Transnational Rights Enforcement

38 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2013

See all articles by David Gartner

David Gartner

Arizona State University - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Date Written: May 15, 2013


A central debate among international law scholars revolves around the question of how, if at all, international human rights are enforced. Based on recent empirical research, the leading explanations for human rights enforcement are: 1) the democracy thesis; 2) the constitutional thesis; and 3) the international non-governmental organization (INGO) thesis. In order to gain better insight into the causal mechanisms involved and the interplay between these different factors in human rights enforcement, this article tests these competing theories through controlled comparisons and qualitative case studies focused on a single widely ratified right, the right to education. It identifies transnational rights enforcement as an alternative mechanism of human rights enforcement. In this model, transnational civil society actors contribute to human rights enforcement by overcoming international constraints, leveraging domestic commitments, and accelerating compliance with regional norms.

Keywords: Transnational, Human Rights, Democracy, Constitution, Education, Rights Enforcement

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Gartner, David, Transnational Rights Enforcement (May 15, 2013). Berkeley Journal of International Law (BJIL), Vol. 31, No. 1, 2013. Available at SSRN:

David Gartner (Contact Author)

Arizona State University - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

1100 S. McAllister Ave.
PO Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287
United States

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