Abstract

ABSTRACT October 2014, Margot Wallström became Sweden's foreign minister. As a human rights and feminist advocate, she pledged to make that reflective in Sweden's foreign policy and diplomacy. It became a central tenet of her time in office. March 9, 2015, Minister Wallström planned to deliver a speech at the Arab League summit in Cairo to address violations of women's rights in Saudi Arabia. She had been invited as a guest of honor to address the Arab foreign ministers on the rights of Palestinians. The Saudi government blocked her speech at the summit.  Several serious diplomatic actions resulted from this. Sweden announced the termination of a decade-long arms deal with the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Stockholm, saying it was prompted by Sweden's 'interference in its internal affairs.' Correspondingly, the foreign ministers from the Arab League states issued a joint statement condemning Wallström's statement. The United Arab Emirates recalled its ambassador to Stockholm, condemning the statement. Emirati minister Anwar Gargash said the Swedish minister's criticisms constituted a violation of Saudi Arabia's sovereignty. Then, a Saudi official told the Associated Press that the Kingdom would no longer issue business visas to Swedish citizens, or renew the current visas of Swedish citizens inside Saudi Arabia. A long-term friendly relation was gravely affected due to this critical speech about human rights. The case above is one of many cases indicating serious issues in international law, which lead to unreasonable and disproportionate diplomatic actions. Such issues need further exploration. First, there is no clear legal meaning of what diplomatic advocacy for human rights means, its various measures (hard and soft), and both direct and indirect methods used by states towards other states. Second, even if such measures are contained and well-defined, there is a misconception of the legality of these measures under international law. Are these various measures considered violations of other states' sovereignty (under the principle of non-interference, non-use of force and the principle of good faith.) Third, if such measures are contained, well defined and evaluated legally, there is a misconception on the legal limitation of lawful diplomatic advocacy in both unilateral and multilateral levels, and this misconception needs to be reevaluated. In general, the legal framework of this advocacy is not well defined in either setting. Currently, states use their 'discretionary power' to employ diplomatic advocacy widely, or to take disproportionate counter-diplomatic action. Sweden and Saudi Arabia are an example in which the rules of unilateral and multilateral advocacy of human rights are being intermixed. This PhD study deals with these issues while making the argument that there is a difference in the legal framework between multilateral advocacy and unilateral advocacy for human rights exercised by states. "

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