International human rights have been codified in a number of declarations and conventions, but these rights are not always enforced. This paper will examine the right to citizenship and the other essential rights linked to it. When national governments are unable or refuse to grant citizenship to a group of people it results in a violation of international human rights norms. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a key role in enforcing human rights standards in three ways: first, NGOs with lawyers on staff can work through national legal systems to ensure that rights, such as citizenship, are granted. Second, NGOs can bring human rights violations to the attention of the general public in order to pressure national governments to take action. Third, the human rights violations can be brought to the attention of international organizations such as the UN to put pressure on the offending nation. This paper will explore how International Justice Mission implemented all three of these measures in order to influence the Thai government to grant citizenship to the Karen people, a hill tribe in northern Thailand. International Justice Mission’s efforts were successful in bringing international attention to the plight of the Karen as well as navigating the Thai legal system to assist in the citizenship process.
Bourke, Tyler J.
"The Role of NGOs in the International Human Rights System: A Case Study—IJM in Thailand,"
Vol. 4, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/globaltides/vol4/iss1/2