History, International relations, Amnesty International, Amnesty International USA, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, and International League for the Rights of Man
Using archival collections and published primary sources, this dissertation offers a bottom-up, social historical perspective on how several international human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the United States during the Cold War--the International League for the Rights of Man, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), Americas Watch and Helsinki Watch--formed a transnational advocacy network that exposed abuses and shamed governments into ending them. It finds that a small circle of rooted cosmopolitans--a term used by Sidney Tarrow to describe "outsiders inside/insiders outside"--was responsible for the emergence of a movement during the mid-1970s that was centered in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. The activists profiled here were not the powerful, but neither were they the powerless. They tended to be highly-educated professionals who were drawn into activism after their moral sensibilities had been greatly offended. The emotional connections that formed between activists and victims thus arose within the historical context of intensifying market relations in this contemporary era of globalization. But why the spectacle of distant suffering drove some people to devote themselves to advancing the cause of human rights can be answered only in deeply personal terms. Biography is crucial to understanding how this transformation occurred for them: religious beliefs, a long-held cultural interest, a friend who experienced political repression and symbolized the plight of an entire country, previous work on domestic civil liberties, or their own victimization. Their worldview was based on a far-reaching conception of one's ethical responsibilities. As Kwame Anthony Appiah has argued, lives are given value by the identities that shape them--the philosophical basis of a cosmopolitanism that is premised upon "kindness to strangers." Activists proceeded in a similar path from an abstract notion of the rights-bearing individual to immersing themselves in the lived experiences of prisoners, dissidents, and other persecuted individuals they may have never actually met in person. Lacking the authority of state actors, activists had to act as moral entrepreneurs. Their social value was providing elites with information. The researchers who gathered the material for the reports published by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch became experts who were called to testify before Congress. Journalists quoted their findings to counter or corroborate the official version of events. NGOs also developed legal expertise that they used to expand the reach of international human rights law. As this subfield became more widely taught at law schools, some of which established programs dedicated to it, a generation of lawyer-activists took the international human rights movement in a new, more litigious direction. Publicity was just as important. It was easier to mobilize public opinion against repressive governments if the victims were well known; even better if activists became part of the story. By reaffirming their accuracy and objectivity, activists could gain the trust of reliable donors, philanthropic foundations, wealthy benefactors, and celebrities, all of whom became important sources of income that enabled their NGOs to expand during the last three decades of the twentieth century.
National Review. 6/26/1981, Vol. 33 Issue 12, p708-708. 1/2p.
HUMAN rights, INTERNATIONAL relations, HUMANISTIC ethics, INTERNATIONAL law, and UNITED States -- Politics government -- 1981-1989
The article defends the U.S. approach to human rights in other countries as of 1981. This approach is exemplified by the belief that while U.S. Congress expects the nation to respect human rights in absolute terms, the executive may particularized its application. The same approach is concretized by the alignment of countries in the world with respectable records on human rights with the U.S.
National Review. 5/5/1997, Vol. 49 Issue 8, p22-24. 2p. 1 Black and White Photograph.
INTERNATIONAL relations, FOREIGN relations of the United States -- 1993-2001, CHINA -- Foreign relations, PRESIDENTS of the United States, UNITED States legislators, HUMAN rights, FREEDOM of religion, CLINTON, Bill, 1946-, UNITED States, and CHINA
The article criticizes the administration of United States President Bill Clinton for its neglect of human rights issues in its foreign policy towards China. China's brutal persecutions of Christians has caught the attention of people in the United States. Several conservative legislators in the United States have issued appeals for the Clinton administration to raise the issues of religious freedom and human rights in its dealing with China. The Clinton criticized those who call for raising the issues of religious freedom and human rights as radicals.