Human Rights Norm Diffusion in Southeast Asia: Roles of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Ending Extrajudicial Killings in the Phillippines

Aurelia Colombi Ciacchi, Stanati Netipatalachoochote, Ronald Holzhacker

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Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have played an increasingly vocal role in their struggle to advance both human rights protection and promotion in Southeast Asian countries. Most notably, CSOs have become a more important actor in dealing with human rights issues in particular by virtue of their role in drawing attention to human rights violations. In the case of massive human rights violations happening in Southeast Asia, CSOs pursue various strategies to address and try to end such abuses. Spreading information of human rights violations occurring in each member state to regional peers, and then finding new allies such as international organizations to put pressure back to human rights-violating states, in what is characterized as a dynamic of the
boomerang model, one of the prominent strategies CSOs use to relieve human rights violations. Another strategy recently observed involves CSOs reaching out to powerful judicial institutions whose decisions can be legally binding on a violating state. This paper applies the boomerang model theory to the efforts of CSOs, specifically with respect to their work in helping to end the extrajudicial killing of drug dealers in the Philippines during President Duterte's tenure, to display how the dynamics of the boomerang model works and what this strategy has achieved in terms of ending the extrajudicial killings. Beyond the boomerang model, this paper further demonstrates the strategy of CSOs in reaching out directly to powerful judicial institutions, in this case the International Criminal Court (ICC). The paper discusses why CSOs pursued this strategy of reaching out to the ICC, bypassing the region's human rights institution-the ASEAN
Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-285
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Southeast Asian Human Rights
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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