The economic and political power of non-governmental organizations in today’s world

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NGOs play the part of human rights defenders and have become important partners on the international stage, as well as a civil counter-power. Even though the actual results of their main fights, such as, among others, enforcing the Tobin tax, « humanitarian protest » and fair trade are relatively modest, the NGOs’ position within society has been reinforced thanks to the enforcement of some of their recommendations. Yet, the NGOs’ idealized image has been replaced with a more contrasted perception of reality : the human rights sector can also be subjected to the laws of the market and many critics emerge today, pointing at the insufficiently universal nature of their endeavors, their questionable representativeness and the origin of their collected funds.

AFRI 2008 Summary