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When states crack down on human rights defenders


Bakke, Kristin M; Mitchell, Neil J; Smidt, Hannah M (2020). When states crack down on human rights defenders. International Studies Quarterly, 64(1):85-96.

Abstract

Research suggests that civil society mobilization together with the ratification of human rights treaties put pressure on governments to improve their human rights practices. An unexplored theoretical implication is that pressure provokes counterpressure. Instead of improving treaty compliance, some governments will have an interest in demobilizing civil society to silence their critics. Yet we do not know how and to what extent this incentive shapes governments’ policies and practices regarding civil society organizations. In this article we argue and show—using a new global database of government-sponsored restrictions on civil society organizations—that when governments have committed to human rights treaties and, at the same time, continue to commit severe human rights abuses, they impose restrictions on civil society groups to avoid monitoring and mitigate the international costs of abuses.

Abstract

Research suggests that civil society mobilization together with the ratification of human rights treaties put pressure on governments to improve their human rights practices. An unexplored theoretical implication is that pressure provokes counterpressure. Instead of improving treaty compliance, some governments will have an interest in demobilizing civil society to silence their critics. Yet we do not know how and to what extent this incentive shapes governments’ policies and practices regarding civil society organizations. In this article we argue and show—using a new global database of government-sponsored restrictions on civil society organizations—that when governments have committed to human rights treaties and, at the same time, continue to commit severe human rights abuses, they impose restrictions on civil society groups to avoid monitoring and mitigate the international costs of abuses.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Social Sciences & Humanities > Political Science and International Relations
Uncontrolled Keywords:political science and international relations, sociology and political science
Language:English
Date:March 2020
Deposited On:20 May 2020 10:45
Last Modified:24 Mar 2024 02:48
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0020-8833
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/isq/sqz088