Debating Aid Conditionality

As a tool for human rights advocacy, "conditioning" U.S. aid to abusive governments in the Middle East and North Africa on human rights reforms has limits and even possible harms, since it can make the United States complicit in abuses. To foster more debate, DAWN has released a list of recommendations to the foreign policy community regarding conditionality—tied to a recent workshop that DAWN cohosted with the MIT Center for International Studies—and published its own position paper.

In a series of articles adapted from papers presented at that workshop and published in DAWN's journal, Democracy in Exile, regional experts offer their own views on conditionality and how the U.S. can better promote human rights in the region.

"Many of us in the advocacy community have been on autopilot, operating on the questionable assumption that the best strategy for U.S. engagement with abusive governments is placing human rights conditions on a part of its military aid, as opposed to insisting that all such aid end."

- Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of DAWN