Sie sind auf Seite 1von 27

Globalization, human rights, and democracy

Points to ponder
How has globalization help to spread democracy and human rights? How can globalization work against the spread of democracy and human rights? Will globalization improve or undermine individuals' access to economic benefits? Will it improve or undermine the state of civil and political rights? Would globalization enhance the implementation of human rights as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the subsequent United Nations agreements , particularly the covenant on civil and political rights (1966) ,the covenant on economic, social and cultural rights (1966) and the declaration on the right to development (1986)?

The case of NAFTA

First, Globalization is not proven to spread democracy worldwide. It has essentially given a bigger market for foreign companies to compete with. Consider the example of the manufacturing industry and NAFTA. Once the free trade was opened in North America, it became more cost effective for businesses to reinvest the jobs which were taken over by union employees that demanded higher wages and benefits, compared to prospective employees across the border that did not care too much for these. In terms of democracy, it has not promoted unionization in low-wage countries, and has not done too much to influence the political structure in a country. China can be another example, with the fact that more and more manufacturing jobs were sent in favor of lower costs to American firms. As for human rights, it has given consumers more of a variety in good, but has increased the emergence of sweat shops and labor camps where citizens are mistreated. In this case, globalization has not helped promote human rights. However, deals like NAFTA have been retooled over the years to give some human rights to the participating nations.

Effect of Globalization
Globalization is changing the conditions under which all countries and societies are integrated into world politics and the world economy. Among human rights activists and some human rights scholars, there is a debate about whether globalization is "good" or "bad" for human rights. The World Economic Forum poll involved 25,000 in-person or telephone interviews across mainly Group of 20 countries, in 2001 by respected research institutes in each participating country under the leadership of Environics International Ltd of Toronto, Canada. 4

Aspects of the global order in the spread of human rights

The entire world is now constrained to a greater or lesser extent by the international human rights regime, a set of norms and laws which most countries have formally said they respect. These norms and laws mean newly industrializing countries are not supposed to engage in the same wealth-creating activities as their Western predecessors: slavery, colonialism, genocide, massive population transfers, or deportations of citizens they do not want. Citizens who live in places that are now being reached by globalization need not wait 150 or 200 years before attaining their rights. Globalization speeds up their access to the very idea of rights. Globalization creates these conditions first of all through the evolution of a global communications network. With the Internet and email, it is easy for citizens of all nations of the world to acquire information and to communicate with each other instantaneously. Citizens are no longer mere consumers of information: they are generators of knowledge and debaters about social issues. 5

Aspects of the global order in the spread of human rights

Human rights abuses are now subject to "cosmopolitan publicity" in a transnational public sphere (Bohman 1999). Civil society actors have immediate access to knowledge and immediate capacity to criticize public policy decisions by local, State, and international agencies. This access contributes to that "communicative interaction" that Habermas (1994) says is so important for true democracy. Further, Beetham notes the importance of international civil society to the promotion of human rights. The civil society actors who now populate global public space possess an "ability to forge links with popular struggles at the most local level anywhere in the world" (1998, 68). This communications network, in turn, enables the formation of global social movements in favour of human rights (Keck and Sikkink 1998). Human rights social movements have benefited from the ease of travel and communications of the last thirty years. People living in remote parts of the globe can form alliances with civil society actors in the developed world, and persuade the mass media to take up their case. 6

Aspects of the global order in the spread of human rights

Globalizations Effects on Democracy

Over the past dozen years or so democratic theorists and activists have become increasingly worried about globalizations adverse effects on democracy. The concerns: 1. Democratic deficits, or the lack of democratic control over existing intergovernmental and supranational governance structures such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the European Union (EU) 2. Democratic disjunctures, or the disparities in scope between such global political problems as climate change, economic development, and international terrorism, on the one hand, and instantiations of democratic authority in existing, state-level political institutions, on the other. 3. Democratic asymmetries, or the widening inequalities among states whereby the wealthiest and most powerful dominate international interactions.

Human Rights and Global Democracy: the Debate

Modern democracy is animated by two fundamental principles, freedom and equality. The meaning and requirement are the subject of much debate. Democracy is an essentially contested concept, a widely used idea whose proper definition and realization are deeply disputed. Some minimalist theorists have argued that democracy only requires periodic elite competition for votes. Others focus on the institutional arrangementselections, representation, party competition, and so onthat typify the system. Still others stress popular deliberation or other forms of participation in all levels of public decision-making, envisioning a broader and more demanding account of democracy. This disagreement extends to global democracy, whose various proponents envision it, as we have seen, in significantly different forms.

International Human Rights Instruments

After the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the United Nations set about drafting international human rights instruments. As the six core treaties began to be widely ratified and entered into force, treaty bodies were created to review how states were doing at meeting their commitments. The treaty bodies, staffed by independent experts, worked to engage Governments in constructive dialogue on human rights and to enable the progressive application of international norms. The UN Commission on Human Rights also established rapid response mechanisms the Special Rapporteurs and other special procedures to investigate major human rights violations and recommend what to do about them.


International Human Rights Instruments

The underlying basic assumption upon which all UN human rights agreements were based was governments responsibility while globalization basic underlying assumption has been from the very beginning government relief from any responsibility regarding human rights . All human rights agreements were discussed , negotiated and signed by governments and all the declarations were addressed to governments who were held responsible for either their implementation or violations. Governments were asked to take whatever political , economic, social , cultural and legislative measures to enhance the implementation of human rights in their countries . All human rights annual reports on the state of human rights in countries of the world published by UN , human rights societies or some countries such as USA held government responsible for violations of human rights . governments were assumed to be policy and decision makers for all economic, political and social domains in their countries .


Paradox of Human Rights and Globalization

Since the Universal declaration of Human rights in 1948 many countries of the world ,whether in the north or the south succeed in enhancing the implementation of human rights , particularly in the economic, social and cultural domains simply through policies of subsidizing food, housing and services such as health care, transportation ,sanitation, culture and education. Many countries , particularly in the south made considerable achievements in the field of the right to work simply by taking decisions to protect local industries from competition and thus creating job opportunities for their population. On the contrary, globalization agreements require governments to abide by the global market mechanisms and to follow the advices ( instructions ) of the international agencies such as WTO, IMF, and the World Bank. So governments have to be decision takers rather than decision makers particularly in the economic domain and they have to make all necessary adjustments and restructuralisations in their societal systems.


Paradox of Human Rights and Globalization

They have to issue new laws in every sphere to facilitate the operations of the free market mechanism and to cancel any existing laws which hamper this operation . They may even have to change articles in their constitutions , such as those related to public and private sectors. Many of those changed laws are related to human rights particularly the economic, social and cultural rights. The most important of these changes are related to taxation, workeremployer relations, owner-renter relations , government subsidization of basic needs goods such as food, water and housing and services such as education, health, transportation, and even mass communication and cultural services ( such as telephones, newspapers, theatres , books and television) . Every thing has to be dealt with as a market commodity judged by its economic value rather than its social value . The adoption of the wide open door policy by governments requires issuing laws which impedes another fundamental human right declared by UN , that is the right to development . Laws allowing the free flow of capital and goods with almost no restrictions on imports through tariffs adversely affect local developmental projects . 13

Paradox of Human Rights and Globalization

Governments find themselves in a very paradoxical situation. If they try to abide by UN human rights agreements which they signed they would be violating the globalizations agreements, which they also signed ! and they would be criticized or even penalized for this violation (by cutting the aids offered to them by international institutions) , and if they try to abide by globalization agreements they would be necessarily violating the human rights agreements and would be criticized for that in the human right reports and the UN statistics on human development would show them lagging behind in indices of human development!!


How Countries React

Governments, particularly of the developing countries , have been persuaded and pressured to sacrifice human rights for the sake of globalization. Violations of human rights agreements, particularly those of economic, social and cultural rights are not met by practical punishments or deterrence measures. The reactions of both international organizations and local human rights groups do not exceed criticism , condemnation or demonstrations at most. On the contrary violations of economic rules of globalization and agreements are met with very severe practical measures such as economic boycotting and cutting of aids. Many authors provide evidence on the adverse effects of governments adoption of globalization economic agreements on basic human rights due to the reduced overall government spending on services and satisfaction of basic human needs and the increasing tendencies towards privatization of these services.

Consequences of violations of human rights

The widespread violations of human rights is related to the widening gap between the rich and the poor, both on the global and on the local levels . International Statistics prove this fact:
Half the world nearly three billion people live on less than two dollars a day The wealthiest nation on earth has the widest gap between rich and poor of any industrialized nation The top fifth of the worlds people in the richest countries enjoy 82% of the expanding export trade and 68% of foreign direct investment while the bottom fifth, barely more than 1% In 1960, the 20 % of the worlds people in the richest countries had 30 times the income of the poorest 20%--in 1997, 74 times as much A few hundred millionaires now own as much wealth as the worlds poorest 2.5 billon people. The combined wealth of the worlds 200 richest people hit $ 1 trillion in 1999; the combined incomes of the 582 million people living in the 43 least developed countries is $ 146 billion (Poverty facts and Stats, Global Issues)


Consequences of violations of human rights

This leads to an increasing feelings of deprivation and injustice among the populations of the different countries of the world which is enhanced by the rapid and unprecedented advance in communication and information technologies, which really turned the world in this respect into a global village. The deprived are exposed daily, if not every minute to images and evidences of the huge gap in standards of living between the rich and the poor. Some consequences of this deprivations of human rights are social and political unrest and even violence and counter violence . It also leads to an increasing resort to suppression and to chaos . Paradoxically the expenditure on suppressing protest and violence may be equal to or even exceeds the ought to be expenditure on implementing economic, social and cultural human rights for all the peoples of the world What matters more is the loss of human lives and the loss of constructive contributions which all the deprived could have offered to the economic, social , scientific and cultural advancement of humanity if they were granted their basic human rights . Racism , prejudices, and discrimination are negatively associated with justice and implementation of human rights . 17

Globalization and the Human Rights Approach

A key characteristic of economic globalization is that the actors involved are not only states, but private power in the form of multinational or transnational corporations. It is now the case that more than half of the top economies in the world are corporations not states, and international investment is increasingly private. There is a trend towards holding companies accountable through legal rules for the human rights and environmental impact of their policies. If we acknowledge that transnational corporations are much powerful than the states , particularly those of the dependant developing countries then who would issue those badly needed legal rules and who would implement them? Transnational corporations which are steering the economic globalization are not at all directed by ethical or humanitarian principles. The maximization of profit is the major if not the only driving force for all their activities .

The Global Priorities in Spending

No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Global Priority Cosmetics in the United States Ice cream in Europe Perfumes in Europe and the United States Pet foods in Europe and the United States Business entertainment in Japan Cigarettes in Europe Alcoholic drinks in Europe Narcotics drugs in the world Military spending in the world U.S. Billions 8 11 12 17 35 50 105 400 780

Costs to achieve universal access to basic social services in all developing countries
10 11 12 13 Basic education for all Water and sanitation for all Reproductive health for all women Basic health and nutrition 6 9 12 13

The state of human development, United Nations Human Development Report 1998, Chapter 1, p.37)


Emerging democratic powers and the advance of human rights

Some emerging democratic powers have increased their influence on the global stage. Consequently, their foreign policies have gained more visibility and new alliances are being built at the international level. This applies not only to trade policies, but also to the international protection and promotion of human rights. However, the contributions of these countries to the advance of human rights worldwide could be much more significant than it is today. Foreign policy becomes an important tunnel in order to build awareness and express solidarity of human rights movement. It is especially relevant to the Southern human rights movement, which shows the growing advocacy network.


A Changing Economic Architecture: SouthSouth-south Investment And Trade

In the 1990s, most of the global output was generated by the industrial economies of the global north, with roughly 39 percent coming from developing countries. In 2010, emerging economies accounted for 49 percent of the global growth domestic product (GDP) and by 2015, they are expected to generate more than half of the worlds output. Emerging economies are also becoming increasingly significant sources of outward foreign direct investment (FDI) flows, accounting for about 17 percent of the worlds total. At the same time, the direction of FDI flows has changed significantly in the last ten years, with a notable shift in the composition of FDI flows to the global south. Increasingly, countries of the global south are investing in each others economies while there is a simultaneous decline in global norths investment in the global south. Between 1995 and 2000 south-south direct investment tripled from $14 billion to $47 billion and in 2008 south-south trade comprised over 26 percent of total global trade. 21

A Changing Economic Architecture: SouthSouth-south Investment And Trade

Inter-regional South-South trade flows in 2008 (Billions USD)


The Changing Role Emerging Powers In Assistance Delivery

The new economic powerhouses, such as China, Brazil, and Russiaand other emerging economies such as India, South Korea, South Africa, Turkey, Mexico, Indonesia and a number of Arab Gulf states, in particular Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwaitare playing a growing role in providing assistance to other countries in the global south. While in comparison to the traditional donors most emerging donor levels of assistance are still relatively small, the volume of assistance over the last decade has rapidly increased. For instance, between 2000 and 2009 South Koreas development assistance (excluding bilateral debt relief) grew from $233.31 million to $825.8 million or more than 250 percent. Its bilateral assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa grew especially rapidly, increasing by 465 percent. By 2010 its development assistance amounted to $1.2 billion. Turkeys development assistance between 2001 and 2010, increased from about $64 million to $966 million. Brazils bilateral and multilateral aid according to some estimates reached $1 billion in 2010. At the same time, emerging donors are forging their own partnerships outside the OECD framework, through organizations such as the India Brazil South Africa Forum (IBSA) or the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) grouping. 23

The Changing Role Emerging Powers In Assistance Delivery

Much of emerging donors assistance philosophy rhetoric contrasts sharply with that of traditional donors and is generally couched in language of solidarity, mutual support and experience-sharing while preserving the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of recipient countries. Examination of patterns of emerging donor assistance, however, reveals a much more nuanced picture than the one suggested by official rhetoric. These patterns indicate that, not surprisingly, multiple agendas and interests drive emerging donor decisions about where to funnel money, deepen trade relations and encourage the entry of private investors. In other words, despite the rhetoric that prioritizes solidarity, cooperation and mutual support the relationships that are forged between emerging powers and recipient countries suggest that what is driving south-south connections is also national security and economic interests. 24

Indonesia and the UN Human Rights System Since 1998

The Suharto government largely ignored the UN human rights system, and responded to external criticism with blanket defenses based on national sovereignty and non-interference in Indonesias internal affairs. It nevertheless, ratified the Conventions on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and that on the Rights of the Child in 1984 and 1990 respectively. In January 1998, Foreign Minister Alatas announced a National Plan of Action on Human Rights covering 1998-2003, and a general statement envisaging future legal action was incorporated into the Guidelines of State Policy by the MPR. Torture and disappearances, however, continued unabated in response to student protests prior to Suhartos fall. The Plan focuses on incorporation of UN human rights instruments into national lawsa necessary step prior to their ratification.

Indonesia and the UN Human Rights System Since 1998

Indonesia acceded to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatments or Punishments (CAT) in November 1998 and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in July 1999. Indonesia is undergoing a momentous transition: the President has made justice, law, human rights and democracy central priorities. Indonesia has ratified all the major human rights conventions, with the exception of the ICRMW


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Conventions (Signed and Ratified)

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Paris, 9 December 1948 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. New York, 7 March 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. New York, 16 December 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. New York, 16 December 1966 Convention on the non-applicability of statutory limitations to war crimes and crimes against humanity. New York, 26 November 1968 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. New York, 30 November 1973 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. New York, 18 December 1979 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. New York, 10 December 1984 International Convention against Apartheid in Sports. New York, 10 December 1985 Convention on the Rights of the Child. New York, 20 November 1989 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. New York, 18 December 1990 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. New York, 13 December 2006 International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. New York, 20 December 2006 27