The donor's dilemma:international aid and human rights violations

Abstract

Donor governments face a dilemma when providing development aid to states that violate human rights. While aid may contribute to positive development outcomes, it may also contribute to rights violations committed by these regimes. This article provides a conceptual framework for donors to address this dilemma in a normatively justified way. Drawing on recent methodological advancements in normative political theory, we develop a distinctively political framework of dilemmas, suggesting three models: complicity, double effect and dirty hands. We consider this framework in the context of development aid, discussing the relevant considerations for donors in different cases. We demonstrate that an approach to development assistance that acknowledges political realities does not have to be normatively silent

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This paper was published in University of Birmingham Research Portal.

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