Le Pouvoir montant des ONG

Quand Human Rights Watch déclara en janvier dernier que la guerre d'Irak ne pouvait pas être qualifiée d'intervention humanitaire, les médias internationaux le remarquèrent. Selon la base de données Internet Factiva, 43 articles de presse mentionnèrent leur rapport, dans des publications allant du Kansas City Star au Beirut Daily Star . De même, après les révélations sur les sévices dont furent la cible les détenus de la prison d'Abou Ghraib, les déclarations d'Amnesty International et du Comité international de la Croix rouge ont permis de faire pression sur le gouvernement Bush, aussi bien à la maison qu'à l'étranger.

Comme le suggère ces exemples, l'ère de l'information que nous connaissons aujourd'hui a été marquée par le rôle toujours plus important des organisations non gouvernementales (ONG) sur la scène internationale. Cela n'est pas tout à fait nouveau, mais les communications modernes ont permis d'accroître de manière significative l'échelle de leur portée, leur nombre passant de 6 000 à 26 000 environ, au cours des années 1990 uniquement. Mais les chiffres ne racontent pas toute l'histoire, parce qu'ils ne représentent que les organisations formellement constituées.

De nombreuses ONG prétendent agir comme notre " conscience mondiale " et représenter les intérêts du public en général, au-delà de la portée des États individuels. Ils développent de nouvelles normes en faisant directement pression sur les gouvernements et les entreprises pour que les politiques soient changées, et indirectement en altérant les perceptions publiques de ce que les gouvernements et les entreprises devraient faire. Les ONG n'ont aucun pouvoir coercitif " dur ", mais elles bénéficient souvent d'un pouvoir "doux" considérable - la capacité à obtenir les résultats qu'elles veulent par l'attirance plutôt que par la contrainte. Parce qu'elles attirent des adeptes, les gouvernements doivent en tenir compte et les considérer comme des alliées et des adversaires en même temps.

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