Principles vs Interests:
Participation of Human Rights Organizations in US Foreign Policy Making

Erofeeva P.A.,

Cand. Sci. (Pol. Sci.), Lecturer, Nizhny Novgorod Linguistics University,

elibrary_id: 613222 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2017.01.13
For citation:

Erofeeva P.A. Principles vs Interests: Participation of Human Rights Organizations in US Foreign Policy Making. – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No. 1. P. 147-161. (In Russ.).


A dominant global player, United States can champion international human rights norms and make sure they are respected by partner states. Hence United States foreign policy is subject to human rights groups scrutiny and influence via lobbying. An unanswered question is what they lobby and why. The article analyses factors that shape United States lobbying agenda of the world’s leading human rights advocacy groups Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW). Two perspectives on human rights groups guide the analysis. In accordance with the new social movements theory human rights groups are viewed as value-oriented organizations that are driven by their mission to tackle most serious violations first. Alternatively an institutional approach predicts that their lack of money and dependence on donor preferences and powerful states trump values and make look at United States clients over countries that are most in need. To test the hypotheses regressions on data on country citations, human rights violations in cited countries as well as their trade and aid data are used. The results indicate that for both organizations, the following correlation exists: the more severe the violations in a given country are, the more this country is cited in their reports. Structure of United States partner relations appears to be significant only for one of the two groups. The results are discussed in the light of organizational structure and history of the two groups. Overall conclusion stresses the importance of mission and values for understanding human rights advocacy. 

Amnesty International; Human Rights Watch; human rights advocacy; lobbying; US foreign policy; human rights; institutionalism.


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Content No. 1, 2017

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