Global and local civil society and state repression in conflict areas
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The last 30 years witnessed the consolidation of the Human Rights Regime as the regulating mechanism for human rights norms in the domestic and international spheres. In my dissertation, I examine the Human Rights Regime efficacy when dealing with complex situations that involved high cost for participating states. Particularly, I examine how the Human Rights Regime’s agents of change—nongovernmental organizations (NGO) and social movements—lowering state repression in conflict areas. I argue that the presence and actions of NGOs have the potential of mitigating state repression, even within the harshest setting of operation of war torn areas. My research is informed by literature on third party intervention, social movements outcomes, and the global civil society and human rights. I use a mixed-methods approach, including quantitative analyses, interviews, and a spatial analysis. The first chapter presents a wide perspective on the correlation between the nongovernmental sector and state repression as measured by two types of human right indexes, the Political Terror Scale and Freedom House, focusing on a sample of 1670 organizations across 138 countries. The second and third chapters explore the mechanism of this impact by focusing on two particular cases in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, using interviews and a spatial analysis. The first examines the effect of a women Israeli movement that monitors the Israeli roadblocks on movement restrictions. The analysis takes into account both the movements and the soldiers’ outlooks by analyzing the activists’ daily reports from 2005 to 2015 in a textual analysis format and interviews with 29 soldiers that were stationed in roadblocks during that period to complement it. The second episode examines events during the 2014 Gaza War, using a Geo-spatial UN data damage report of the conflict, including 22,745 data points. Counting damage reports, the analysis compares the relative safety of UN facilities in relation to other sensitive facilities during the conflict. Results underscore the mitigating effect of the nongovernmental sector and social movements over state repression.