Human Rights and Societies in Transition: Causes, Consequences, Responses

By Shale Horowitz; Albrecht Schnabel | Go to book overview

10
Exploring the dynamics of human
rights and reform: Iran, Pakistan,
and Turkey

Mahmood Monshipouri1

The establishment of institutional infrastructure and some semblance of the rule of law are necessary prerequisites to creating a market economy and to initiating economic reform more generally. On the other hand, the protection and promotion of human rights, as well as the building of a civil society, are highly relevant to generating political and social capital. Finding the right balance, however, poses a special challenge to transitional societies and their leaders. These premises raise several fundamental questions. How do these economic and political dynamics interact? Under what circumstances does one set of priorities override the other? Who benefits or suffers from reforms? And what strategy and pace of reform is most effective in each setting? To frame and address these questions properly, we have to contextualize the prospects of reform and human rights in each country or region by examining political institutions, economic structures and interests, cultural identities, and civil and regional conflicts.

As in all transitional countries, economic and political reforms – or their absence – have created a variety of modern tensions and dilemmas for the Middle Eastern region. Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey, which represent the region's non-Arab Muslim countries, have marked similarities but also notable differences. The selection of these cases is justified by minimizing the ethnic factor (Arabism) while focusing on the parameters that closely relate to the state of human rights and the dynamics of reform. Iran is a rentier state; Pakistan is a poor country, with heavy de-

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