UW political science Professor Aseem Prakash and his colleagues James Ron (University of Minnesota) and Kendra Dupuy (Peace Research Institute Oslo in Norway and previous UW political science graduate student) contributed a guest article to The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog entitled, "Across the globe, governments are cracking down on civic organizations. This is why."
In this article, they argue that the probability of a crackdown on NGOs increases when governments have recently won nationally competitive elections. They believe this is because the governments see the NGOs as a political threat.
Logically, there is no reason to suspect that NGOs, in and of themselves, pose an inherent threat to political incumbents. Instead, the trouble seems to start when these groups embrace a “rights-based approach” arguing that citizens have a basic “right” to transparent, accountable and adequate public services. When governments will not, or cannot, respond, they become a target for NGO critiques.
Over time, NGO criticisms can make it appear — in government officials’ eyes — that they have sided with the political opposition.
Cracking down on NGOs seems relatively safe because it is “rare that the public takes to the streets in support of foreign-supported NGOs.” Prakash, Ron, and Dupuy explain that there “is a financial disconnect between NGOs and the communities they serve.” They believe that one way international donors could help would be to broaden fundraising activities on the local level, this would help to build local ties .
The article was published on The Washington Post website on July 5, 2017. The Monkey Cage is a blog that relies upon political science research “to make sense of the circus that is politics.” It was named 2010 Blog of the Year by The Week and a 2012 Best Blog by Time.