Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1622732
 
 

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Emergency and Escape: Explaining Derogation from Human Rights Treaties


Emilie Marie Hafner-Burton


University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS)

Laurence R. Helfer


Duke University School of Law

Christopher J. Fariss


Pennsylvania State University

August 19, 2011

International Organization, Vol. 65, p. 673, Fall 2011

Abstract:     
Several prominent human rights treaties attempt to minimize violations during emergencies by authorizing states to “derogate” - that is, to suspend certain civil and political liberties - in response to crises. The drafters of these treaties envisioned that international restrictions on derogations and international notification and monitoring mechanisms would limit rights suspensions during emergencies. This article analyzes the behavior of derogating countries using new global datasets of derogations and states of emergency from 1976 to 2007. We argue that derogations are a rational response to domestic political uncertainty. They enable governments facing serious threats to buy time and legal breathing space from voters, courts, and interest groups to confront crises while signaling to these audiences that rights deviations are temporary and lawful. Our findings have implications for the studies of treaty design and flexibility mechanisms and compliance with international human rights agreements.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

Keywords: International Law, Human Rights, Treaties, Flexibility, Derogation, Compliance, Emergencies, Crises, ICCPR

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Date posted: June 9, 2010 ; Last revised: October 13, 2011

Suggested Citation

Hafner-Burton, Emilie Marie and Helfer, Laurence R. and Fariss, Christopher J., Emergency and Escape: Explaining Derogation from Human Rights Treaties (August 19, 2011). International Organization, Vol. 65, p. 673, Fall 2011. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1622732

Contact Information

Emilie Marie Hafner-Burton (Contact Author)
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS) ( email )
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States
HOME PAGE: http://irps.ucsd.edu/ehafner/
Laurence R. Helfer
Duke University School of Law ( email )
210 Science Dr.
Box 90360
Durham, NC 27708
United States
+1-919-613-8573 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://law.duke.edu/fac/helfer/
Christopher J. Fariss
Pennsylvania State University ( email )
University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States
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