Nongovernmental Organizations in International Society: by V. Heins

By V. Heins

In keeping with a wealth of unique details and examine, this booklet bargains either a severe creation to NGOs and a dialogue of contemporary theoretical techniques that have both pushed aside or wildly exaggerated their political importance.

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13 Remaining aloof from conventional politics has also meant an almost exclusive focus on a small set of narrowly defined problems and issues and no comments on the rest. Again, MSF offers good examples for this economy of attention. “We have no specific view about air strikes,”14 declared the president of MSF-France during the NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999. ”15 This problem arises in situations in which political leaders have to violate their moral principles for a weightier moral end, for example, by negotiating with terrorists in order to free hostages, or by imposing sanctions on a tyrannical and dangerous regime that will also hurt ordinary people.

Japanese human rights activists, for example, advocate the cause of the indigenous Buraku communities who have been treated as outcasts since feudal times. I should add that by “geographical distance” I do not mean any distance that can be measured in miles or kilometers. I am using the term in the psychological sense that strangers in need are constructed as living in places where most donors would never set foot in. 33 At the same time, of course, the distant others are represented as being “like us” and morally close.

The label “Quango” was coined in the early 1980s as a joking acronym for “quasi-autonomous nongovernmental organizations,” which are characterized by the fact that they typically receive public funding and fulfill regulatory or other public functions, while being at the same time largely independent from elected politicians. Like NGOs, Quangos have proliferated in the last decades and are now forming a distinct “layer of governance”43 between the private and the public sector in many democracies.

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