Maria Josua, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg
The Diffusion of Anti-Terror Legislation in the Middle East and North Africa
Repression through legal regulations in authoritarian regimes is a trend that has been witnessed
globally over the past decades. Riding on the wave of harshening regulations in OECD states
especially after 9/11, authoritarian incumbents have made use of vague anti-terror laws to clamp
down not only on terrorists, but on Islamist activists, and sometimes protesters in general. The
appearance of legality for institutionalizing existing arbitrary practices is one possibility of
lowering costs of repression and preventing outrage by domestic and international observers.
This paper studies various waves of legislative changes in anti-terror laws. One wave occurred
in the early 2000s, after 9/11 offered an opportunity for more restrictions. Another wave can be
found after the Arab uprisings, when sometimes even peaceful protesters were included in
broadened definitions of terrorism. The paper focuses on whether domestic developments or
international diffusion influenced the adaptation of anti-terror legislation. It investigates the
mechanisms of diffusion and looks at whether there are early adopters and regional trendsetters
that inspired other legislators. It also scrutinizes which regulations exactly diffused. This
contributes to the study of diffusion in authoritarian regimes and to the research agenda on the
role of law under authoritarianism.
Thomas Richter & Georg Strüver, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg
Authoritarian Powers and the Diffusion of NGO-Repression
This paper looks at the diffusion of civil society restrictions from a macro-comparative
perspective. Based on Freedom House data on associational and organizational rights (the
freedom of assembly), which are available between 2005 and 2015, we explore alternative
hypotheses about the potential impact of regional powers. We hypothesize that the emergence
of powerful non-democratic regional states may have influenced the likelihood of additional restrictions to the freedom of assembly among non-democratic regimes within the same region. Employing random effect logistic regressions on a large cross-national sample we test three different sorts of interconnection between regional powers and other countries in the same region and compare these results looking at the influence of regional democratic powers (RDP) and regional non-democratic powers (RNDP). Our findings point to interesting and distinct conclusions: RNDPs seem to exert influence on their direct neighbors, through the intensification of bilateral trade, and joint-memberships in regional organizations, while RDPs seem to counter this influence only with regard to the latter dimension.
Annika Elena Poppe & Jonas Wolff, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
International Responses to Domestic Repression: How Democracy Promoters (Can) Deal with Civic Space Restrictions
The recent rise in political measures that restrict and, in part, openly repress civil society organizations and activists around the world – often described as the phenomenon of shrinking or closing spaces – has left democracy promoters and other (non-)state donors in the field of development assistance baffled and scrambling to find adequate responses. After all, this trend, by constraining the space for cooperation with and support of civil society organizations, touches upon a core element of democracy promotion and development assistance and has, in its force and persistence, come largely unexpected. This paper takes stock of and analyzes the spectrum of currently existing as well as possible international responses to shrinking spaces. It does so focusing mainly on the landscape of German state- and non-state actors and their attempts to deal with increasingly repressive contexts. The paper also zooms out to consider the broader, international response and wonders where Germany fits in and whether there are positive response strategies to be emulated and/or adapted.