Robert Blitt

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Buffalo Human Rights Law Review


Human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have become a fixture within the international system and a driving force for creating and enforcing human rights norms at international law. This essay examines the growth of human rights NGOs and argues that the industry is in urgent need of formal regulation. After assessing the failure of informal market controls for ensuring accountability within the human rights NGO sector, this paper applies a law and economics consumer protection model to underscore the need for more formal regulation. However, rather than advance a case for government intervention, this paper proposes that human rights NGOs themselves undertake to develop and implement authoritative and meaningful standards. Such standards can ultimately function to boost objectivity, accuracy and relevancy in human rights reporting, as well as safeguard against the debasement of international human rights principles.

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