Supervised by: Tuscany Parkin BA LLB (Rhodes) BCL (Oxon). Tuscany graduated with the BCL Masters of Law from the University of Oxford earlier this year, specialising in Jurisprudence, Competition Law and Comparative Contract Law. She is currently reading for the MPhil in Legal Philosophy (particularly the philosophy of contract law). Previously, she obtained her BA in English Literature and LLB Law with honours from Rhodes University.
The world is constantly evolving, developing and adapting. As the world continues to modernise with the perpetual rise of globalisation, the law must adapt along with it. A nation’s development is defined by the quality of its people’s rights. Therefore, the most important impact of globalisation is the matter of Human Rights. This paper contends that globalisation has aided the fight for Human Rights, specifically scrutinised through the lens of government control. Furthermore, ways in which the international community (formed through the means of globalisation) can apply pressure on oppressive regimes will also be considered. In this paper, three aspects will be discussed. One of these is the progress of globalisation in three countries post World War II: France, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, all of different social and economic standings – covering social, political and economic factors. Another aspect is the evolution of human rights law in each of these three countries and at an international level. The final aspect is what we can conclude about the impact of globalisation and how the situation can be improved. These three aspects will be discussed through a three-sectioned analysis, exploring each nation’s case study from a historical, modern and comparative perspective.
Theory of essential understandings
Since this paper assesses the change in Human Rights, the understanding of Human Rights Law theory is of critical importance. The UN describes Human Rights as “rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.” (1). Unlike in the eyes of governments seeking for absolute control, or countries motivated by the desire to dominate through globalisation; there is a need to consider the concept of equality. It can be argued that these rights not only protect but also provide the pillars of a civilised global society. This moral order precedes social, economic and historical conditions everywhere at all times, and should apply equally to all people. The pillars that allow survival through fairness and freedom are only upheld by the stability of legislations underpinning their structure.
According to Natural Law Theory, humans possess innate values that govern their behaviour, where laws are not created by society nor judges but borne of close connection to morality. The virtue of human nature can be universally understood and the English philosopher John Locke (sometimes named the ‘father of Liberalism’) states that humans have the right to self-preservation. But there are also theories suggesting law and morality are independent, with law being a man-made societal structure to follow; whereas morality is following this duty as a member of society, even when out of sight.
In contrast to Natural Law, Positive Law Theory is laid down by institutions and humans, made to specify an action. This theory is often adopted by authorities and consists of Statutory Law and Case Law. Additional theories such as Real Law can be derived from a legal-positivist position, where public policy and judges consider abstract rules and social interests when deciding a case. In summary, despite the differences, no matter the law theory all are accountable to the law and it is enforced on a universal basis. All humans are bound by Human Rights Law, irrespective of differences between nations, culture or authority; this is the crux of a functioning society in all countries.
Globalisation is a concept that can be interpreted in various different ways and with a multitude of meanings. The topic of globalisation is central to this paper and understanding this concept is essential. The way that Muchlinski interprets the notion of globalisation in the political sciences is as “the shift from an international political order dominated by the nation-state to an increasing supranational structure of governance” (2). On the other hand, Twining describes it in a more holistic sense. By referring to globalisation as “processes which tend to create and consolidate a unified world economy, a single ecological system, and a complex network of communications that covers the whole globe,” Twining shows that there are different angles from which the concept can be viewed (3). The belief is that as globalisation continues to develop, it will significantly affect national boundaries, although there are many discussions about whether this will sway towards centralisation or the opposite. An example of this debate can be seen through the impact of centralisation in the creation of the European Union, where its growth led to an increase and rebirth of smaller nationalism and nationalistic tendencies (4). There are also many moral issues in the modern expansion of the concept, including negative impacts of the expansion of capitalism through globalisation (5). These moral issues are one of the factors that have led to the creation and growth of the anti-globalisation movement.
The final theory discussed in this research paper is ‘Government Theory’. An understanding of the theory of government is also important to this paper as the analysis looks at politics and government. The first established government was created in Sumer in order to regulate agricultural responsibilities and development in the form of irrigation. Even nowadays, one of the most important responsibilities of the government is regulation and management of resources. For a successful government, the theory of government has multiple prerequisites. First, the government must regulate territoriality who goes in and out of the state. By regulating the movement of people, governments are able to differentiate their citizens from foreigners and retain the power to control who comes into their country. Secondly, the theory of government states that a government is the only institution that has full control over the disciplining of all of their citizens. Only that government is allowed to control and judge complicity and regulate punishment by judicial means. In addition, the government must have the ability to maintain control as well as having authority and standards applied fairly to the whole population,meaning that society in a state must be organised and inclusive. Furthermore, governments express control in having the ability to enforce their own punishments following established legislation. Finally, sovereignty is an extremely crucial aspect in the theory of government, as a government should not be directly controlled by other external forces as the government themselves are the regulators of laws and decisions in their country.
An exploration of the effect of globalisation in an MEDC through the case study of France
One more economically developed country (MEDC) that portrays the effects of globalisation on Human Rights is the case of France. The Lipietz et al. trial spanning from November 14th 2001 until July 24th 2006 will be examined in relation to the effect of modern globalisation on the development of government control regarding Human Rights. This matter will be investigated from a historical, modern and comparative angle.
a) Historical analysis:
First, in Section a), Human Rights will be historically assessed in terms of the case study of Vichy France. The Vichy ruled France throughout the period of July 1940 until September 1944 and became later known as a “nazi-imposed german phenomenon” until the French were liberated a year before the end of the Second World War and Charles de Gaulle took office (6,7). The Vichy was named as an extension of the Nazi German government and the horrors committed on French land were blamed on the Nazis. The passing of blame allowed the French to unify more easily than if they had claimed the events as a French-run operation, this was known as the ‘Vichy Parenthesis’. The decree of 1944 even went as far as to state that the government of the Vichy never existed under French parliament; it was completely nullified. The post war French government was also determined to have no responsibility for the actions of the Vichy during their rule, leaving people who had been wronged by this government with no means of compensation.
French responsibility later became more evident. It was estimated that around 75,000 Jews were deported from France to be sent to concentration camps by French police. In 1994, Paul Tovier, leader of the Vichy paramilitary group ‘Minice’ was convicted for crimes against humanity. The Secretary General of Police in Bordeaux, Maurice Papon, who sent the order leading to the arrest, deportation and deaths of Jews in the area was also sentenced. In 1995, the newly elected Prime Minister of France, Jaques Chirac, made a speech in which he commented on one of the largest arrests of Jews throughout France. In this speech he made a connection between the Vichy government then and the current French government, stating that the “wrongs of the past, and the wrongs committed by the state” must be taken responsibility for (8). This marked the first time anyone within the French parliament ever acknowledged the Vichy as a legitimate French government. He further said “On the day, France committed an irreparable act” once again connecting the Vichy directly to France instead of labelling it a German operation, ending the ‘Vichy Parenthesis’ (9).
By 1996, the first Class Action suit was filed through a US court against a Swiss bank that refused to return assets to Holocaust surviviours. This conveyed the rise of globalisation through developments in the International Justice system, allowing prosecution from abroad as well as within the nation. Global development can also be seen through nations applying pressure upon one another to take responsibility for their actions. Soon followed by a string of other Class Action suits from the US: in 1997, a suit against French banks for their participation in taking Jewish assets, and by 1999 two more lawsuits against French banks had emerged within the United States for stealing Jewish assets.
b) Modern analysis:
Second, In section b) Human Rights is considered in the modern perspective of France. The Lipietz case held the current government liable for the actions of the wartime French collaborationist government called the Vichy for Human Rights violations (10). The plaintiffs were awarded damages in the Civil suit against the French government and the railway system (SNCF). The plaintiffs were two cousins imprisoned by Toulouse police in 1944 in accordance to anti-semetic statutes. They had been transported under awful conditions by the railway authorities to the camp Drancy, within which they spent months under threat of deportation and death. Action against the government was previously denied from 1946 until 2002, although the adaptation and integration of Anglo-American law and other foreign legal methods into the French legal system allowed the Tort action against the government to become legally accepted. This portrays that as globalisation spreads – as can be seen by the integration of increasingly more globalised common law in France as well as in other nations – it allows governments to take further legal action in the pursuit of justice.
That said, the case received much criticism that the verdict was reached too soon. One of the plaintiffs also passed away right before the final verdict. This meant that compensation had to be given to his family who had not endured the Human Rights violations he had to in order to be given compensation, causing great disapproval from the public upon this matter. This portrays the pursuit of justice through a globalised method. It had also been taken away from the French legal identity and sovereignty since the case was handled as a case of common law. This led to an outcome of condemnation of the French as they did not believe in the outcome of the trial, showing how globalisation may have a wider perspective on a Human Rights matter that is domestic to a sovereignty when it may not apply.
In contrast, this narrower perspective of the French population may also come from a biased point of view. Traditional French law was influenced heavily by the political ideology of “General Will” by Rousseau, which states that laws must apply to all, not certain individuals. He suggests this private interest will lead citizens to favour laws that correspond with the common interests of one another (11). By following an ideology similar to that of Rousseau within the government and legal structure, it means that laws (and indirect verdicts) are based around what the majority of citizens believe to be applicable and acceptable. In the Lipietz trial, public opinion strongly disagrees with what the court of Common Law found to be the verdict. The integration of the Common Law into French law and its further application in this trial allowed for an outside perspective to scrutinise the situation, allowing for a verdict to take into account the entirety of the events and their context with no bias by the application of the traditional French law.
c) Comparative analysis:
Finally, in section c) the historical and modern analysis of Human Rights will be compared. Through historical context, it is indisputable that the government of Charles De Gaulle did not want to take responsibility for the actions perpetrated by the Vichy, and instead chose to control the public opinion and place responsibility upon the Germans. This is polarised during the trial, and later within legal history when it is obvious that the new government under Chirac, who as the head of the French governing body, took responsibility for the actions of the Vichy during their rule over France. Before and during the trial, the straight intervention of the United States is ever present. Through multiple legal cases regarding the French government compensating those whose Human Rights were violated by the Vichy rule, the US government can be seen using their international status to apply pressure on the French government. The application of pressure from a nation such as the US can make a great difference in a country’s perception because of the global influence and power of the US. The concept of modern globalisation and a world in which collaboration is key emphasises the need for the support of nations with global influence. This allows more powerful nations to put pressure on other countries who may need to deal with Human Rights violations – France in this case.
On the contrary, it also means that because of the dependency of the smaller nations on the larger, more influential nations, they may be more hesitant or even refuse to apply pressure to larger nations when they are facing large legal violations. Although, through the globalised network of many smaller countries, they as one conjoined force would have the power to apply sanctions to a larger nation if they wished to, showing that globalisation has aided in the fight for Human Rights.
Further, it is identified that from 1944 until 2002 within French law it was not possible for Tort action to take place against the government. With the world becoming more globally connected, it is natural that this matter to a certain extent also carries into the legal sector. After 2002, with the integration of multiple policies through globalised Common Law it became possible in France to file for Tort Action against the government and the improved assurance that those who have had their Human Rights violated are able to seek compensation from the government if they were the inflictor of the violations. The law becoming increasingly globalised also means that such rules allow compensation against Human Rights violations of the government to begin to spread worldwide. This also fights to make Human Rights Law global, as this is not the case in certain nations.
An exploration of the effect of globalisation in an NIC through the case study of Russia
An example of a Newly Industrialised Country (NIC) that portrays the effect of globalisation on Human Rights is the nation previously known as The Soviet Union (USSR) and now referred to as Russia. The effect of globalisation is again approached from a historical, modern and comparative analytical perspective to explore the governmental role in Human Rights.
Russian globalisation through the USSR did not begin with the end of the Second World War – at this time, the USSR accounted for 4% of global trade while China barely featured in the statistics. Instead, it took off with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 as the economy moved from a centrally planned economy towards a high growth market-based system. By the mid-1990s, annual global flows of foreign direct investment had risen by a factor of six and Russian oil companies began directing their exports towards the West. McDonalds and other well known American brands became available everywhere.
The integration with the global economy was pushed and then reversed in the time that Putin has been in power. Putin has been portrayed as having grown suspicious of how economic progress and market dynamics impact political control. While a multitude of different examples can be stated, his two quotes below are illustrative in showing why Russia’s relationship with the global economy has not been a constant:
“We must learn to use the advantages of the new state of the world economy. It is clear that for Russia the problem of choosing whether or not to integrate into the world economy no longer exists” (12).
“We must above all understand that our development depends primarily on us. We will only succeed if we work towards our own well-being and prosperity, rather than hope for favourable circumstances or foreign markets” (13).
In 2000 Putin’s presidency committed Russia to deeper engagement with the global economy. This was followed through to build Russia’s economic strength. In 2007 Russia chaired the G8 for the first time and called for ‘modernising alliances’ with the West from 2000 to 2006. Furthermore, total direct and portfolio investment abroad by Russian companies rose from US$3 billion to US$19.8 billion. This shows momentous growth in Russian ties with the global economy, especially in the Western hemisphere.
Today Russia’s president speaks of minimising dependence on the West. The West for the first time since the end of the Cold War also now seeks to restrict rather than promote Russia’s integration with the global economy. On no other issue have the outcomes departed so comprehensively from the original intentions of Russia and the West (14). Although Putin has allowed wealth to grow among oligarchs, the general progress of the economy has been less important than maintaining his grip on power. Putin believes in a Greater Russia and that other countries, particularly those within the Western world, should not interfere in Russian business – whether crushing the Chechens, invading Georgia in 2008, annexing Crimea or the invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
The impact of sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine is a reversal of globalisation (15). The Central Bank does not have access to the hard currency necessary to support the banking system and stabilise the Russian rouble. Many major brands and companies have closed their doors (16). Sanctions on energy threaten to reduce the foreign exchange Russia needs to pay for its imports. If Russia spent three decades integrating itself into the global economy, the repercussions of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine are winding the clock back in weeks. Increasing isolation will widen further an economic gap that 30 years of globalisation has failed to close.
Using a Russian case study asks us to consider whether globalisation and ‘progress’ has genuinely helped the fight for Human Rights, or whether the country and politics has made the environment worse for people. Following this background research, the discussion follows a 3 stage analysis below.
a) Historical analysis:
First, in Section a) Human Rights will be historically assessed in terms of the Soviet Union. Soviet governments embraced the idea that Human Rights was one way to argue that communist and socialist countries were better places to live than liberal western democracies.
The reality of course was not so straightforward. In 1948, the year the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was passed, the USSR was controlled by Stalin, who was known for political repression and aggressive terror campaigns. The Soviet Union was a one-party state. Genuine civil and political rights were strictly limited, Gulag camps were filled with political prisoners, freedom of religion was limited and official atheism enforced. Kremlin propaganda championed the Soviet system’s guarantee of economic and social rights, which were boasted to be the hallmark of a socialist society. Unlike the US view that the rights of individuals were negative rights taken from government, the Soviet view emphasised that society as a whole, rather than individuals, were beneficiaries of “positive” rights: that is, rights handed down from the government (17).
There was a resulting disagreement over the UDHR legal treaty; where the Soviet Union viewed the covenant as a document about economic and social rights, while the United States and its allies continued to view political and civil rights as essential human rights. The Communist Party therefore weaponised the language of economics and human rights to argue against the Western democratic model of governance. They focused on the provisions of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which communicated multiple different rules. Some of these regulations allowed the right to work, a safe and healthy working environment, to form labour unions, to strike, to create social security and social insurance. Another significant point was the right of pregnant women, recent mothers, and children to be given special protection from economic exploitation, as well as the right to adequate food, clothing, housing, and healthcare. However, by the time the covenants took effect, the USSR was having trouble arguing it was a politically progressive country. In the Prague Spring of 1968, which threatened to end the monopoly of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia, the movement away from the Communist norm was crushed by Soviet tanks. Human Rights were great when they were useful but instantly forgettable when they were not.
b) Modern analysis:
Second, in section b), Human Rights is considered through the lens of recent developments in Russia. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian Federation was committed to the same Human Rights agreements as its predecessor, such as the international covenants on civil and political rights as well as economic, social, and cultural rights. In the late 1990s, Russia also ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and from 1998 onwards the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg became a last court of appeal for Russian citizens from their national system of justice. According to Chapter 1, Article 15 of the 1993 Constitution, these features of international law took precedence over national federal legislation.
The more recent behaviour of Russia tells a different story. When Chechnya tried to break away in the late 1990s, it was crushed: in 2003, the United Nations called Grozny the most destroyed city on Earth. Around 5,000 – 8,000 civilians were killed in 1999, making it the bloodiest episode of the Second Chechen War. In 2008, Putin sent armed forces into Georgia to deter them from joining NATO. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. Since then and prior to the invasion of Ukraine, over 14,000 soldiers died in fighting between the two countries.
More recently, Putin has gone further by changing the structure and system to meet his objectives. To that end, a law was passed in December 2015 that gives the Constitutional Court of Russia the right to decide whether Russia can enforce, or ignore, resolutions from intergovernmental bodies such as the European Court of Human Rights. A constitutional referendum was held in Russia in 2020 which delivered amendments to the 1993 constitution of the Russian Federation (18). It gave the President the right to remove federal justices and remove Supreme Justices following approval by the Federation Council. It also extended presidential term limits enabling Putin to hold presidential office until 2036. But most importantly, it placed the constitution above International Law. It is no surprise then that in the invasion of Ukraine, Putin has shut down almost the entire independent media, threatened journalists with up to 15 years in jail if they do not parrot official falsehoods, and had anti-war protesters arrested in their thousands. The Economist has written that “by insisting that his military “operation” is de-Nazifying Ukraine, state television is re-Stalinising Russia” (19).
What is the reality of Human Rights on the ground? Amnesty alleges there have been deaths in custody, widespread and systematic use of torture by security forces and prison guards, pervasive violation of children’s rights, forced labour and sex trafficking, violence and discrimination against ethnic minorities, a constitutional ban on same sex marriage, persecution of LGBTI people, persecution of religious minorities and attacks on or the killing of journalists (20, 21, 22, 23).
c) Comparative analysis:
Finally, in section c) the historical and modern analysis of Human Rights will be compared. Globalisation has brought the general population freedom of consumer choice mixed with economic uncertainty. Putin is potentially a four term powerful man who could run the country until 2036. He does not show regard for International Human Rights Law or being designated a war criminal In Putin’s Russia, there are no universal Human Rights in the Western sense, and this is a strong argument against the idea that globalisation has helped the fight for them.
An exploration of the effect of globalisation in an LEDC through the case study of Trinidad and Tobago
One less economically developed country (LEDC) which illustrates the effects of globalisation on Human Rights is Trinidad and Tobago, an island country situated in the Caribbean. It is a country with immense wealth in fossil fuels, however it is still economically underdeveloped due to the imbalance of wealth between the rich and the poor. The effects of globalisation in Trinidad and Tobago are mainly seen in factors of migration and education, which vary in its historical and modern viewpoints.
a) Historical analysis:
First, in Section a) Human Rights will be assessed with respect to how they have historically been affected by migration and education. Trinidad and Tobago obtained independence in 1962, previously being a British colony for 160 years (24). As a British colony – as well as a French, Spanish and Dutch colony previously – Trinidad and Tobago was a product of globalisation. For centuries, Trinidad and Tobago had a role in the Middle Passage, which was a part of the Atlantic Slave Trade where Africans were sent to the Caribbean for labour. Once the prohibition of Slave Trade in 1806 was enacted as a result of the British parliament declaring it a blatant violation of Human Rights, the sugar colony of Trinidad and Tobago began to waver. Trinidad and Tobago formed its first government in 1925 through the means of constitutional reform, although this government was still largely beholden to British rule.
Even after its independence in 1962, Trinidad and Tobago was still heavily impacted by the negative effects of globalisation and colonialism, which was apparent in the migration tendencies across the nation. From the 1950s to the 1990s, there were surges in migration of skilled professionals outwards to more developed countries in Europe and the United States. Trinidad and Tobago was strictly a net exporter of labour, which was unregulated by the government, given that the freedom of movement for better opportunities was considered a Human Right. The reasons for migration were plentiful, too, ranging from poor socioeconomic conditions to low wages and poverty.
Furthermore, Human Rights violations and security issues were also widely prevalent, where murder rates in the Caribbean were greater than other regions in the world (25). Specifically, the migration of skilled personnel such as teachers and nurses was due to the fact that Trinidad’s government had a low capacity for creating employment and job opportunities. The migration tendencies can also be attributed to women being trafficked or exploited.
In addition, the uneven distribution of education in Trinidad and Tobago has been a problematic issue since its independence, augmenting the migration trends. The right to free education in Trinidad and Tobago was nonexistent before the 2000s, and education was considered a luxury. The education which did exist was also of extremely low quality, with a lack of skilled professionals such as teachers. With qualified and educated personnel emigrating elsewhere, the remaining citizens in Trinidad did not have the technological prowess to choose their place of employment. Combined with lower costs of migration and greater ability to obtain information about other countries, the migration rates out of Trinidad and Tobago increased markedly.
b) Modern analysis:
Second, in section b) Human Rights will be considered in light of the current situation in Trinidad and Tobago. Due to threats of a “Brain Drain” in not just Trinidad and Tobago but in the entire region of the Caribbean, CARICOM, a multi-national alliance, was founded in 1973 based on the premise of open borders (26). This, along with other elements of government control, were employed for both the protection of the Human Rights of the citizens in Trinidad and Tobago, and to maintain its economy.
The CSME, or CARICOM single market and economy, is a strategy developed by governments of the Caribbean to help mitigate the migrant issue affecting these countries. Restricting migration is synonymous with interfering with the free movement of people, thus the CSME has instead allowed for open borders, in Article 46 of the CSME. This encouraged the migratory flows of professionals between countries in the Caribbean instead of to other MED countries in Europe or the U.S. This freedom of movement regime has been used as a tool for development in Trinidad and Tobago as the globalisation and government treaties between Caribbean countries has led to a greater influx of qualified personnel into the state. This phenomenon is due to its more developed economy compared to its neighbouring countries. Having more skilled workers attracted to Trinidad and Tobago has led to its impressive economic growth compared to other countries in the CARICOM.
The low or nonexistent quality of education in Trinidad and Tobago, a threat to the public’s Human Rights, is in the process of being improved by government regulations derived from other countries. As stated in the theory of globalisation, with globalisation also comes the introduction of new methods, regulations and strategies. To combat the uneven access to education which has led to the “brain drain” in Trinidad and Tobago, the government implemented the “Education for All” policy in 2006. This policy was based on one launched in the 1990s and led by UNESCO to promote Article 26 of the Declaration of Human Rights. Trinidad’s government used the policy to install free primary and secondary education, as well as to establish universities. Not only did this allow Trinidad and Tobago to be viewed as a more developed country, the instalment of universities has allowed Trinidad and Tobago to have more programmes for skilled professionals, which allows them to further develop employment opportunities in engineering, law, and economics.
In conclusion, globalisation has completely transformed the landscape for an LED country such as Trinidad and Tobago, which was originally extremely underdeveloped, experiencing extreme migration issues as well as insecurity. In the present day, Trinidad and Tobago expresses the tendencies of an emerging market economy. Furthermore, globalisation has impacted the government’s control in the country, where the government uses global policies to strengthen Human Rights, offer free education, and form alliances to uphold the right for free movement for all its citizens.
The question of the threat of oppressive powers
The impact of globalisation on Human Rights have previously been explored, and while there are many positive aspects, negative aspects still exist. One of these negative consequences is the increased threat of repressive powers on the Human Rights of their own population and that of other nations. This can be dealt with in a multitude of ways, three of which (sanctions, the United Nations and pressure groups) are discussed in this section.
With a more globalised world, governments and societies have become more intertwined; this also brings in prompt awareness of information from around the world instantaneously. The actions committed by repressive governments in violation of Human Rights of their citizens are also being spread rapidly as a cause of globalisation. A possible course of action for the international community to apply pressure against these regimes is in the form of economic sanctions, which can be effective in deterring these governments. International sanctions can take many forms to discourage repressive governments and for the safety of International Law and the Human Rights of citizens (27). Economic sanctions, for example, are used by placing embargos on repressive regimes, which bans trade and restricts exports from that country. Russia is one of the prime case studies that highlights an oppressive regime which has been faced with economic sanctions from countries all over the world (28). Many countries, such as Germany, aided in the separation of Russia’s financial institutions from Swift banking which is an international standard for payment (29). By cutting ties with repressive regimes using economic sanctions, countries limit the financial influence the regime can have, and Russia’s currency has plummeted.
On the other hand, the effectiveness of economic sanctions are questionable (30). These sanctions can have more lasting impacts on the issuing country rather than the receiving one. For example, fuel prices have risen dramatically due to fears after oil bans in Russia. Furthermore, economic sanctions can have the unintended effect of strengthening repressive regimes (31). As in Russia, where the currency has fallen significantly, this mostly impacts the average people, where repressive regimes can then manipulate, endanger, and control the population. Therefore, while economic sanctions have instances of usefulness against authoritarian states, it can often backfire and have other negative consequences on both the citizens of these states as well as the globalised world.
Government and society are not separate entities: government is a part of society, where functioning and fair Human Rights depend on balance. They are interdependent – one cannot present purposeful statute without people to obey the law. Whilst degrees of power may vary globally, as outlined in the case studies, the international community is not obliged to pressurise using authority against authority. In fact in some circumstances perhaps power of the people is the most substantial factor in the push for change of repressive regimes.
Pressure groups can influence without political means and allow citizens the democratic Human Rights of freedom of speech, assembly and association. While oppressed people are often told to consider violent revolution, there are non-violent approaches that enable people to express their wills. When discussing Human Rights, a leading pressure group is Amnesty International.
This global movement includes over 10 million people, and as a non-governmental organisation they push governments to pursue better independence of political ideology or economic motive. It has previously been demonstrated that their methods expose abuse and government corruption, freeing thousands of people from unjust imprisonment for exercising their human rights. This is alongside advocacy of human rights and abolishing the death penalty to protect reproductive rights and defending refugee rights. The total impact of small victories can begin the process of change.
Nonetheless, not every pressure group will influence a government or governments globally. With globalisation allowing for the potential integration of ideas and campaigns, such as Black Lives Matter, it is common for people to join trending groups without fully supporting the aims, which weakens their impact. In addition, groups can be as susceptible to corruption as governments are. The power of pressure groups is dependent on society, therefore they rely heavily on a sustained degree of support and to some extent, the willingness of a challenged government to permit their existence.
Another way in which the international community can apply pressure on repressive regimes is through United Nations intervention. The UN is an organisation created in 1945 made up of 193 member states and 2 observers (32). The UN describes themselves as “the world’s only truly universal global organisation” to “address issues that transcend national boundaries” (33). The UN has, on multiple occasions, made positive contributions to Human Rights by applying pressure on oppressive regimes, whether this is through peaceful intervention, group imposed sanctions or promoting and collecting funding to make constructive change. An example of this can be seen through the United Nations having worked collaboratively to end Apartheid in South Africa. The racial discrimination that was Apartheid was a main point on the agenda of the UN after the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa on 21 March 1960, which showed the globe the extent to which Apartheid had reached. The General Assembly, the main voting body of the UN, spent extended periods of time creating resolutions in order to solve this issue which nations were strongly urged to comply with, although this was not grounds for immediate effect. Organisations such as the Special Committee Against Apartheid were formed in order to tackle these issues, and while sanctions were not officially imposed on the regime there were a wide range of measures instilled to isolate the government (34).
While this portrays the great strengths the UN provides in applying pressure on repressive regimes it also conveys its own fatal flaws. The General Assembly can only recommend member states to take action upon what is stated within the resolution; while providing a basis for countries who are willing to comply is helpful, it doesn’t coerce repressive powers to act upon these resolutions. The Security Council is the only United Nations body with the ability to bind nations to a resolution, although the inability to pass effective Security Council resolutions due to the conflicting opinions of the veto powers portrays how the disagreement of one of the five major powers can halt the process of providing others with basic Human Rights.
Our reasoning for researching the effects of globalisation on different countries can be traced back to three distinct steps: the rise of globalisation on Human Rights in the world, whether this rise has helped or hindered Human Rights, and how the international community can apply pressure to repressive regimes. Across the three different case studies dealt with in this paper, we can see that the rise of globalisation has had distinct effects on Human Rights in the world. Overall, globalisation has led to more visible discussions about Human Rights in the world, as well as government control. As shown by the case study of France, globalisation has led to a larger awareness of past Human Rights violations where the government could turn these into global issues. In the case study of Trinidad and Tobago, we can see that globalisation has allowed for Trinidad and Tobago’s government to engage in alliances and use policies pioneered by other countries to improve human rights. Russia, however, is a nation that does not fit this trend because it does not accept Western ideas that Putin would argue represent the thinking of a liberal capitalist democracy.
Globalisation has brought the citizens of Russia economic and political uncertainty, and Putin has positioned himself as the person who will run the country for the next 15 years. Globalisation has not prevented or helped stop the numerous violations of Human Rights dealt by this repressive, where the authoritarian state has complete control over its people. These repressive regimes can be dealt with by the international community through economic sanctions, pressure groups, and interventions from the United Nations. Economic sanctions can restrict and deter oppressive governments from engaging in the violation of Human Rights. Pressure groups can influence society to expose illegal and immoral practices as well as help fight for Human Rights for the oppressed. The United Nations, being the world’s only universal global organisation, could collaboratively work with countries in the fight for Human Rights. However, the sobering thought is that whilst these solutions have been shown to work between countries that share common values, there are many instances of its ineffectiveness in stopping repressive regimes who do not.
All in all, globalisation and its effect on government control have helped in the fight for Human Rights in the world. Globalisation has boosted, made visible, and enabled a shared view of common basic Human Rights in many different countries around the world. However there is still much to do because not every government shares this view. It will not be easy or quick but by being prepared to try out new strategies to influence repressive regimes, the ideal of equal and common rights may eventually be realised.
- ‘Human Rights’ (United Nations) <https://www.un.org/en/global-issues/human-rights> accessed 8 April 2022
- Peter Thomas Muchlinski “Globalisation and Legal Research.” The International Lawyer 37 no. 1 (2003) 223 http://www.jstor.org/stable/40707729.
- William Twining, Globalisation & Legal Theory (Butterworths 2000) 4
- William Twining, Globalisation & Legal Theory (Butterworths 2000) 5
- Maiia Ofitserova-Smith “Moral Implications of Globalisation.” Polish Sociological Review, no. 143 (2003) 259–273 http://www.jstor.org/stable/41969427
- ‘Lipietz et al’ (International Crimes Database) <https://www.internationalcrimesdatabase.org/Case/215/Lipietz-et-al/> accessed 8 April 2022
- Vivian Grosswald Curran, “Gobalization, Legal Transnationalization and Crimes against Humanity: The Lipietz Case.” (2008) The American Journal of Comparative Law 56 no 2 367-369. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/20454617> accessed 24 March 2022
- Curran, “Gobalization, Legal Transnationalization and Crimes against Humanity: The Lipietz Case.” (n 2) 370
- Curran, “Gobalization, Legal Transnationalization and Crimes against Humanity: The Lipietz Case.” (n 2)
- ‘Lipietz et al’ (International Crimes Database) <https://www.internationalcrimesdatabase.org/Case/779/Lipietz-et-al/> accessed 8 April 2022
- ‘Jean Jacques Rousseau’ (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 26 May 2017) <https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rousseau/#:~:text=Rousseau%20argues%20that%20in%20order,application%20and%20universal%20in%20scope> accessed 8 April 2022
- President Putin, annual address to the Federal Assembly, 2002
- President Putin, annual address to the Federal Assembly, 2014
- ‘Russia’s Sovereign Globalisation: Rise, Fall and Future’ (January 2016) <https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/publications/research/20160106RussiasSovereignGlobalizationGouldDaviesFinal.pdf> accessed 8 April 2022
- ‘Confronting Russia shows the tension between free trade and freedom’ (economist, March 19th 2022) <https://www.economist.com/leaders/2022/03/19/confronting-russia-shows-the-tension-between-free-trade-and-freedom> accessed 8 April 2022
- ’The Stalinisation of Russia’ (economist, March 12th 2022) <https://www.economist.com/leaders/2022/03/12/the-stalinisation-of-russia> accessed 8 April 2022
- Patenaude, Bertrand M. ’Regional Perspectives on Human Rights: The USSR and Russia, Part One (Stanford University, 2012) <https://spice.fsi.stanford.edu/docs/regional_perspectives_on_human_rights_the_ussr_and_russia_part_one> accessed 8 April 2022
- ’Referendum in Russia Passes, Allowing Putin to Remain President Until 2036’ (NPR, July 1st 2020) <https://www.npr.org/2020/07/01/886440694/referendum-in-russia-passes-allowing-putin-to-remain-president-until-2036> accessed 8 April 2022
- ’The Stalinisation of Russia’ (economist, March 12th 2022) <https://www.economist.com/leaders/2022/03/12/the-stalinisation-of-russia> accessed 8 April 2022
- ’Russia’ (CIA world factbook, April 4th 2022) <https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/russia/> accessed 8 April 2022
- ‘Putin has given Chechnya free rein to persecute LGBTI people’ (Amnesty International, January 17th 2019) <https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/01/putin-has-given-chechnya-free-rein-to-persecute-lgbti-people/> accessed 8 April 2022
- ‘Russian Federation’ (Amnesty International, 2021) <https://www.amnesty.org/en/location/europe-and-central-asia/russian-federation/report-russian-federation/> accessed 8 April 2022
- ’Russian Federation’ (Amnesty International, 2021) <https://www.amnesty.org/en/location/europe-and-central-asia/russian-federation/report-russian-federation/> accessed 8 April 2022
- M. Brereton, B., n.d. Trinidad and Tobago – History. [online] History of Trinidad and Tobago. Available at: <https://www.britannica.com/place/Trinidad-and-Tobago/History> [Accessed 24 March 2022].
- Sookram, S. and Basdeo, M., 2009. A Time-Series Analysis of Crime in Trinidad and Tobago. [online] Citeseerx.ist.psu.edu. Available at: <https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.542.4704&rep=rep1&type=pdf> [Accessed 24 March 2022].
- Mahabir, R., 2007. Migration Of Skilled Personnel In The CSME: A Case Study of Trinidad and Tobago. [online] JSTOR. Available at: <https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/27866531.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3Aacc649b6e6acef613c9aea59daab9f9d&ab_segments=0%2Fbasic_search_gsv2%2Fcontrol&origin=> [Accessed 24 March 2022].
- ’Sanctions’ (Government of the Netherlands) <https://www.government.nl/topics/international-peace-and-security/compliance-with-international-sanctions> accessed 8 April 2022
- Grauvogel, Julia; Licht, Amanda A.; von Soest, Christian ’Sanctions and Signals: How International Sanction Threats Trigger Domestic Protest in Targeted Regimes’ (Oxford Academic) <https://academic.oup.com/isq/article/61/1/86/2924814> accessed 8 April 2022
- Nardelli, Alberto; Nienaber, Michael; Albanese, Chiara ’Germany is stalling EU Efforts to broaden Russia’s SWIFT ban’ (Bloomberg, March 9th 2022) <https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-09/germany-is-stalling-eu-efforts-to-broaden-russia-s-swift-ban> accessed 8 April 2022
- Haass, Richard N. ’Economic Sanctions: Too Much of a Bad Thing’ (Brookings, June 1st 1998) <https://www.brookings.edu/research/economic-sanctions-too-much-of-a-bad-thing/> accessed 8 April 2022
- Radcliffe, Brent ’How Economic Sanctions Work’ (Investopedia, February 24th 2022 <https://www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/10/economic-sanctions.asp> accessed 8 April 2022
- ‘About Us’ (United Nations) <https://www.un.org/en/about-us> accessed 8 April 2022
- ‘United Nations’ (United Nations) <https://www.un.org/en/> accessed 8 April 2022
- Enuga S. Reddy, ‘The Struggle against Apartheid: Lessons for today’s world’ (United Nations) <https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/struggle-against-apartheid-lessons-todays-world> accessed 8 April 2022