Between Principle and Practice: Human Rights in North-South Relations

Synopsis

Based on case studies of five Third World countries - Sri Lanka, the Philippines, China, Indonesia, and Suriname - Gillies explores the extent to which policy principles were applied in practice, showing that consistent, coordinated, and principled action is elusive even for countries with a reputation for internationalism. He highlights the growing rift between North Atlantic democracies and emerging Asian economic powers, the effectiveness of using aid sanctions to defend human rights, and the vicissitudes of human rights programming in emerging democracies. On a theoretical level, Gillies examines the explanatory power of political realism and the scope for ethical conduct in a world of states. Linking policy assertiveness with perceived costs to other national interests, he constructs a framework for analysing policy actions and applies it to his various case studies, concluding that when it comes to human rights the gap between principle and practice is still far too wide.