Human Rights International NGOs:  A Critical Evaluation


Human Rights International NGOs: A Critical Evaluation



Published as Chapter 7 in NGOs and Human Rights: Promise and Performance, Claude E. Welch, Jr., ed.

The Human rights movement can be seen in a variety of guises. It can be seen as a movement for international justice or as a cultural project for “civilizing savage” cultures. In this chapter, I discuss a part of that movement as a crusade for a political project. International nongovernmental human rights organizations (INGOs), the small and elite collection of human rights groups based in the most powerful cultural and political capitals of the West, have arguably been the most influential component of the human rights movement. They have led the human rights movement, as they have sought to enforce the application of human rights norms internationally, particularly toward repressive states in the South in areas formerly colonized by the West. This chapter calls INGOs conventional doctrinalists because they are marked by a heavy and almost exclusive reliance on positive law in treaties and other sources of international law. Only after conceding that INGOs indeed have a specific political agenda can discussions be had about the wisdom, problems, and implications for the advocacy of such values. And only then can conversations about the post liberal society start in earnest.

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University of Pennsylvania Press



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Human rights, NGOs, West, Movement, Conventional, Liberal, International Law


Human Rights Law | International Law | Law

Human Rights International NGOs:  A Critical Evaluation