Assessing factors influencing human rights around the world: three case studies
Lassen, Eva Maria
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This report contains three studies on the dynamics and interactions of factors hindering or enabling the protection of human rights in selected third countries. The following countries, from three different continents, have been selected: India, South Africa and Peru. From this country-based contextualisation of factors a case study was chosen for each country highlighting the influences of factors in a particular human rights area. Chapter II focuses on India and evidences that various factors impede the realization of human rights in the country. The study zooms in on economic, social and political factors, which are often structural in nature and which prevent individuals and groups from accessing institutional mechanisms for the enforcement of human rights. The chapter includes a case study on ‘encounter killings’, which in India are generally referred to as those incidents in which there is a loss of life of individuals in the hands of police and security forces when they resort to use of force for the purpose of maintaining law and order. Chapter III assesses the current human rights situation in South Africa by setting out the historical, political, legal, economic, social, cultural, religious, ethnical and technological factors that both enhance and militate against the promotion of human rights. Against the backdrop of the legacy of apartheid and the country’s socioeconomic challenges, the chapter provides an evaluation and literature review of the various constraints that impede against the promotion of basic rights in South Africa. The chapter proceeds to a case study of factors that impede the realisation of socioeconomic rights and the role of NGOs and social movements to remedy the situation through protest, advocacy and litigation. Chapter IV analyses factors facilitating and hindering human rights protection in Peru. The chapter provides an overview of historical, legal, political, economic, ethnic, religious, and technological factors facilitating or hindering the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. The chapter then focuses on identifying the social and institutional factors that explain the weak participation of civil society directly involved in human rights policies. Three cases of national councils involved in promoting and protecting human rights are object of analysis: the national human rights council, the national health council, and the national education council. The results emerging from the case studies feed into the overarching theme of the Work package 2, namely factors that facilitate or hinder human rights protection in the EU, and among its internal and external policies. The report affirms the need for a holistic and contextualised approach to factors hindering and enabling human rights in third countries. The factors explored in each selected case study are in many respects intertwined and inter-related in contextualized dynamics. This complex intersection requires that the EU in its external actions pay careful attention to the factors that come into play in each country and their societal contextualisation. The report also illustrates the complex role played by civil society in third countries, and demonstrates that the EU in its endeavours to support the human rights agenda of civil society in third countries, would have to pay careful attention to the diversity of factors which in each country puts limitations to or offer possibilities for civil society.