Human Rights in a Globalizing World: The Paradox of Empty Promises

AJS Volume 110 Number 5 (March 2005): 1373–1411

39 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2015

See all articles by Emilie Marie Hafner-Burton

Emilie Marie Hafner-Burton

UCSD School of Global Policy and Strategy

Kiyoteru Tsutsui

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Date Written: March 2005

Abstract

The authors examine the impact of the international human rights regime on governments’ human rights practices. They propose an explanation that highlights a “paradox of empty promises.” Their core arguments are that the global institutionalization of human rights has created an international context in which (1) governments often ratify human rights treaties as a matter of window dressing, radically decoupling policy from practice and at times exacerbating negative human rights practices, but (2) the emergent global legitimacy of human rights exerts independent global civil society effects that improve states’ actual human rights practices. The authors’ statistical analyses on a comprehensive sample of government repression from 1976 to 1999 find support for their argument.

Keywords: Human Rights, International Relations, Treaties

Suggested Citation

Hafner-Burton, Emilie Marie and Tsutsui, Kiyoteru, Human Rights in a Globalizing World: The Paradox of Empty Promises (March 2005). AJS Volume 110 Number 5 (March 2005): 1373–1411, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2702044

Emilie Marie Hafner-Burton (Contact Author)

UCSD School of Global Policy and Strategy ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

HOME PAGE: http://gps.ucsd.edu/ehafner/

Kiyoteru Tsutsui

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

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