Repressive states pose a conundrum for human rights nongovernmental organizations and development advocates alike. Many UN and OECD donors claim that human rights are essential for successful development, but if rights-based conditionality is applied too rigorously, recipient states may refuse aid, resulting in increased hardship for their populations. It is this dilemma that is posed by the case of Ethiopia, one of the world’s top receivers of foreign aid. Western, Japanese, and UN donors have turned a seemingly blind eye to Ethiopian government repression in favor of maintaining the momentum of development projects. Many of these same development projects, however, are being used to repress and control the Ethiopian population. Evidence suggests that foreign aid has limited potential to influence regime behavior and there is a danger that Ethiopia may turn completely to China, which requires no human rights conditions, as an alternative source of development aid if Western, UN, and Japanese sources apply human rights conditionality too strictly. This paper argues that the role of human rights NGOs in this situation is to push donors to include human rights conditionality in their development, but to do so judiciously so that aid is not refused. NGOs can help donors to develop effective and realistic human rights benchmarks to measure progress in recipient states.
Rethinking Development Policy In Ethiopia: What Should NGOs Do?.
Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.