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Silencing Their Critics: How Government Restrictions Against Civil Society Affect International ‘Naming and Shaming’

  • Hannah Smidt (a1), Dominic Perera (a2), Neil J. Mitchell (a3) and Kristin M. Bakke (a3) (a4)

Abstract

International ‘naming and shaming’ campaigns rely on domestic civil society organizations (CSOs) for information on local human rights conditions. To stop this flow of information, some governments restrict CSOs, for example by limiting their access to funding. Do such restrictions reduce international naming and shaming campaigns that rely on information from domestic CSOs? This article argues that on the one hand, restrictions may reduce CSOs’ ability and motives to monitor local abuses. On the other hand, these organizations may mobilize against restrictions and find new ways of delivering information on human rights violations to international publics. Using a cross-national dataset and in-depth evidence from Egypt, the study finds that low numbers of restrictions trigger shaming by international non-governmental organizations. Yet once governments impose multiple types of restrictions, it becomes harder for CSOs to adapt, resulting in fewer international shaming campaigns.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. E-mail: smidt@ipz.uzh.ch

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Silencing Their Critics: How Government Restrictions Against Civil Society Affect International ‘Naming and Shaming’

  • Hannah Smidt (a1), Dominic Perera (a2), Neil J. Mitchell (a3) and Kristin M. Bakke (a3) (a4)

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