NGOs and the Globalization of Universal Human Rights: A Do No Harm Approach to Human Rights Advocacy




Dasanayake, Upulee

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In recent years, certain advocacy campaigns launched in the midst of on going peace processes by mainstream Human Rights Non-Governmental Organizations (HR NGOs) has created much controversy. HR NGOs that base their advocacy efforts exclusively on international legal frameworks such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and legal instruments such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) have been accused by some groups and individuals in protracted conflict situations of slowing down or stopping peace negotiations ignoring the urgency of local populations for resolutions. This thesis examined this controversy in depth through mainstream HR NGO advocacy campaigns in three active conflict zones: Northern Uganda, Darfur region of Sudan and North-East Sri Lanka. Findings of this research reveal the limitations of the current mainstream NGO approach to human rights advocacy in active conflict zones and suggest a more comprehensive “Do No Harm” approach that has the potential of addressing the many complexities of protracted social conflicts with minimal harm to victims.



Do No Harm, Human Rights, NGOs, Human Rights Advocacy, International Law, UDHR