The politics of international human rights regimes : with particular reference to the work of Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross
This thesis attempts to apply regime 'theory' to the issue-area of international human rights. This is done with reference to the evolution of the concept of human rights, human rights in East-West and North-South relations, the subject of international co-operation on human rights, i.e. international and regional human rights regimes and the work of international human rights NGOs. Regime 'theory' is particularly applied with regard to the work of Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross and with regard to the subject of promotion rather than protection of human rights. In an attempt to supplement the few existing and 'in length' applications of regime analysis to human rights issues the thesis also looks at the issues examined in an 'in breadth' manner, i.e. looking at specific human rights regimes such as the one against torture rather than at the entire post-war history of all international human rights regimes as the existing 'in length' academic articles have done. This analysis reveals the true value of the two important regime 'theoretical' propositions: (1) changes in norms and principles constitute changes of the regime itself and (2) if there is inconsistency between the regime and related behaviour then this constitutes a weakening of the regime. Regime analysis constitutes a useful analytic tool and should not be dismissed as a 'passing fad' or as 'in itself making little in the way of a long-term contribution to knowledge'. This was so for a number of reasons: (1) regimes are real and do influence behaviour and outcomes; (2) regime analysts have become students of international relations in the true meaning of the term since, by looking at the connecting points of international law politics, security and economics, they offer deep and thorough analyses of an issue; and (3) none of the three regime approaches, i.e. idealism, realism and modified structuralism (with the last one expanded to include cases where there is a fortunate convergence between humanitarian and political/security/economic concerns) can by itself offer a satisfactory account of the full range of observable phenomena. The above three points also re-confirm the validity of conclusions already drawn by other studies which utilized regime analysis. The value of regime analysis was also confirmed by other findings in the thesis: (1) the two regime 'theoretical' propositions as outlined above provided important guidelines in identifying areas which constitute a weakening of human rights regimes and as such they may be seen as very useful warning mechanisms in the service of those who seek to advance human rights, e.g. NGOs; (2) the basic causal factors utilized in the thesis, i.e. self-interest, power, norms and values as well as the two added by the author, that is ideology and foreign policy, although not constituting an exhaustive list, they were, nevertheless, sufficient in offering a more or less satisfactory account of issues under examination; and (3) basic causal factors, regime 'theoretical' propositions as well as the three regime perspectives, offered a basic framework within which to discuss various human rights issues.