PhD Pitch #3: Does Foreign Aid Undermine Human Rights in Recipient Countries?

Video Source: “No Censorship!” in Youtube

The video as shown above vividly demonstrates the complex issues about counter-terrorism and human rights. It appears that public security is always pitted against human rights protection. Our  intuition dictates that intensified counter-terrorist efforts can lead to an increase in state-initiated human rights abuses.
The example of the USA PATRIOT Act  vis-a-vis the allegedly deteriorating  human rights situation demonstrates this seeming conflict between public security and individual physical integrity rights as well as civil liberties.

Using the best available social science data accounting for US bilateral aid and state-initiated human rights abuses, my preliminary examination suggests that the increase of US strategic support to three Southeast Asian electoral democracies is positively correlated with an increase in the level of “political violence and terror” in recipient states.  Considering that context, my doctoral project analyses cases dealing with US foreign relations with three Southeast Asian countries – Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand – before, during, and after the US-led War on Terror.

On that note, it is worth asking these key questions: What kind of assistance does the US give to its partner countries, particularly those in the developing world, during security crises? What are the intentions and strategic objectives of the US, or other donor countries from the developed world, in giving such aid? How do state actors in recipient states use such foreign aid? What are the political consequences, if any, of such strategic aid?


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