The Globalisation Paradox and the Implementation of International Human Rights: the Function of Transnational Networks in Combating Human Trafficking in the ASEAN Region

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In A New World Order, Anne-Marie Slaughter describes the “globalisation paradox” as “the need for global institutions to solve collective problems that can only be addressed on a global scale” juxtaposed with “the infeasibility and undesirability” of world government and its concomitant threat to individual liberty (Slaughter, 2004). Slaughter’s solution – and the solution offered by a number of scholars in the neo-liberal tradition – is governance via transnational networks of national government actors. It is both a descriptive and a prescriptive programme for a new world order. Neoliberals envisage the aggregate elements of the state – regulators, legislators, judges – interacting with their foreign counterparts in a decentralized and dispersed way to conduct the business of global governance.

This paper explores the application of global network theory in the field of human rights. In particular, it focuses on the work of a regional network of national human rights institutions, the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF). Since 1996, the APF has promoted regional cooperation on human rights issues by providing a forum for the region’s national human rights institutions (NHRIs) to share expertise and information on best practice, to undertake joint projects and to develop joint positions on issues of common concern. I examine the APF’s function in relation to the issue of human trafficking as an example of the interactive dynamic generated by and between network members in their efforts to address this transnational human rights issue.

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Open Access Conference Paper

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Open Access