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Naming and Shaming

Explore research on the use of naming and shaming as a tool to help prevent mass atrocities.

Overview of the Evidence on Naming and Shaming

Our research review includes 19 reports: 2 that address the effects of naming and shaming on mass atrocities and 17 that address the effects of naming and shaming on closely related outcomes, such as civilian killings, human rights violations, and conflict recurrence. It found the following:

  • A mix of findings as to whether naming and shaming was effective in helping prevent mass atrocities or closely-related outcomes, and
  • Limited evidence on which specific factors contribute to the effectiveness of naming and shaming in helping prevent mass atrocities.

About Naming and Shaming

Definition

Naming and shaming is the publicizing of “rights-based violations and their perpetrators (naming) and bring[ing] more pressure to bear on perpetrators of rights violations to change their behavior (shaming)” (Krain 2012, p. 575; Keck and Sikkink 1998).

Theory of Change

If naming and shaming imposes reputational costs on perpetrators and/or increases the expected future costs of committing atrocities, it would reduce the likelihood or severity of mass atrocities (Krain 2012; DeMeritt 2012). If naming and shaming imposes reputational and political costs that encourage perpetrators to consider exiting their positions of power, it would reduce the likelihood or severity of mass atrocities by helping facilitate a political transition.

Strategies This Tool Can Support

(1) Dissuading potential perpetrators from committing mass atrocities
(2) Facilitating leadership or political transition
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