Whether international human rights treaties constrain the behavior of governments is a hotly contested issue that has drawn much recent scholarly attention. The possibility to derogate from some of the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) during declared states of emergency, but not from other rights, provides a hitherto unexplored test case for this research question. If governments continue to observe non-derogable rights during periods of declared emergencies then this can be interpreted as evidence that the ICCPR affects governmental behavior. I analyze the effect of derogations on specific individual human rights as well as on two aggregate rights measures during the period 1981 to 2007. I find that regime type matters: autocracies step up violation of most human rights covered by the ICCPR, whereas democracies do not, with the exception of the right to electoral self-determination. Moreover, I find some evidence that autocracies also increasingly violate non-derogable rights. This result corroborates previous findings that international human rights treaties appear to matter least where, as in autocracies, a constraining effect would be needed most.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Neumayer: Do Governments Mean Business When They Derogate? Human Rights Violations During Declared States of Emergency
Eric Neumayer (LSE - Geography and Environment) has posted Do Governments Mean Business When They Derogate? Human Rights Violations During Declared States of Emergency. Here's the abstract: