POLI SCI 244- Human rights and ethnic conflict

  1. Why are human rights controversial?
    states dont have the same interests to support the same rights to the same extent --> debate on exactly which rights apply
  2. Which rights are more important
    • nonderogable rights - cannot be suspended, special status (freedom from cruel/degrading punishment, recognition as a person before law, freedom of thought, religion,...)
    • prisoners of conscience - imprisoned for peaceful reasons

    --> can determine which states value by looking at which they spend money to defend.
  3. Why do some states violate human rights?
    • - cant afford to provide basic rights (school)
    • - cant control military / police
    • - defend national security against ppl using violence
    • - if state thinks theyre under attack --> persecute groups they think might be allied with attackers
    • - abuse political opponents to keep power
  4. Human rights more likely in which type of government
    Autocracy / unstable democracy (political opponents repressed)
  5. Why do states sign human rights agreements
    - show commitment to democracy / political liberalization / reform (forming gov'ts who want to secure new type of government)

    • - means rewards from other countries (financial rewards, membership to international organizations that have other benefits - EU
    • EX: all EU members have to have human rights, problem with Turkey suppressing the Kurds.

    - some just feel sympathy (ex: responses to natural disasters, and human rights

    • - self interest in promoting peace and stability --> cant flourish at home if not abroad, civil conflicts could spill into surrounding areas, Haiti --> FL, Bosnia --> all around. labor unions want equal wages to level the playing field (trade)
    • So all countries have an interest in preventing

    various motivations- all put pressure on gov'ts to make human rights a priority.
  6. Why dont states obey human rights laws?
    - against political opponents - China
  7. Do international human rights laws make a difference?
    1. might not matter --> still dependent on the victims (powerless) getting help. There is no 3rd party to make sure others help. Other states have a weaker interest in penalizing

    2. can appear to conform to norms (sign agreements) but still violate in private (use agreements to mask violations)

    3. countries most likely to sign agreements are also more likely to violate agreements (dictatorships get pressure from opponents to ratify, but b.c rule is unstable, most likely to abuse rights (torture opponents / insurgents)
  8. Why are human rights laws not very effective
    • -violators are rarely punished --> usually just sanctions and name and shame
    • - inconsistent human rights policies --> ineffectiveness
    • (violators care more about securing power than fearing international penalties)
    • - costly to enforce
  9. Why do some states take action against human rights
    - diplomatic pressure at home - depends on how informed the public is (TAN's - violations are "underground" - up to TANs to bring to surface

    - more likely if it serves a larger interest (The west applauded the Helsinki Accords b/c it put pressure on the USSR to start political/economic change)

    - when it doesnt look blatantly like violating the principle of soverignty (ex- Apartheid movement in Africa seen as "anticolonial struggle" not foreign intervention
  10. Hopes for improvement of protection of human rights int the future
    Right of Individual petition - states/individuals can petition international legal bodies directly if they think a state, or their own state, has violated

    universal jurisdiction - countries can prosecute violators regardless of citizenship of indiciduals involved / location of crime (even if none of prosecutors are from that state)

    • ICC - International Criminal Court - only if accused is national state, crime is on that states territory
    • 1. Uganda
    • 2. Congo,
    • 3. Central African Republic
    • 4. Sudan / Janjaweed
  11. VALENTINO: Why mass killing is the "Final Soultion"
    no need for future efforts to resolve perceived problems in the future.

    last of other efforts to "solve" problems by other means --> it is a strategy
  12. Val: when is mass killing most attractive
    • - if regimes want radical communization
    • - if regimes think problems can be solved only by removing the pop. (hatred of victims)
    • - looking to defeat guerrilla insurgencies
  13. VAlentino: 3 definitions of mass killings
    • intentional
    • massive number of deaths (50,000 over 5 or less yrs)
    • against noncombatants
  14. Valentino: logic behind mass killing
    • - believe it is the best available means to achieve radical goals, counter threats, or solve military problems
    • - means to an end --> consider other options first

    but on the basis of their perceptions and beliefs (not necessarily true) - often backfires
  15. Valentino: three most prominent types of mass killing
    dispossessive/communist - want to take all material goods from a large number of ppl, kill those that resist

    ethnic - racist/nationalist motives - ethnic opponents pose threat that can only be countered by removing them, hate (bloodiest)

    territorial - want to resettle territories already inhabited by other ppl - want to populate with their own ppl
  16. Valentino: other types of mass killings: coercive

    three types
    1. counterguerilla
    2. terror
    3. imperialist
    coercive mass killing - use massive violence / threat of more violence to coerce civilians / leaders into submission

    • 3 types:
    • 1. counterguerilla - guerilla forces depend civilians, deprive them of their base support
    • 2. terror - trying to end war quickly - target civilians to get country to surrender without tackling military forces
    • 3. imperialist - want to diminish cost of building/keeping large empire. Kill lots of rebellious subjects to show all others what will happen if they resist
  17. ROSS (role of natural resources in civil war

    lootable resources - easy or hard to extract, more likely to start which type of conflict, (easy or hard to resolve - will it start the other type of conflict?)
    easy to extract / transport, start non-separatist conflict, once started - harder to resolve, little danger or igniting separatist conflicts (diamonds and drugs (coca and opium)
  18. Ross - unlootable resources
    hard to extract (oil, natural gas, deep shaft minerals) - produce separatist conflicts
  19. Ross - obstructable resource
    easily blocked by a small number of individuals with small weapons
  20. if lootable, will it benefit local people or government
    local people - relies on unskilled work, general more local income

    • tend to produce fewer grievances
    • prolong nonsepratist conflicts b.c of tendency to benefit rebel groups / cause problems in army
    • more difficult to resolve - fragmentation and widespread benefits make sanctions harder to keep, more costly for poor/local ppl
  21. Unlootable - start what type of conflict
    separatist conflict - about grievances over distribution of resource revenue

    should make nonseparatist conflicts briefer - benefit govt more but only if govt is stronger

    if obstructable can present rebels with extortion opportunities
  22. lootable resources / unlootable resources - which will benefit rebels/ govt
    • lootable - rebels - also more likely to produce problems inside army that controlsit
    • unlootable - govt
  23. if resource is lootable how will it affect the the length of non-separatist conflicts
    prolong- rebels are usually weaker, need funding - combat will go on til they run out of money
  24. how does obstructability affect duration and intensity of conflicts
    obstructable - increase duration/intensity - rebels have opportunity to extort
  25. if a resource is illegal, who will benefit
    rebels - unless govt can endure internatl sanctions
Card Set
POLI SCI 244- Human rights and ethnic conflict
ethnic conflict, human rights, wp chap 11