Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Public Policy on Human Rights: A Strategy for Human Rights Organizations in Third World Societies

Dr. Shlomo Mizrahi.

This paper examines the issue of human rights by analyzing the process of determining public policy, based on Public Choice Theory. The paper examines the activities of non-governmental organizations as a player in the process of determining public policy, and explains the reciprocal effect which the political culture that characterizes many Third World societies and these organizations have on each other. In this regard, the paper emphasizes the fact that non-governmental organizations often attempt to influence public policy on human rights by encouraging the involvement of centers of powers, alternative to those of the state, e.g., external forces, and/or the judicial system, rather than by putting direct pressure on the executive and legislative authority within the country. By such action, they are adopting, like many players in Third World societies, a modus operandi which shall be defined in this paper as "quasi-exit behavior" or "alternative politics". The public, dissatisfied with the inability of the political system to create public policy, is searching for alternative entities which are capable of making decisions. When human rights organizations encourage such process, they potentially harm the principle of democratic representation and cause the public to associate the policy with a certain elite. For this reason, we will argue that promoting the struggle for human rights through external or legal channels may harm efforts to establish liberal norms in Third World societies. The normative significance of this claim is that the non-governmental organizations must channel their activities into the political system and into society as a whole.


Dr. Shlomo Mizrahi  (Israel)
Senior Lecturer
Department of Public Policy and Administration School of Management
Ben-Gurion University

Ph.D. in Government from London School of Economics (1995).
Since 1996 Lecturer and Senior Lectirer in public policy, public choice and conflict resolution.

  • Human-rights organizations
  • Public choice
  • Public policy
  • Alternative politics

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)