Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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James Ron ─ Public Trust in Human Rights NGOs Amidst Intense Violence

Monday, February 1, 2016

4 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum

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When the threat or reality of organized violence (whether by criminals, insurgents, or terrorists) is intense, human rights NGOs try to restrain the behavior of state security forces. States often chafe at these restrictions, believing that these human security actors are preventing them from responding effectively to intense security challenges.

What do publics think about human rights groups and their activities? When security conditions are poor and the specter of violence is high, does the public support rights promoters, or do they regard them as untrustworthy irritants, political fifth columns, or worse?

James Ron and his team have probed the correlates of public attitudes towards human rights groups in several countries facing the threat, or reality, of intense violence, including Colombia, Nigeria, Mexico, India, and Morocco. Drawing on their unique Human Rights Perceptions Polls, Ron will discuss patterns of support for, and trust in, international and local human rights groups. What do publics in insecure environments think of the human rights community? What drives their trust, and their mistrust, in these key human security actors?

James Ron holds the Stassen Chair of International Affairs at the University of Minnesota, jointly appointed to the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Department of Political Science. He has consulted for the Canadian government, Human Rights Watch, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and CARE. He is editor of openGlobalRights, an online, multilingual forum for human rights practitioners worldwide, funded by the Ford Foundation.

Security Studies Seminar