Between Principle and Practice

Between Principle and Practice: Human Rights in North-South Relations

Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    Between Principle and Practice
    Book Description:

    Based on case studies of five Third World countries - Sri Lanka, the Philippines, China, Indonesia, and Suriname - Gillies explores the extent to which policy principles were applied in practice, showing that consistent, coordinated, and principled action is elusive even for countries with a reputation for internationalism. He highlights the growing rift between North Atlantic democracies and emerging Asian economic powers, the effectiveness of using aid sanctions to defend human rights, and the vicissitudes of human rights programming in emerging democracies.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6603-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Tables and Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    • 1 Human Rights and Foreign Policy
      (pp. 3-31)

      Tiananmen Square, Dili, Halabjah, El Mozote, La Cantuta - these are places infamous for gross human rights abuses. By contrast, Canada, the Netherlands, and Norway are three prosperous industrial democracies with an international reputation for protesting such violence. How well deserved is their reputation? This study examines the human rights diplomacy of Canada, the Netherlands, and Norway in the Third World. It pays special attention to the linkage of human rights and development aid, because all three states have built bridges between these previously disconnected issues. To do this, the study draws on case material to compare each state’s resolve...

    • 2 Frameworks for Human Rights Analysis
      (pp. 32-54)

      In the last chapter, I explained why human rights should be linked to development aid. This chapter moves from theory to practice. Its focus is on method. Developed here are three analytic frameworks: for documenting human rights violations, for assessing national performance, and for choosing among a range of policy options to protect and promote human rights. These frameworks will be used to examine statecraft and to test, in case studies, the competing hypotheses. Method is thus a bridge from international relations theory to foreign policy practice.

      The first framework organizes the documentation of human rights data. It focuses on...

    • 3 Dutch Aid to Suriname, 1975—1990: The Litmus Test for Political Conditionality
      (pp. 57-75)

      At 2 AM on 8 December 1982, fifteen people were taken from their beds in Paramaribo, Suriname’s capital. Given no chance to dress, they were hauled into military vehicles and taken away.¹ The arrested were no ordinary group; they were journalists, lawyers, academics, army officers, businessmen, and a trade union leader. They were opinion leaders from major sectors of Surinamese society. Several were members of the Association for Democracy. All were suspected by military authorities, then ruling Suriname, to be conspirators in an impending coup attempt. The suspects were taken to Fort Zeelandia, an army barracks and prison. At 3:45...

    • 4 The Philippines: Foreign Aid and Human Rights in an Uncertain Democracy
      (pp. 76-100)

      This case study examines Canadian and Dutch diplomacy during the Aquino administration in the Philippines and the problems that each donor faces in forging closer links between human rights, democratization, and development aid.¹ It considers several questions. First, how can an effective aid program be planned and implemented at a time of armed conflict and escalating human rights abuses? Second, can aid programs be adapted to keep up with rapidly changing political circumstances? Third, is a policy of strict neutrality possible in a deeply divided, militarized society? Fourth, who benefits from development aid? Can it redress social injustice and empower...

    • 5 Principled Intervention: Norway, Canada, and the Sri Lankan Conflict
      (pp. 101-139)

      Once a focus of international interest for its stable polity and progressive welfare system, Sri Lanka today is a grim example of the resurgence of communal violence in many parts of the world. Closer now to Bosnia than to Costa Rica, Sri Lanka’s democratic stability has been shaken by a cycle of ethnic violence that will shape its political course for several generations.

      This case study poses several questions about Norwegian and Canadian diplomacy in Sri Lanka. Is a consistent human rights policy possible? How should donors adapt their aid programs to rapid social and political change in recipient countries?...

    • 6 Riding the Tiger: Western Responses to Tiananmen Square
      (pp. 140-173)

      Last June, there occurred in Beijing, a rebellion which was supported by hostile forces abroad and [which] constituted an attempt to overthrow the legitimate system set forth in the Constitution through violent means. The Chinese government took resolute measures to quell the rebellion in the interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people.This is entirely China’s internal affair and is a matter different in nature from the question of human rights.

      Speech by the permanent representative of the People’s Republic of China at the United Nations, 1 December 1989 (emphasis added) This case study is a “snapshot” of...

    • 7 Defending Rights in East Timor: Canadian and Dutch Relations with Indonesia
      (pp. 174-198)

      On 12 November 1991, Indonesian troops opened fire on a procession of mourners as they walked towards the cemetery in Dili, East Timor, where a youth who had been shot dead two weeks before was buried. No one knows how many died that day. The initial official verdict was nineteen dead. A commission of inquiry established by President Suharto later put the death toll at “about fifty.” Human rights organizations have estimated that three hundred is nearer the mark. Claims and counterclaims about political killings have been common since the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975, but this time...

    • 8 Between Discretion and Participation: Institutional Frameworks for Human Rights Policy
      (pp. 201-222)

      I want now to turn from the specific to the general, from practice to policies. What governments do must be matched against what they say. Policy blueprints and institutional innovations are among the unassertive levers of statecraft. They signal the emergence of an issue but may not explain activism in the field. That is why I shall briefly consider the influence of domestic political culture before turning to institutional innovations in order to examine the tension between democratic participation and executive discretion in foreign policy.

      Canada and the Netherlands are the main focus here. Moreover, since many of the structures...

    • 9 Between Principle and Practice: Ends and Means of Human Rights Statecraft
      (pp. 223-256)

      Is a consistent human rights policy feasible? It is what activists and parliamentarians want. But governments are reticent, saying that conventional diplomacy needs more flexibility than such policies would allow. This chapter takes up the issue of consistency, particularly as it affects the linkage of human rights and development aid. Canada, the Netherlands, and Norway hold much the same position on the purpose of human rights statecraft, but the practical integration of human rights and development aid is still unfinished.

      The question of policy coherence is behind the seemingly endemic conflict between governments and an informed public in the human...

    • 10 Between Ethics and Interests: Human Rights in North-South Relations
      (pp. 257-280)

      If the resolve to defend human rights abroad is gauged by a state’s willingness to incur costs to other important national interests, then the evidence in this study suggests that Canada, the Netherlands, and Norway are seldom disposed to let human rights considerations trump more self-serving interests, even though all three states profess ethical duties beyond their borders. The tension between human rights and foreign policy is manifest at three levels of analysis: system, state, and society. At the systemic level, states must negotiate the tension between, on the one hand, the norms of sovereignty and non-intervention - which reify...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 281-336)
  10. Index
    (pp. 337-339)