Human Rights Review

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 45–66 | Cite as

“Walking a Tightrope: Human Rights, Basic Human Needs and US Support for Development Projects in the Multilateral Development Banks”

  • Daniel BraatenEmail author


US foreign aid serves many purposes. One of its main rationales is to provide economic relief to those in need. Equally important are the political goals the USA pursues with foreign aid such as helping allies and promoting domestic economic prosperity. These political goals can also be country-specific, for example using foreign aid to try and leverage changes in a countries respect for human rights. In many instances, however, these goals can work at cross-purposes. When the USA uses the denial of foreign aid as leverage against a rights repressive state, then the economic relief from that aid is denied to the population that needs it. For the USA, there is a way around this problem known as the basic human needs exemption. Basic human needs (also known as the “needy people clause”) refer to a development strategy briefly favored by US policy makers in the late 1970s that focused specifically on providing assistance to poor people (Curry 1989). As an overall strategy...


Foreign Policy Human Trafficking Physical Integrity Female Genital Mutilation Executive Board 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas Lutheran UniversitySeguinUSA

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