Holding the Line: Human Rights Defenders in the Age of Terror
Author: Landman, Todd
Source: British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Volume 8, Number 2, May 2006 , pp. 123-147(25)
Abstract:Human rights defenders have received renewed attention in the current period owing to new institutional and normative developments at the international level and renewed targeting by states at the domestic level. Human rights NGOs have begun to argue more forcefully that human rights defenders are more at risk from attack by their governments under the guise of the `war on terror', an assertion that is supported by the fact that an increasing number of states have enacted anti-terror legislation. Using a cross-national data set of 195 countries for the period 1997 to 2003, this article explores the main factors that account for the cross-national variation in acts of abuse against human rights defenders in the post 9/11 era, including the presence of anti-terror legislation. In addition to the examination of the effects of democracy, economic development, intra-state war, population size and US overseas aid, the analysis shows that while reported abuse against human rights defenders has indeed increased since 2001, this increase is not attributable to the enactment of anti-terror legislation, a finding that is further mediated by the fact that just over half of the countries that have enacted such legislation are democracies.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2006-05-01