Civil Society Repression in Post-Civil War States
When do states exiting conflict repress civil society organizations? Existing literature finds that violent repression is often used after intrastate conflicts terminate, as potential challengers threaten new regimes, but does not disaggregate types of repression. In contexts with interventions, states’ choices of repressive tactics are constrained. Physical integrity rights abuses are costly because they are visible and brutal, which incentivizes states to use non-violent channeling repression – including restrictions on civil society association. Non-violent repression is used to “tame” threats, whereas violent repression is used to “pacify” them. Interventions that target civil society strengthening further constrain states’ repressive options, while those that lack targeting may allow for repression substitution. In post-civil war contexts, I argue that channeling repression will be more severe in the absence of international “watchdogs,” which directly interact with civil society, including peacekeeping missions and human rights organizations. These actors increase the costs of non-violent channeling repression. Quantitative analyses demonstrate that international human rights organizations correspond with less channeling repression of civil society, but I do not find the same effect for other types of international watchdogs.