El creciente poder de las ONG's

Cuando Human Rights Watch declaró en enero pasado que la guerra en Irak no podía considerarse como intervención humanitaria, los medios internacionales tomaron nota. De acuerdo con la base de datos Factiva en Internet, 43 artículos mencionaron el informe, en periódicos desde el Kansas City Star hasta el Beirut Daily Star . De igual forma, después de que se dieron a conocer los abusos en contra de los detenidos iraquíes en la prisión de Abu Ghraib, las opiniones de Amnistía Internacional y del Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja ejercieron presiones sobre la administración Bush tanto en casa como en el exterior.

Como lo indican esos ejemplos, la era de la información actual ha estado caracterizada por el creciente papel de la organizaciones no gubernamentales (ONG's) en la arena internacional. Esto no es totalmente nuevo, pero las comunicaciones modernas han llevado a un dramático aumento en el número de las ONG's que, nada más en los noventa, se disparó de 6,000 a alrededor de 26,000. Y esa cantidad sólo incluye a las organizaciones formalmente constituidas.

Muchas ONG's sostienen que actúan como "conciencia global" y que representan intereses públicos amplios, más allá de la esfera de acción de los Estados. Desarrollan nuevas normas al presionar directamente a gobiernos y empresas para que cambien sus políticas, e indirectamente al cambiar la percepción pública de lo que los gobiernos y las empresas deben hacer. Las ONG's no tienen un poder coercitivo "duro", pero a menudo gozan de un poder "suave" considerable -la capacidad de obtener los resultados que quieren a través de la atracción, más que de la obligación. Debido a que atraen seguidores, los gobiernos las tienen que tomar en cuenta como aliados y como adversarios.

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