KENYATTA UNIVERSITY- CITY CAMPUS
MA (INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS & DIPLOMACY)
DEPARTMENT OF DIPLOMACY AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS IN THE SCHOOL OF SECURITY, DIPLOMACY AND PEACE STUDIES
COURSE CODE: AD1 801
COURSE UNIT: RESEARCH METHODS IN IR
COURSE LECTURER: DR. EDWARD OENDO
NAME: SARAH NJERI MWANGI
REGISTRATION NUMBER: S205/CTY/PT/38479/2017
In 1945, the Charter of the United Nations (UN) included the promotion of human rights as one of the nascent international organization’s main purposes. One year later, following the mandate established by Article 68 of the UN Charter,1 the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) set up the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) and, a few years later, in 1948, the General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This is how what the field of international relations (IR) calls an “international regime” was born. An international regime is a set of principles, norms, rules and decision-making procedures established by states to guide their behaviour in a particular thematic area. Since then, the international human rights regime has continued to be developed and consolidated as an important component of the global institutional architecture.
In IR, two fundamental questions on international regimes can be posed: what are their causes and what are their consequences? In other words, why did states establish them and what impact have they had on state conduct? The responses to these questions are particularly important in relation to human rights. Over the past seven decades, although an increasingly complex and active regime has been developed in this area, it does not seem to have the “teeth” it needs to significantly influence states’ behaviour. In this framework, the question raised in this article is: what are the main characteristics of the international human rights regime and how has it developed over time? To answer it, this article critically revisits and refines the analytical framework proposed by Jack Donnelly thirty years ago, which we will use as the basis of our systematic approach to the analysis of the international human rights regime, namely to determine their level of institutionality.
The concept of international regime and its application to the area of human rights
The “international regime” concept is one of the most important ones in the International Relation field. It allows us to describe this key element of the international relations in the world today with greater precision. According to the already classical “consensus” definition offered by Stephen Krasner, an international regime is a type of international institution formed by a set of principles, norms, rules and decision-making procedures adopted and established by states to regulate or guide their interactions in a particular thematic area.
The international human rights regime is founded on the principles of dignity, the equal worth of and equal rights for “all members of the human family”, without distinction of any kind, such as “race, colour, sex, language or religion”, as well as the idea that human rights are inalienable, universal, interdependent and indivisible in nature. From a conceptual perspective, and even more so from an empirical point of view, these norms and rules seem to blend together. Various articles of the UDHR establishe a wide range of concrete rights held by individuals, which necessarily creates obligations for states. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), for example, stipulates that the States Parties to the covenant commit “to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized” in the covenant and therefore, they are obliged to take the necessary steps to “adopt such laws or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to (them).”9 Thus, by creating rights and obligations, numerous international human rights instruments establish a wide range of norms. They also prohibit certain types of conduct (such as torture, forced disappearance or arbitrary or extrajudicial executions, for example) and establish different prescriptions for action (such as guaranteeing the existence of effective legal remedies or access to healthcare). In addition to defining the regime’s norms, international human rights instruments establish a series of rules. These norms and rules seem to merge or overlap one another. To take this into account, for the sake of conceptual simplicity and greater clarity, we will use the concept of norms in broader terms to refer to both rights and obligations and prohibitions and prescriptions of certain actions (thus including the rules within a broader notion of international norms).
Finally, the founding charters of the different international organisations (such as the Charter of the UN or the Charter of the Organization of American States) and the international human rights instruments themselves (such as the American Convention on Human Rights, ACHR, or the ICCPR) establish a range of bodies and procedures to promote the implementation of the regime’s norms. Ultimately, the bodies of international human rights regimes “make decisions”: through various concrete monitoring and protection mechanisms or procedures, they determine, in an authoritative way, to what extent states are complying with or violating the international norms they have committed to respect.
Foreign Policy Trends
A country’s foreign policy, also called foreign relations or foreign affairs policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve goals within its international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries. The study of such strategies is called foreign policy analysis. In recent times, due to the deepening level of globalization and transnational activities, the states will also have to interact with non-state actors. The aforementioned interaction is evaluated and monitored in attempts to maximize benefits of multilateral international cooperation. Since the national interests are paramount, foreign policies are designed by the government through high-level decision making processes. National interests accomplishment can occur as a result of peaceful cooperation with other nations, or through exploitation. Usually, creating foreign policy is the job of the head of government and the foreign minister (or equivalent). In some countries the legislature also has considerable effects. Foreign policies of countries have varying rates of change and scopes of intent, which can be affected by factors that change the perceived national interests or even affect the stability of the country itself. The foreign policy of one country can have profound and lasting impact on many other countries and on the course of international relations as a whole.
Global wars were fought three times in the twentieth century. Consequently, international relations became a public concern as well as an important field of study and research. After the Second World War and during the 1960s, many researchers in the U.S. particularly, and from other countries in common, brought forth a wealth of research work and theory. This work was done for international relations and not for foreign policy as such. Gradually, various theories began to grow around international relations, international systems, and international politics, but the need for a theory of foreign policy (that is, the starting point in each sovereign state) continued to receive negligible attention. The reason was that the states used to keep their foreign policies under official secrecy, and unlike today, it was not considered appropriate for the public to know about these policies. This iron-bound secrecy is an essential part for the framework of foreign policy formulation.
World War II and its devastation posed a great threat and challenge for humanity which revealed to everyone the importance of international relations. Though foreign policy formulation continued to remain a closely guarded process at the national level, wider access to governmental records and greater public interest provided more data from which academic work placed international relations in a structured framework of political science. Graduate and post-graduate courses developed. Research was encouraged, and gradually, international relations became an academic discipline in universities throughout the world.
Unpacking the term Foreign PolicyA country’s foreign policy, also called the international relations policy, is a set of goals outlining how the country will interact with other countries economically, politically, socially and militarily, and to a lesser extent, how the country will interact with non-state actors. Foreign policy is primarily concerned with the boundaries between the external
environment outside of the nation state and the internal or domestic environment, with its variety of sub-national sources of influence. (Webber and Smith, 2000). Foreign policies are designed to help protect a country’s national interests, national security, ideological goals, and economic prosperity. This can occur as a result of peaceful cooperation with other nations, or through exploitation.
Determinants of States’ Foreign PoliciesIn general terms there are three determinants of foreign policies in any given state. These include its power, objectives and leadership. These have both domestic and international influence. This section highlight on these determinants and exclusively explores on both domestic and international determinants of foreign policies.
States’ Power, Objective and LeadershipWithin domestic politics, power is usually based on numbers, wealth, and organizational skills. A small group that is well organized may exercise considerable influence even without large sums of money. In international politics, power depends on both geopolitical factors and idiosyncratic factors. Inequalities of State Power. Different states in world differ in their powers. The US is the world’s super power, hence have greatest influence in its foreign policies. There are also micro-states and various territories that are not self-governing or not independent such as colonies. Power of state depend on the following: Location (coastal or landlocked); size (large or small territory); population; Natural Resources (oil, iron ore, forests); Technology; Type of Government (dictatorship or democracy); type of Economy (market or centrally planned); Size and Equipment of Military (nuclear or conventional) and belief systems of Country. (UCC, 2007).
Objectives of Foreign PolicyThe objectives of any state give direction to its foreign policies. Such objectives may vary greatly but all states seek to preserve themselves, maintain their independence, and security. For instance, economic development has played a dominant role in shaping Kenya’s foreign policy. The need to pursue an open economic policy and the demand for foreign capital and investment flows and inter-alia FDI, has influenced Kenya’s approach to foreign policy. (GoK, 2009).
LeadershipIt does matter who is elected to be the President of a particular country. Leaders and the elites who support such leaders help to shape the foreign policy of their respective countries. (UCC, 2007) Domestic and International Determinants
Determinants of state’s foreign policy can also be categorized into Domestic and international determinants.
Internal or Domestic Determinants on States’ Foreign Policies focus attention “on variations in states’ attributes, such as military capabilities, level of economic development, and types of government (Kegley, 2008).
Military Capabilities: This include the size of military, Equipment, Training. Leadership and nuclear or non-nuclear capabilities.
Economic Capabilities: Stages of Industrialization: Wood, Coal, Oil, Nuclear, Renewable Resources. Gross national product, Per Capita GNP;
Type of Economy: Free Market Economics, Centrally Planned Economies, Socially Steered Market Economies.
Type of Government: Constitutional democracies (presidential systems and parliamentary systems). Autocratic Systems (authoritarian and totalitarian). Military Dictatorships. Political Party Systems. Traditional monarchies (Saudi Arabia). Modern theocracies (Iran).
International or External Determinants
The geopolitical location of a state is one of the external determinants on its foreign policy. It matters where on the globe a country is located. It matters whether the country has natural frontiers: that is whether it is protected by oceans, high mountains, or deserts. It matters who one’s neighbors are and whether a given country is territorially large, populous, affluent, and well-governed. For instance, Kenya’s foreign policy in the region has been shaped by factors such as the presence of overlapping ethnic community across borders and being a littoral state of the Indian Ocean which influences relations with landlocked neighbors
Constraints Facing State’s Foreign Policies
A country’s Foreign Policy is determined by two broad considerations: the domestic and the external environment. Constraints may stream from factors imposed by the international system and human agency that is, from the role of individual choice in shaping the international system. This section explores constraints in two fold, namely domestic and international constraints.
Environment IssuesThe domestic environment refers essentially to features, factors and forces peculiar to the state on which foreign policy is being made. The domestic environment includes geographical location of the state, its peculiarity, natural and human resources, the nature of the political system, quality of leadership, the nature of the interaction among groups in the society (Otubanjo, 1999). Domestic environmental factors have great impact on the decision/policy making of a country. For instance, foreign policies in Kenya today are influenced (even constrained) by such domestic factors as political system (coalition government), national integrity and sovereignty, Regional Integration (in East African community) (GoK, 2009). International Foreign Policy Issues
International foreign policy issues have their roots from outside, that is external. For instance, the major international foreign policy issues facing America today include but may not be limited to the following (Quinn and Kerry, 2008):
a) War on Terrorism
b) War on illicit drugs
c) War on human trafficking among others
f) Climatic Change Issues
Kenyas Foreign Policy
It has been a busy few years for Kenyan diplomats. Between investment deals with China, a first visit from a sitting US president and efforts to broker peace in South Sudan, the country has gained a more visible role both in the region and internationally. This has not been achieved by chance.
The government has a carefully thought out vision for Kenya’s role in the world and has been eager to demonstrate this. In November 2014, it published the country’s first foreign policy framework since independence.
The document lays out the general terms of Kenya’s engagement with the international community and the principles behind its foreign dealings. According to the policy paper, the
country’s mission is “to project, promote and protect Kenya’s interests and image globally through innovative diplomacy, and contribute towards a just, peaceful and equitable world” through five pillars: economic, peace, environmental, cultural and diaspora.
The government is looking to put flesh on the bones of this framework and, as part of its peace pillar, is actively playing up its role as a force for reconciliation and stability in the region. Indeed, President Uhuru Kenyatta has been taking an active role in trying to reignite the moribund peace process in its northern neighbour, South Sudan. In June 2015 Kenyatta announced his plans to resuscitate the peace process and end a 17-month civil war that has killed as many as 50,000 people and left more than 2m displaced.
The government was pushing for the consolidation of two long-standing peace efforts carried out by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Addis Ababa and by the Tanzanians in Arusha. Kenya is also encouraging the return of 10 prominent exiled politicians residing in Nairobi.
The return of five of the detainees to South Sudan to talk to President Salva Kiir was a major breakthrough by Kenya, although the impact on South Sudan has yet to be seen.
Kenya’s diplomatic manoeuvring plays into a broader effort by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to improve regional integration and cooperation. This is not only as a means of creating peace and stability, but also as a way of fostering economic growth in Kenya and the wider African community.
The policy notes that, “Kenya continues to play a lead role in fast-tracking regional and continental integration so as to boost intra-African trade as part of the efforts to reduce economic marginalisation of Africa in the global economy. The overarching objective is the improvement of Kenya’s competitiveness for foreign direct investments and that of its export products, increase of market access and developing its attractiveness as a leading tourist destination.”
To this end, it is hardly surprising that Nairobi is pushing hard for the goals of regional bodies such as IGAD, COMESA and the EAC. COMESA, the 19-member regional trading bloc, which is the largest in Africa, has had a positive impact on Kenya’s trade situation. The bloc accounted for almost 11% of the country’s total trade in 2013 and provided a market of more than 480m people for its goods.
Kenya exported around $1.6bn worth of goods to COMESA members in 2013. The country has a healthy trade surplus of $1.1bn with COMESA, while it runs a trade deficit of $8.96bn globally. Following the signature of the EAC economic partnership agreement with the EU, and the rollout of the Tripartite Free Trade Area with the EAC, COMESA and the Southern African Development Community, the potential benefits for Kenya’s participation in these forums is likely to increase exponentially.
These regional communities are a key means of bolstering export-led growth in Kenya – something that is increasingly helping to drive the country’s foreign policy.
The foreign policy framework, which is set out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, states that, “Kenya seeks to diversify its economic relationships and partnerships with increased focus on the emerging economies and economic zones. These efforts collectively have sown the seeds of Kenya’s new era of economic diplomacy which seeks to promote a pragmatic approach that best illustrates commitment to strengthen relations with all countries and regions based on shared mutual interests.”
Given this explicit goal, it comes as little surprise that the country has been strengthening ties with China. Trade between the two countries has risen dramatically in the last five years. In 2014 total trade between China and Kenya reached $5bn, an increase of over 50% on the previous year.
Relations between the two countries have been supported by diplomatic visits that have gone to the very top of the state. In 2013 President Kenyatta visited Beijing and a year later the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, came to Nairobi.
Both high-level visits were cemented with a raft of investment deals. In 2013 the two countries signed agreements worth $5bn. These included the construction of a railway from Mombasa to the border town of Malaba, a 50-MW solar power plant in Garissa, which will be one of Africa’s largest, and wildlife protection programmes. At the signing, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the deals would help foster further development in the East African nation and enhance future cooperation between the two countries.
A year later, when Li Keqiang visited Kenya, a number of additional deals were signed, including a $2bn fund to establish a China Africa Development Bank, KSh5.1bn ($56.1m) for a China Africa Research Centre and plans for an industrial park. While trade and investment flows favour China currently, the imbalance has the potential to shift dramatically over the coming years.
With the East Africa nation sitting on crude oil reserves with early and unproven estimates ranging as high as 1bn barrels, and China currently the world’s largest importer of oil, the relationship could see a stark change in a short period of time.
Kenya also maintains strong ties with Western countries, including the EU. The country has a long history with the UK, its former colonial power, while the EU on the whole serves as a long-standing strategic ally and a major trade partner. Eurostat data published in January 2013 shows that trade with Europe represents approximately 17% of Kenya’s overall trade. Trade volumes are also likely increase in coming years, following the signing of the EAC Economic Partnership Agreement.
The US established diplomatic ties with Kenya in 1964, following its independence in December 1963, and the two nations remain close allies. The US has signed trade and investment framework agreements with both the EAC and COMESA. Trade relations are particularly anchored on the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act regime, with Kenyan exports to the US steadily increasing in the last few years.
President Barack Obama’s two-day visit to Kenya in July 2015 was the first by a sitting US president to the East African nation. As well as spending time with his Kenyan family, President Obama held talks on trade, investment, and security and counter-terrorism in Kenya.
The country remains open to dealings that will foster growth at home and stability in the region. As the tag line for its foreign policy framework document says, its diplomacy is focused on “A peaceful, prosperous and globally competitive Kenya.”
Kenya maintains relations with various countries around the world. Its closest ties are with its fellow Swahili-speaking neighbours in the African Great Lakes region. Relations with Uganda and Tanzania are generally strong, as the three nations work toward economic and social integration through common membership in the East African Community.
Kenya’s relations with other states vary. The government of Ethiopia established political links in the colonial period with Kenya’s then British administration, and today it is one of several national bodies with a diplomatic presence in Nairobi. Relations with Somalia have historically been tense, although there has been some military co-ordination against insurgents.
Elsewhere, the Kenyan government has political ties with China, India, Russia and Brazil. It also maintains relations with Western countries, particularly the United Kingdom, although political and economic instabilities are often blamed on Western activities (e.g. colonialism, paternalistic engagement and post-colonial resource exploitation).
IMPLICATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS REGIME ON KENYAS FOREIGN POLICY
As above stated,(and as picked from the pdf)