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Who Will Watch the Watchdogs?: International Human Rights Nongovernmental Organizations and the Case for Regulation


Robert C. Blitt


University of Tennessee College of Law


Buffalo Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 10, p. 261

Abstract:     
Human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have become a fixture within the international system and a driving force for creating and enforcing human rights norms at international law. This essay examines the growth of human rights NGOs and argues that the industry is in urgent need of formal regulation. After assessing the failure of informal market controls for ensuring accountability within the human rights NGO sector, this paper applies a law and economics consumer protection model to underscore the need for more formal regulation. However, rather than advance a case for government intervention, this paper proposes that human rights NGOs themselves undertake to develop and implement authoritative and meaningful standards. Such standards can ultimately function to boost objectivity, accuracy and relevancy in human rights reporting, as well as safeguard against the debasement of international human rights principles.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 138

Keywords: NGO, human rights, international law, regulation, law and economics, nongovernmental, nonstate actors, united nations

JEL Classification: K20, K34, L30, K33, N40, K00, L31

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Date posted: July 31, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Blitt, Robert C., Who Will Watch the Watchdogs?: International Human Rights Nongovernmental Organizations and the Case for Regulation. Buffalo Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 10, p. 261. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=753487

Contact Information

Robert C. Blitt (Contact Author)
University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )
1505 West Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States

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