The Impact of Globalisation on Human Rights in the Arab World

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Griffiths, Martin

Abdalla, Mohamad

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Stamford, Charles

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This thesis examines whether globalisation has any effect on a state’s respect for human rights. Using the Arab world as a sample, this thesis has nominated three components of globalisation that might influence an Arab government’s level of respect for security rights and its ability to provide for subsistence rights: economic, political, and social globalisation. Each of these components among other local and international factors can be theoretically related to human rights. Thus, the thesis employed a mixed multimethod approach that combines qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis techniques in sequential phases; the first stage established hypothesised relationships between constructs to be tested statistically for significance, the findings of stage one guided the execution of stage two, which involved thorough investigation of four case studies. Using pooled, cross-sectional time-series analysis to empirically test the hypothesised relationships between globalisation and basic human rights in the Arab world from 1976 to 2011, the findings were mixed. Among the three indicators used to represent level of economic globalisation in a country, participation in Bretton Woods institutions positively increases a state’s level of respect for security rights, but deteriorates its ability to provide for basic needs. The other two indicators, foreign direct investment and trade openness proved to have no influence on both types of rights. As for political globalisation, the statistical analysis indicates that participation in international human rights treaties does not guarantee observance of security rights in a country but has a substantive and strong positive impact on subsistence rights. Social globalisation represented by the use of the internet in a country exhibits no significant impact on both dependent variables. Furthermore, the quantitative analysis concludes that while the level of economic development has a great positive impact on both types of rights, the positive relationship between democracy and human rights as concluded by the majority of research on human rights, does not find any support in the Arab world.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Humanities

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Human Rights, Arab countries


Economic globalisation

Political globalisation

Social globalisation

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