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The human rights costs of NGOs’ naming and shaming campaigns

Crisis, Accountability, and Opportunity

Clair Apodaca

International human rights INGOs’ advocacy campaigns of naming and shaming are intended as forms of leverage against recalcitrant governments to encourage their compliance with legal and moral human rights standards. However, these campaigns can have the opposite effect. Criticism of a government’s policy and behavior can also put the INGO staff and the victims at risk of a backlash of retaliatory violence. This chapter reviews moves beyond the commonly debated aspects of INGO accountability by examining the philosophical arguments for and against INGOs accountability for the unintended consequences of the naming and shaming campaigns on nonparticipants.

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Clair Apodaca

As a human right, the child’s right to life entails a claim on both domestic and international resources, imposing duties on states and international actors. The lending decisions of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) can greatly influence, directly or indirectly, the realization of the child’s right of survival. Yet, international financial institution (IFI) loans come with conditions that can interfere with the ability of the recipient state to fulfill its human rights obligations to the child. In order to explore the human rights impact and responsibility of IFIs, this study attempts to initiate an investigation of the effects of IFI lending on child mortality rates. The study uses an unbalanced panel of observations from 161 developing countries, covering the years 1996–2013. Testing the effects of several different types of lending, the author finds that World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) lending subjects children to conditions that increase their risk of death. International Development Association (IDA) lending, on the other hand, benefits child survival, but the coefficients are small. IMF concessional lending is statistically insignificant in reducing child mortality until the year in which the program expires (seven year lag), at which time child mortality increases. IMF non-concessional lending has no effect on child mortality, although in the medium term, five years after the IMF loan, it reduces mortality.

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Clair Apodaca

Donald Trump's rhetoric and actions have foreshadowed an administration that has little respect for human rights. Under the guise of “America First,” Trump wants to reduce America’s long-standing commitment to humanitarianism, poverty reduction, democracy, women’s health, and human rights. The contradictions between the current aid request and the United States historic, albeit often inconsistent and disputed, position in human rights promotion can have global repercussions. An “America First” (and only) strategy can have long-term consequences for human rights, poverty alleviation, and economic development, even after Trump is out of office. The Trump foreign aid budget is an important case because it illustrates what could happen if the United States, the largest donor, turns its focus inward. This chapter will assess structural trends and policy shifts as emerging contradictions in U.S human rights policy and poverty alleviation relevant to foreign aid.