Do Self-Reporting Regimes Matter? Evidence from the Convention Against Torture
34 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2015 Last revised: 16 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 16, 2016
Self-reporting on implementation is common in international regulatory agreements, yet we know almost nothing about how (or whether) it works. We argue self-reporting provides information for international and domestic audiences, with the potential to create pressure for agreement compliance. Using original data on reports submitted to the Committee Against Torture, we test for the influence of the review process on the pervasiveness of torture. Adopting a dynamic approach to strengthen our ability to draw inferences, we find that the review process in fact does help to reduce the incidence of torture in reporting countries. Moreover, local media attention spikes during the review process, consistent with a domestic mobilization mechanism. This is the first study to evaluate the effects of self-reporting on torture outcomes. Since many international agreements are based on self-reporting, the results have broad significance for international relations.
Keywords: international law, self-reporting, international agreements, international treaties, human rights, treaty implementation
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