The Dynamic Impact of Periodic Review on Women’s Rights

38 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2019

See all articles by Cosette D. Creamer

Cosette D. Creamer

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Political Science; University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law; Harvard University - Department of Government; Boston University School of Law

Beth A. Simmons

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: February 7, 2018

Abstract

Human rights treaty bodies have been frequently criticized as useless and the regime’s self-reporting procedure widely viewed as a whitewash. Yet very little research explores what, if any, influence this periodic review process has on governments’ implementation of and compliance with treaty obligations. We argue oversight committees may play an important role in improving rights on the ground by providing information for international and primarily domestic audiences. This paper examines the cumulative effects on women’s rights of self-reporting and oversight review, using original data on the history of state reporting to and review by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CmEDAW). Using a dynamic approach to study the effects of the periodic review process, we find that self-reporting has a significant positive effect on women’s rights. We explore three clusters of evidence for the domestic mobilization mechanism: information provision through domestic civil society organizations; publicity and critique through the domestic media; and parliamentary attention, debate, and implementation of recommendations. This is the first study to present positive evidence on the effects of self-reporting on rights and to describe the mechanisms that link Geneva bodies with local politics. Our findings challenge the received wisdom that the process of reporting to these treaty bodies is basically useless.

Keywords: International relations, international law, human rights treaties, treaty compliance & violation, self-reporting procedure, periodic review process, compliance with treaty obligations, discrimination against women, women’s rights, mechanisms that link Geneva bodies with local politics

Suggested Citation

Creamer, Cosette D. and Simmons, Beth A., The Dynamic Impact of Periodic Review on Women’s Rights (February 7, 2018). Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 81, No. 4, Pg. 31, 2018; U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 19:03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3316312

Cosette D. Creamer

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Political Science ( email )

1414 Social Sciences
267 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Boston University School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Beth A. Simmons (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3501Sansom
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
7817990076 (Phone)

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