) in Libya were detained. Third, making the ICC part of a broader “R2P package” gave rise to the impression that an ICC referral is a first step towards military intervention. This argument was used by Russia to explain its veto of the resolution referring the situation in Syria to the ICC.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/KwkBzo1vkUguOPts37AcupB3MzoFgGc6bl1hFz9aEfQ/mtime:1434511598/files/Reike.jpg" alt="" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/Metziker (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Fighter jets fly over Libya. "Making the ICC part of a broader 'R2P package' gave rise to the impression that an ICC referral is a first step towards military intervention," yielding counter-productive diplomatic results. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Asking the same questions for the Syria case, let’s examine the results. First, as regards the purpose, some states supported the referral out of a genuine belief that the atrocities in Syria require some form of accountability. Second, states hoped that an ICC referral would send a deterrence message to all parties involved. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, those supporting the ICC referral tried to expose and isolate Russia and China, hoping that this could be leveraged into adopting a stronger, separate resolution on cross-border humanitarian access. Resolution 2165 on cross-border access was negotiated in parallel and eventually adopted in July 2014. It seems, therefore, that the ICC referral proposal was intended both as a deterrent and as a bargaining chip to improve humanitarian access.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">As to whether the effort had an impact, it certainly conveyed the message to parties to the Syrian conflict that there might be accountability in the future, especially as it boosted initiatives to document atrocities and preserve evidence for future trials. Moreover, the separate, successful Security Council resolution did improve cross-border humanitarian access, which helped to protect some individuals in Syria. Yet, atrocities in Syria continue and may even be worse, with the rise of the Islamic State.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">As concerns the impact on the Court, compromises were made to gain maximum support for the resolution (even though it was clear that the resolution would be vetoed, such support would isolate Russia and China). Clauses on excluding funding for the Court and on excluding ICC jurisdiction over the Golan Heights were needed to get the US vote. The paragraph on an effective follow-up needed to be watered-down to get the vote of Chad, which upset many ICC states parties. Second, the controversial nature of the initiative may have changed the politics on the ICC in the Security Council. Diplomats fear, for example, that it may have pushed China more firmly into the camp of those willing to openly oppose the Court.</span></p><p>This cursory examination of the cases of Libya and Syria should caution a little bit against over-enthusiastic calls for linking R2P and the ICC. The record on how well the Security Council’s instrumentalization of the ICC has served the goals of R2P is mixed at best, while the implications for the ICC were largely negative. Going forward, it seems imperative to identify practical solutions for at least dampening some of the potentially problematic implication of the R2P-ICC nexus.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div 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href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/lT2klEoYk77JaJYaTnSa6U_sXV7fog51o-UbjHZ9HvM/mtime:1434313765/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549213/Junco.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/gzgDaSKH39sh_639Wmy1Ey8MOuFoASImJbSm3TFF87s/mtime:1434313449/files/imagecache/article_xsmall/wysiwyg_imageupload/549213/Junco.jpg" alt="" title="" width="140" height="90" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xsmall" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>Mexico is roundly criticized for its failure to protect civil and political rights. But the “Seguro Popular” healthcare program is making significant progress. A contribution to the <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">openGlobalRights</a> <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/debating-economic-and-social-rights" target="_blank">debate on economic and social rights</a>. &nbsp;<em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/david-garc%C3%ADa-junco-machado/seguro-popular-los-avances-de-m%C3%A9xico-en-la-protecci%C3%B3n-de" target="_blank">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Mexicans are <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/natalia-saltalamacchia/three-decades-of-socialization-later-mexicans-view-%E2%80%9Chuman-ri" target="_blank">embracing human rights</a> more than ever before, and Mexico’s constitution has recognized that healthcare is a universal right for more than thirty years. And yet, as made obvious by conflicts over “Obamacare” in the United States, this most obvious of rights is rarely accepted without debate. Although Mexico has recognized that the government is indeed responsible for providing a dignified and high-quality health care system, is this just more <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/barbara-frey/doing-orwell-proud-%E2%80%9Chuman-rights%E2%80%9D-slogans-in-mexico" target="_blank">human rights talk</a> with no substance? And if not, what has the government actually done? </p><p dir="ltr">Mexico’s National Commission for Social Welfare in Healthcare (the “Seguro Popular”, or popular insurance), created in 2004, has been a key public policy. We can evaluate its progress along three factors: financing, equity and actual healthcare impacts. </p><h2>Financing</h2><p dir="ltr">Financing is critical if the healthcare system is to offer timely, high-quality services. One substantial change introduced by Seguro Popular was the creation of binding legal financial obligations. As a result, Mexico’s health budget no longer depends on political or economic circumstances; instead, the government must, by law, allocate, a minimum budget to each card-carrying member of the new Seguro Popular, or the older social security systems.</p><p dir="ltr">Because of this fixed per-person sum, increases in the number of insured people were accompanied by similar increases in resources. The resulting funding boost was enormous, making it possible to deal with rising Seguro Popular enrollment, increase demand for health services, and ensure a stable and predictable flow of funds to improve infrastructure and capacities. </p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/MkAFbI2h3mdzGFvx-ByFiLhce_im0QfY7_553qbu1u8/mtime:1434313981/files/JuncoChart.png" target="_blank"><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/MkAFbI2h3mdzGFvx-ByFiLhce_im0QfY7_553qbu1u8/mtime:1434313981/files/JuncoChart.png" alt="" width="460" /></a> </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Source: Fifth government report, Office of the President, 2011 </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <h2>Social equity</h2><p dir="ltr"><span class="mag-quote-left" style="line-height: 1.5;">Seguro Popular helped reduce inequality by guaranteeing broad health coverage to the roughly 50% of Mexicans who were not enrolled in the traditional insurance programs.&nbsp;</span>Prior to the arrival of Seguro Popular, most of Mexico’s public healthcare expenses were directed towards people with stable jobs and access to the country’s traditional employment-related social security systems. In 2002, two of every three government health care pesos were directed to this already-ensured population. </p><p dir="ltr">Seguro Popular helped reduce this inequality by guaranteeing broad health coverage to the roughly 50% of Mexicans who were not enrolled in the traditional insurance programs. As a result, the government now spends about the same for everyone’s healthcare, regardless of whether they are part of Seguro Popular. Previously, the ratio was a lopsided 2 to 1 in favor of the more privileged members of the traditional health care systems. </p><p dir="ltr">In addition, a <a href="http://seguropopular.cide.edu/documents/130486/130726/201002_gasto.pdf" target="_blank">study by researchers</a> at the University of Chicago (2010) concluded that Seguro Popular had reduced healthcare-related bankruptcy in Mexico by 16-22%, and reduced healthcare-related impoverishment by 22-36%. Furthermore, the probability of falling into bankruptcy had been reduced in almost every Mexican state, in both urban and rural areas.</p><h2>Impact on public health</h2><p dir="ltr">To determine how Seguro Popular has affected the health of the registered population, Seguro Popular carried out an in-depth evaluation with 65 teams of investigators and a wide array of national and international universities. </p><p dir="ltr">Some <a href="http://www.ennvih-mxfls.org/evaluaciones.html" target="_blank">results</a> were encouraging. Registration for Seguro Popular increased the probability that families would visit a primary health clinic, which is fundamental to the control, prevention and care of disease. The effect varied by social class, but overall, the mere act of Seguro Popular registration was associated with an increase of up to 30% in the number of doctor visits. This effect was higher in adult women living in urban communities.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/__67-UZuYM3iCRyp3Ty-vPHqyH-FZmvi7Iyona5evVY/mtime:1434313920/files/Junco.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/World Bank Photo Collection (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> "Overall, the mere act of Seguro Popular registration was associated with an increase of up to 30% in the number of doctor visits." </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Registration also increased Seguro Popular members' sense of having better health than peers of the same age and gender; for urban residents, moreover, it reduced their probability of suffering from colds, coughs, stomach aches and heart disease. Meanwhile, in rural areas, Seguro Popular membership reduced the probability of missing work due to health problems.</p><p dir="ltr">More complex illnesses also registered positive impacts. For example, the rate of cessation of treatment (due to inability to pay) for children with cancer decreased from 30% to 5%, and the <a href="http://himfg.com.mx/descargas/documentos/BMHIM_2012/BMHIM_vol_69_Espanol/BMHIM_69-3-abr-mayo_2012_espanol.pdf" target="_blank">survival rate was 70% over three months</a>. Also, as <a href="http://himfg.com.mx/descargas/documentos/BMHIM_2012/BMHIM_vol_69_Espanol/BMHIM_69-3-abr-mayo_2012_espanol.pdf" target="_blank">reported in medical literature</a>, after the introduction of Seguro Popular, the survival rate of acute lymphoblastic leukemia reached 80% over a period of 115 months, when children received proper treatment.&nbsp;</p><h2>Final thoughts</h2><p>More than 10 years after its establishment, Seguro Popular’s principle challenge remains achieving higher quality medical service and strengthening its links to the traditional Mexican health care systems, which rely on employment-related insurance for those lucky enough to have stable jobs. </p><p dir="ltr">Overall, however, Seguro Popular has been a great step forward in creating a free, dignified, high quality universal healthcare system. It has not been an easy task, and there are still great challenges and areas for improvement.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But while there is still a long way to go in human rights, Mexico has made significant progress in fulfilling its’ citizens’ right to the maximum available level of healthcare. At home and abroad, these achievements should be recognized, supported and celebrated.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> 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href="/openglobalrights/benjamin-james-waddell/linking-mass-emigration-violence-and-human-rights-violations">Linking mass emigration, violence and human rights violations in Mexico</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights David García Junco Machado Central and South America, & the Caribbean Human rights resonance in Mexico Response article Debating economic and social rights Thu, 18 Jun 2015 08:30:00 +0000 David García Junco Machado 93535 at https://opendemocracy.net “What human rights?” Why some companies speak out while others don’t https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mauricio-lazala-joe-bardwell/%E2%80%9Cwhat-human-rights%E2%80%9D-why-some-companies-speak-out-while <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_right 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/eusdwkNZe58BBC8Kh3ecgzOJnt3uhUw0RLbc7j2RJT8/mtime:1434320361/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549213/Lazala.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/u2WuQZaW8_Z1GbJgyNXJh4qP254dFA-gWwkFhQqNIos/mtime:1434319559/files/imagecache/article_xsmall/wysiwyg_imageupload/549213/Lazala.jpg" alt="" title="" width="140" height="93" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xsmall" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>Many companies speak out for human rights when it relates directly to their operations, but are some companies willing to take a stand on broader human rights issues? <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mauricio-lazala-joe-bardwell/%C2%AB-quels-droits-de-l%E2%80%99homme-%C2%BB-pourquoi-certaines-entrepr" target="_blank">Français</a>, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mauricio-lazala-joe-bardwell/%E2%80%9C%C2%BFqu%C3%A9-derechos-humanos%E2%80%9D-por-qu%C3%A9-algunas-empresas-alzan" target="_blank">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">After much pressure from human rights activists, and just days after Formula One announced its <a href="https://www.formula1.com/content/fom-website/en/toolbar/legal-notices.html" target="_blank">new human rights policy</a>, the company approved Azerbaijan to host its first Grand Prix. When the company’s chief executive, Bernie Ecclestone, was <a href="http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/04/19/uk-motor-racing-prix-ecclestone-idUKKBN0NA0IK20150419" target="_blank">asked</a> if he would be looking into the country’s human rights record, he replied, "We have. I think everybody seems to be happy. Doesn’t seem to be any big problem there."</p><p dir="ltr">Despite Ecclestone’s sunny picture, in reality Azerbaijan has a dismal human rights record and is currently executing a massive crackdown on civil society, as <a href="http://www.hrw.org/reports/2013/09/01/tightening-screws" target="_blank">reported</a> by Human Rights Watch and others. These actions have been accompanied by massive PR campaigns to improve the country’s overall image. While Formula One’s new human rights statement notes that the company will “engage in meaningful consultation with relevant stakeholders in relation to any issues raised as a result of our due diligence”, what they are doing in practice is just business as usual.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">While there are many positive examples of companies speaking out for human rights, far too many remain silent when human rights are at stake in repressive states, or, in a small amount of cases, work against the interests of human rights. It is </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://business-humanrights.org/en/company-action-platform/insights-and-analysis" target="_blank">increasingly common</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> for large multinationals to have public human rights policies, many of which result in real action to address the human rights issues directly related to their operations. Often, these policies include commitments to undertake human rights due diligence and engage with stakeholders. But when some companies establish or continue operations in repressive states, these public commitments are regularly at odds with their inaction and silence.</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/iApY2PGsbS6VVQr1Jokjp7FrINYVvB1pjgnq4bETnAM/mtime:1434320444/files/Lazala.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Demotix/Aziz Karimov (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Azerbaijani police detain a protester in Baku. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Companies tend to see the risks outweighing the benefits of publicly speaking out. The greater the leverage, the greater the risk, and the greater the reluctance to speak out. For example, earlier this year, Leber Jeweller, Inc., Tiffany &amp; Co. and Brilliant Earth released </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://business-humanrights.org/en/angola-trial-of-journalist-rafael-marques-to-resume-over-book-on-abuses-in-diamond-mining-tiffany-leber-jeweler-urge-govt-to-drop-charges" target="_blank">statement</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">s calling on the Angolan government to drop charges against Rafael Marques, a journalist on trial for defamation after exposing abuses in the diamond industry. They joined a plethora of NGOs putting pressure on the Angolan authorities, but none of these companies actually had operations in Angola. In fact, ITM Mining, who does have operations in Angola, pressed their case forward even when settlement with other parties looked likely.</span></p><p><span class="mag-quote-right" style="line-height: 1.5;">Even where a company has significant leverage over a government, it might be reluctant to use this to further human rights.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Even where a company has significant leverage over a government, it might be reluctant to use this to further human rights. BP, for example, is the largest foreign investor in Azerbaijan, investing billions each year. Asked to respond to human rights concerns around its sponsorship of the European Games (being &nbsp;held in Azerbaijan in June 2015), BP </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://business-humanrights.org/sites/default/files/documents/Response-to-NGO-coalition-re-Baku-games_19Sep14.pdf" target="_blank">replied</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> that it does “not believe that seeking to influence the policies of sovereign governments could be considered to be a part of our role as a sponsor of the European Games”. Of course, as </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://business-humanrights.org/en/government-repression-of-human-rights-activists-when-should-business-speak-out-from-hong-kong-streets-to-the-european-games-in-azerbaijan" target="_blank">David Petrasek said</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, BP would certainly seek to 'influence the policies of sovereign governments' when the company's interests are at stake.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Where the protection of human rights clashes with business interests, even some companies with strong human rights commitments show disregard for them. Earlier this year, 31 Swedish companies </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://business-humanrights.org/en/how-not-to-respond-to-human-rights-leadership-a-primer-for-business-sweden-saudi-arabia-beyond#c121502" target="_blank">released</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> a letter highlighting their concerns around statements by the Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, criticizing Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. The Swedish companies called for the protection of economic relationships over these human rights considerations.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">So when do companies speak out? And do they only speak up for human rights when it aligns with their business interests?</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In the garment sector, in January 2014, clothing companies sourcing from Cambodia, including adidas, Columbia, Gap, H&amp;M, Inditex, Levi Strauss and Puma, </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://thediplomat.com/2014/01/striking-a-balance-in-cambodia/" target="_blank">condemned</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> the government for its violent crackdown on striking garment workers that resulted in deaths and injuries. In March 2013, in Peru, six US textile firms </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://business-humanrights.org/en/6-us-textile-apparel-companies-urge-peruvian-govt-to-repeal-law-that-allegedly-condones-labour-rights-violations#c71028" target="_blank">urged</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> the Peruvian Government to repeal a law that condoned labour rights violations, making it difficult for them to implement their own sourcing codes of conduct. And in 2009, in response to the coup in Honduras, major apparel companies </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://business-humanrights.org/en/honduras-letter-from-nike-adidas-gap-knights-to-us-secretary-of-state-calls-for-the-restoration-of-democracy" target="_blank">called for</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> the restoration of democracy. Of course, concerns over supply chains play a big role in these cases.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In the ICT sector, Google famously </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://business-humanrights.org/en/cyber-attacks-in-china-on-rights-activists-accounts-lead-google-to-review-china-operations-says-it-will-no-longer-censor-search-results-may-shut-down-googlecn#c41386" target="_blank">pulled out of China</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> in 2010 over censorship attempts. In the food sector, two Thai seafood associations provided the bail for rights activist Andy Hall, who was imprisoned and charged in 2014 following his investigations into abuses of migrant workers in the food industry in Thailand. In March of this year, 379 businesses and organizations </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://business-humanrights.org/en/usa-379-businesses-organizations-submit-statement-to-us-supreme-court-in-support-of-same-sex-marriage" target="_blank">submitted a public statement</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> to the US Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage, including corporate behemoths such as Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft and Morgan Stanley. And in the last couple years, </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://business-humanrights.org/es/colombia-para-promover-un-ambiente-favorable-al-proceso-de-paz-con-la-insurgencia-m%C3%A1s-de-120-empresas-privadas-participan-en-campa%C3%B1a-%E2%80%9Csoy-capaz%E2%80%9D" target="_blank">hundreds of companies</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> have publicly </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.radiored.com.co/noticias/internacional/gremios-y-autoridades-comerciales-de-espana-apoyan-proceso-de-paz-y-posconflicto-en-colombia/" target="_blank">expressed their support</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> for the peace process between the Colombian Government and the FARC guerrillas, when in the past most companies in Colombia kept a very low profile in relation to the armed conflict.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">More recently, civil society has called on FIFA sponsors to respond to human rights concerns at construction sites for the Qatar 2022 World Cup. So far, </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://business-humanrights.org/en/companies-asked-to-respond-to-questions-on-their-sponsorship-of-fifa-and-human-rights" target="_blank">adidas</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://business-humanrights.org/en/workers-groups-call-on-fifa-sponsors-to-act-on-qatar-conditions-coca-cola-visa-respond" target="_blank">Coca-Cola and Visa</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> have issued statements supporting workers’ rights in the country.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Speaking out against abuse is the right thing to do. But a “business case” to support tolerant and open civic spaces is not too difficult to make. Businesses clearly benefit when the rules of the game are clear, consumers are empowered, employees are respected, and the judicial system works well. Where human rights thrive and defenders are protected, companies will also find it easier to comply with their own codes of conduct and meet their </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://business-humanrights.org/en/company-policy-statements-on-human-rights" target="_blank">public commitments</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> to human rights.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Speaking out for human rights could even help companies. Firms in the US are discovering that taking an enlightened public stance on social justice issues hasn’t hurt their bottom line and makes business sense—it helps attract and retain new customers and the best staff. Investors are also increasingly looking at the </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.iii.co.uk/articles/13371/socially-responsible-investing-increase" target="_blank">social and environmental records of companies</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, and companies needing access to multilateral banks and export credit agencies need to comply with strict international standards. And sometimes businesses just don’t want the bad press that comes with being associated with a repressive government.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Companies can be a powerful voice in the protection of the vulnerable in repressive countries, particularly where abuses are taking place linked to their industry and when they are major investors. Unfortunately, many companies remain unwilling to speak out for human rights, especially when they think that doing so might hurt them financially. However, a few brave companies are helping to create and expand "enabling environments" for human rights. Perhaps they can set a new trend for companies speaking out to protect civic space.</span></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="//www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img src="//www.opendemocracy.net/files/openPagesidebox.png " alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrightsopenpage/asuncion-lera-st-clair/corporate-concern-for-human-rights-essential-to-tack">Corporate concern for human rights essential to tackle climate change</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrightsopenpage/kevin-jennings/global-economic-scorecards-that-ignore-rights-reward-intoler">Global economic scorecards that ignore rights reward intolerance</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrightsopenpage/sif-thorgeirsson/doors-closing-on-judicial-remedies-for-corporate-human-rig">Doors closing on judicial remedies for corporate human rights abuse</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights-blog/gast%C3%B3n-chillier/prosecuting-corporate-complicity-in-argentina%E2%80%99s-dictatorship">Prosecuting corporate complicity in Argentina’s dictatorship </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-petrasek/new-powers-won%E2%80%99t-play-by-old-rules">New powers won’t play by old rules</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kenneth-roth-peggy-hicks/encouraging-stronger-engagement-by-emerging-powers-on-huma">Encouraging stronger engagement by emerging powers on human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/felipe-cordero/elites-still-matter-when-protecting-human-rights">Elites still matter when protecting human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jose-manuel-barreto/can-we-decolonise-human-rights">Can we decolonise human rights?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights openGlobalRights-openpage Joe Bardwell Mauricio Lazala Global Wed, 17 Jun 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Joe Bardwell and Mauricio Lazala 93538 at https://opendemocracy.net ICC action and the domestic effects of transnational criminality https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/valentina-azarov/icc-action-and-domestic-effects-of-transnational-criminality <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_right 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/vOUYOBwMrYz-ySSbJCulJIgPp21uLXjDBdtXcVfIy70/mtime:1434062145/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549213/Azarov.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/w5HzDMqr9ThUb8qXFzHYykC5vcsOiqwk4VHnIcesopo/mtime:1434061810/files/imagecache/article_xsmall/wysiwyg_imageupload/549213/Azarov.jpg" alt="" title="" width="140" height="93" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xsmall" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>Noisy discussions in the Israeli/Palestinian context have obscured how the ICC’s role may impact Israel’s relations with other states, especially in Europe. &nbsp;A contribution to <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights">openGlobalRights</a>’ debate on the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/international-criminal-court">ICC.<em><strong>&nbsp;</strong></em></a><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/valentina-azarov/%D9%86%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B7-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%83%D9%85%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A2%D8%AB%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%84%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%AC%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%B1-%D9%84%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%AF%D9%88" target="_blank">العربية</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">International criminal law puts the spotlight on the role of specific individuals, and on the domestic legal and administrative mechanisms responsible for international crimes. But it doesn’t operate in isolation; it interacts with domestic and regional bodies of law. Thus, if the ICC is investigating state officials and entities, domestic law in other countries may impact relationships with those under investigation (in some cases even before any prosecutions). Criteria enshrined in international humanitarian and criminal law factor into domestic law-based assessments of inter-state military cooperation, arms trade, and individuals’ (or entities’) ability to travel or manage funds and assets abroad. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">This means the actions of the International Criminal Court (ICC) could trigger incidental effects far beyond individual criminal prosecutions. Such effects follow from other states’ <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/valentina-azarov/legal-house-keeping-in-eu" target="_blank">internal legal obligations</a> to respect international law, and to maintain consistency between their public policy positions and their internal legal order. </p><p><span class="mag-quote-right" style="line-height: 1.5;">The ICC examination of the situation in Palestine means third party states and private actors, which have already begun to awaken to the legal risks entailed by their relations with Israel, are likely to become even more acutely aware of these risks&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Thus, the ICC examination of the situation in Palestine means third party states and private actors, which have begun to awaken to the legal risks entailed by their relations with Israel, are likely to become even more acutely aware of these risks. This arises, in part, due to international criminal law’s “</span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://books.google.ps/books?id=jrR3WO_5rXIC&amp;pg=PA95&amp;lpg=PA95&amp;dq=international+criminal+law+personification&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=_6CeQom_4E&amp;sig=4TzYTbUFJBKzVT2pQhEEL6itv2w&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=PDpoVZaiDIHLyAPys4D4CA&amp;ved=0CB4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false" target="_blank">personification effect</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">”: the fact that it pursues and names individuals and private entities involved in criminal conduct. If, for instance, the ICC or other actors raised concerns that Israeli military or political officials, or private entities such as settler land acquisition and management companies, were involved in international crimes, foreign states might find it necessary to restrict their activities, their transfers of funds, and their travel.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The European Union (EU) has already enacted similar </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/sanctions/ukraine-crisis/" target="_blank">steps</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> with regards to Russia’s unlawful annexation of Crimea—showing that concerns over international law and legality can have domestic legal effects. &nbsp;For example, an EU Council Decision imposes travel restrictions and asset freezes on 150 people and 37 entities—valid in all EU Member States. The basis for these measures—adopted “in full compliance with the requirements of EU law”, according to the European Council—is the individual responsibility of these persons, including Russian-appointed political and military officials, for furthering and maintaining the illegal annexation and transformation of sovereign Ukrainian territory.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The restrictions are based on the EU’s foreign policy aims, but also on EU Member States’ need to ensure internal security in the visa-free Schengen Area by prohibiting the entry of individuals involved in organized criminal offenses. Under the Schengen Border Code, Member States </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:02006R0562-20131126&amp;from=EN" target="_blank">may refuse entry to specific persons</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> if an alert has been issued against them for being “considered a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or the international relations of any of the Member States.”</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Another EU </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32014D0512&amp;from=EN" target="_blank">Council Decision</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> directs Member States to respond to Russian actions that are destabilizing Ukraine by imposing a complete arms embargo. The ban, which follows the </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/08675r2en8.pdf" target="_blank">EU Code of Conduct on Arms Export</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">, is also in line with international standards enshrined in the Arms Trade Treaty. These prohibit arms transfers when there is an “overriding risk” they will be used to “assert by force a territorial claim” or commit grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Notably, the Ukraine and Russia </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/ukrainerussia/" target="_blank">sanctions</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> imposed by the US include similar travel and trade restrictions, and are also intended to “send a strong message to the Russian government that there are consequences for their actions that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”</span></p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/27ompP-yB4Fhx7P8XouBk7r--Aa7brkm4R5D8ZUvoe0/mtime:1434062578/files/Azarov.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Demotix/Kate Nye (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> A protest against an Israeli arms supplier in Brighton, UK. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In the case of Israel, international investigations and prosecutions of individuals are not, as yet, on the horizon. However, should the ICC take these steps, there could be additional repercussions for Israel’s internationally illegal and allegedly criminal conduct. Such investigations would mean third party states—some which are already considering the effects of Israeli wrongdoing on their domestic legal orders—would have additional scope for adopting restrictive measures to exclude suspect Israeli transnational criminality from their domestic domain.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">At the institutional level, for instance, some third party states have apparently measured their arms sales and military cooperation with Israel against the risks associated with the Israeli military’s poor record of compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law. &nbsp;Following the summer 2014 hostilities in Gaza, which Israel code-named Operation Protective Edge, Spain </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/spain-freezes-military-exports-to-israel-9649266.html" target="_blank">banned</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> all arms exports to Israel (it sold €4.9 million of grenade fuses, optical systems, and other arms to Israel in 2013), and the UK initiated a </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/16/british-arms-sales-israel-court-challenge" target="_blank">review</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> of its sales of arms and military equipment to Israel (worth £7 billion annually from January to June 2014). In August 2014, the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) found that there were up to 12 active export licenses for UK arms that may have been used </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/exclusive-uk-approved-7m-israeli-arms-sales-in-six-months-before-gaza-conflict-9878280.html" target="_blank">in the Gaza hostilities</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. It decided to suspend them </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.caat.org.uk/resources/countries/israel/legal/2014-11-05.tsol-to-ld.pdf" target="_blank">in the event that</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> hostilities recommence. In October, Israel was apparently </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://defence.pk/threads/israel-excluded-from-war-games-in-italy-following-protests.339830/" target="_blank">excluded from</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> multinational air force drills in Italy.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">For its part, Israel has launched a series of inquiries into the 2014 hostilities with Gaza, largely aimed at heading off ICC investigations. As part of its attempts to benefit from the privileges of a law-abiding state, it </span><a style="line-height: 1.5;" href="http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.635021" target="_blank">insists</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> that the military’s investigation of its own alleged wrongdoing is in line with international law.</span></p><p>The selective enforcement of international law is often criticized. Yet the close ties between international law and the domestic legal order of law-abiding states committed to the project of international law, present opportunities for enforcement. As Jens Ohlin <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-assault-on-international-law-9780199987405?cc=ps&amp;lang=en&amp;" target="_blank">forcefully affirms</a>, “self-interest is the source of obligation in the international system, not its antithesis.” Even short of prosecutions, the normative ripple effects of the ICC’s close examination of Israeli wrongdoing through the lens of ‘international criminality’ are likely to further existing domestic enforcement processes hinged on international legality.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/international-criminal-court" target="_blank" onMouseOver="document.Imgs.src=' https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/ICC_Inset_2.png'" onMouseOut="document.Imgs.src=' https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/ICC_Inset_1.png'"> <img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/ICC_Inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="The International Criminal Court – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/icc-%E2%80%93-threat-or-opportunity-for-israelpalestine">ICC – threat or opportunity for Israel-Palestine?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/leslie-vinjamuri/palestine%E2%80%99s-accession-to-icc-may-strengthen-peacefirst-approach">Palestine’s accession to the ICC may strengthen peace-first approach</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jessica-montell/icc-%E2%80%93-threat-or-opportunity-for-israelpalestine">ICC – threat or opportunity for Israel-Palestine?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jack-snyder-leslie-vinjamuri/to-prevent-atrocities-count-on-politics-first-law-late">To prevent atrocities, count on politics first, law later</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/mark-kersten/icc-and-its-impact-more-known-unknowns">The ICC and its impact: more known unknowns</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/thomas-ebbs-elham-saudi/icc-in-libya-%E2%80%93-justice-delayed-and-denied">The ICC in Libya – justice delayed and denied</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/geoff-dancy-bridget-marchesi-florencia-montal-kathryn-sikkink/icc%E2%80%99s-deterrent-impac">The ICC’s deterrent impact – what the evidence shows</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/priscilla-hayner/does-icc-advance-interests-of-justice">Does the ICC advance the interests of justice?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Valentina Azarova Global Middle East & North Africa The International Criminal Court Response article Tue, 16 Jun 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Valentina Azarova 93484 at https://opendemocracy.net Religion and rights in Bangladesh: maintaining a delicate balance https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mubin-s-khan/religion-and-rights-in-bangladesh-maintaining-delicate-balance <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_right 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/PaqcjO2AJFY3zone4ssPnhm1F3nm_Be4yr63O9qbTKA/mtime:1431935819/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549213/MKhanBlogger.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/JKdh5N85zPQ_wQxyavxLSOuZNGlld55M6ITZSdU1qPg/mtime:1431935941/files/imagecache/article_xsmall/wysiwyg_imageupload/549213/MKhanBlogger.jpg" alt="" title="" width="140" height="93" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xsmall" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>Bangladeshi activists work around religious elements, sometimes even collaborating with them. The rise of religious groups, however, is becoming both a challenge and a threat. A contribution to <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights" target="_blank">oGR</a>’s <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/james-ron-archana-pandya/introducing-openglobalrights%E2%80%99-newest-debate-religion-and-h">religion and human rights debate</a>. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mubin-s-khan/%E0%A6%AC%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%82%E0%A6%B2%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%A6%E0%A7%87%E0%A6%B6%E0%A7%87-%E0%A6%A7%E0%A6%B0%E0%A7%8D%E0%A6%AE-%E0%A6%8F%E0%A6%AC%E0%A6%82-%E0%A6%85%E0%A6%A7%E0%A6%BF%E0%A6%95%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%B0%E0%A6%83-%E0%A6%8F%E0%A6%95%E0%A6%9F%E0%A6%BF-%E0%A6%B8%E0%A7%82%E0%A6%95%E0%A7%8D%E0%A6%B7%E0%A7%8D%E0%A6%AE-%E0%A6%AD%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%B0%E0%A6%B8%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%AE%E0%A7%8D%E0%A6%AF-%E0%A6%AC%E0%A6%9C%E0%A6%BE%E0%A7%9F-%E0%A6%B0%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%96%E0%A6%BE" target="_blank">বাংলা&nbsp;(Bengali)</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">The recent spate of gruesome <a target="_blank" href="http://newagebd.net/107555/online-activist-killed-over-anti-islamic-writings/#sthash.CugHvM0m.dpbs">killings</a> of bloggers critical of Islam—Bangladesh’s state religion—is a timely reminder of the potential perils that rights and development activists face in this country as they navigate an increasingly intolerant and more hazardous landscape. </p><p dir="ltr">In just over a month, two bloggers were hacked to death in public places, following three similar attacks in 2013, in which one blogger <a target="_blank" href="http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2013/02/16/killers-hacked-rajib-first-then-slit-his-throat-police">died</a>. A decade back, a famous author also fell <a target="_blank" href="http://www.dhakatribune.com/law-amp-rights/2013/apr/25/5-give-deposition-humayun-azad-murder-case">victim</a> to a similar attack for his critical views on Islam. Indeed, over the last decade, Bangladesh saw a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/SRaug06_2.pdf">rise</a> in the number of large and small militant Islamist organizations, who carried out explosives attacks on courts and at cultural events around the country.</p><p dir="ltr">And yet, in the decade before this shift into darker terrain, Bangladesh could have staked a claim as the <a target="_blank" href="http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/forum/the-challenge-of-resilience-in-bangladesh-negotiating-faith-politics-and-development">poster child</a> for a relatively tolerant and pluralistic society among majority Muslim countries in the world. The country has enjoyed democratically elected governments headed by women for 22 of the last 24 years. This is home to Nobel prize-winning <a target="_blank" href="http://www.grameen-info.org/grameen-bank-at-a-glance/">Grameen Bank</a>, which provides microcredit to more than seven million rural Bangladeshis, 97%of whom are women. It is also the second-largest ready-made <a target="_blank" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladeshi_RMG_Sector">garment exporter</a> in the world, an industry that employs 80% women.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/6sr1RVT5XgoGpU5gIhX-OJ35LPfQ84vnfIj7PEMaN7Q/mtime:1431786534/files/MKhanBlogger.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Demotix/Mamunur Rashid (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Bangladeshis hold a torch-light vigil for slain blogger Ananta Bijoy Das. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">The country has more than 2,300 non-government organizations registered with the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ngoab.gov.bd/site/page/3de95510-5309-4400-97f5-0a362fd0f4e6">NGO Bureau</a> and around 100,000 organizationsworking in the development and rights field, dealing with issues such as women’s rights, family planning and minority rights. Foremost among them is BRAC, the world’s largest NGO. </p><p dir="ltr">So what changed? That is a question rights and development activists—if not the entire populace—is grappling with. For years, religious groups and rights and development activists have walked a delicate balance in Bangladesh: sometimes cooperating, sometimes confronting each other, but mostly keeping out of each other’s way.</p><p dir="ltr">It would be difficult to point to instances of religious leaders playing an active role in upholding rights. However, Sara Hossain, honorary director of Bangladesh Legal Aid Services Trust, observes that clerics(who sometimes act as community leaders) have successfully served as instruments in the implementation of numerous projects, especially development projects.</p><p dir="ltr">One such project was the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theindependentbd.com/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=209841:family-planning-programme-in-bangladesh-a-successful-intervention-a-investment&amp;catid=176:stethoscope&amp;Itemid=214">family planning program</a> actively pursued by the government since the 1970s in one of the most densely populated countries in the world—160 million people over 147,570 km. Successive governments implemented a birth control policy which saw fertility rates fall to 2.3 children per woman in 2011 from 6.94 in 1971, the year of the country’s birth. Among many actors who contributed to this drop through awareness-raising were local imams and muezzins, incorporated into the program by the Ministry of Religious Affairs. By all measures, it was an astounding achievement given the religious group’s natural aversion to birth control. What seems to have worked in this instance is that unlike Catholicism, Islam’s position on birth control is more fluid, allowing the government and activists space to work around an otherwise sensitive issue.</p><p dir="ltr">Contrasting that are cases where human rights activism directly conflicts with clear religious edicts, and in these instances cooperation is usually a non-starter. A case in point was the long-awaited 2011 <a target="_blank" href="http://mowca.portal.gov.bd/sites/default/files/files/mowca.portal.gov.bd/policies/64238d39_0ecd_4a56_b00c_b834cc54f88d/National-Women-Policy-2011English.pdf">Women Development Policy</a> outlining a number of steps to improve the situation of women in politics, education and other areas: it left out a critical equal inheritance right, much to the chagrin of women’s rights activists. When activists raised issue with this conspicuous absence, a minister is said to have quipped, “when you can get the numbers on the streets like the clerics can, we will also give you what you want.” On the other hand, the Prime Minister called a special meeting with leaders of the clerical community to assure them that the policy did not contain anything against Islam, after rumblings of discontent reached the government’s trepid ears. </p><p dir="ltr"><span class="mag-quote-left">While successful coexistence and cooperation between rights activists and religious groups can be traced back many years, a conflicting relationship has recently become the norm.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span>While successful coexistence and cooperation between rights activists and religious groups can be traced back many years, a conflicting relationship has recently become the norm. Religion no longer seems to be only a question of belief, but also one of organized politics—a view espoused by Ms. Hossain. Over the last decade and a half, religious leaders and their followers have <a target="_blank" href="http://archive.thedailystar.net/suppliments/2013/New%20Year%202013/pg6.htm">organized themselves</a> as pressure groups and militant organizations, employing many of the same methods of organization and dissemination used by rights and development activists. While state organs, cultural organizations, the media and certain individuals have so far been their targets, activists are in constant fear of straying into their path.</p><p dir="ltr">For a country that has made impressive strides in the fields of health, education and the employment of women in its first four decades, it would be a sad outcome indeed if rights and development work were to clash against growing intolerance and religious extremism. After all, Bangladesh is among the few Muslim majority countries with secularism written into its constitution.</p><p dir="ltr">One way to avoid this outcome would be to stop taking up language or positions that could directly flare up religious sentiments. After all, these sentiments still have a monopoly over people’s sympathy in Bangladesh, as opposed to values associated with global human rights. For example, while the success of family planning has made <a target="_blank" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_Bangladesh">abortions</a> a fairly acceptable and prevalent phenomenon in the country, field workers are often the first ones to resist proposals advocating for broader legal coverage on abortion. If they did so, it would invariably set back their successes and turn them into targets of religious groups.</p><p dir="ltr">However, the risk here is that activists will get too cautious and fail to take a stand on issues that really matter. In the end, the challenge that rights activists now face is finding that balance between accommodating religion—or at least not aggravating religious groups—staying safe, and standing up for human rights.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/S2bnBGbzFvCN2wej0XUK1fRtoM-dg5ArTX6bF7mOO0Y/mtime:1431935954/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="https://dy1m18dp41gup.cloudfront.net/cdn/farfuture/dC7kM15HogVQn2hiq7xGVZNtqPoRyUGc9gNtqfKJBTg/mtime:1432110643/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/religion-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onMouseOver="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Religion_Inset_2.png'" onMouseOut="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Religion_Inset_1.png'"> <img src="http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Religion_Inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Religion and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nida-kirmani/religion-as-human-rights-liability">Religion as a human rights liability</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/adem-kassie-abebe/religion-and-human-rights-partnership-with-dose-of-pragmatism">Religion and human rights - partnership with a dose of pragmatism</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/amyn-b-sajoo/faith-in-rights-ethics-of-public-square">Faith in rights: ethics of the public square</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/xaviera-medina/what-do-muslim-women-want-finding-women%E2%80%99s-rights-in-islam">What do Muslim women want? Finding women’s rights in Islam</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/iyad-barghouthi/for-human-rights-religious-interpretation-matters-most">For human rights, religious interpretation matters most </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/parsa-venkateshwar-rao-jr/starting-at-top-why-rights-groups-need-to-engage-religiou">Starting at the top: why rights groups need to engage religious leaders</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/larry-cox/human-rights-must-get-religion">Human rights must get religion</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/muhtari-aminukano-ayaz-ali-atallah-fitzgibbon/islamic-and-un-bills-of-rights-same-d">Islamic and UN Bills of Rights: same difference</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Mubin S. Khan South Asia Response article Religion and Human Rights Thu, 11 Jun 2015 08:30:00 +0000 Mubin S. Khan 92836 at https://opendemocracy.net