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Title: The contribution of civil society to combatting torture and ill-treatment : a cross-national analysis
Author: Barrett, Lena
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2019
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A majority of states have signed treaties promising not to torture; torture, however, remains widespread. Something further is needed to turn de jure commitment to de facto compliance by the state. This research focuses on the contribution of civil society to this process, employing a mixed methods approach to examine the conditions under which civil society can influence the state, and the mechanisms through which civil society activism results in state change. Quantitative evidence demonstrates that where scope conditions are met, states with higher openness to civil society activism perform better in relation to torture than states with lower openness to civil society activism. Using case studies from Bulgaria, Albania, Romania and Macedonia, it is argued that while the prospect of EU accession provides an opportunity for states to reform their practices on torture, with states being particularly vulnerable to influence during this period, such reform will only be effective where civil society is in a position to exploit this vulnerability to influence. It is argued that civil society organisations are more likely to be successful where they can access decision-makers, state agents on the frontline, and individuals deprived of their liberty. Such access enables civil society actors to carry out "norm patrol", which acts as a pathway by which the state can begin the process of internalising the norm, in line with agentic constructivism theory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JA Political science (General)