Congress, the President, and U.S. Human Rights Sanctions Human Rights Standards

57 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2021 Last revised: 14 Feb 2022

See all articles by Daniela Donno

Daniela Donno

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Political Science

Ashrakat Elshehawy

University of Oxford

Nikolay Marinov

University of Houston - Department of Political Science

Date Written: February 22, 2021

Abstract

Though centralized enforcement of global human rights standards is weak, powerful states can act unilaterally to punish rights violations. We focus on the role of the United States, deriving insights about how the incentives and constraints for human rights (HR) sanctions vary across the legislative and executive branches. Employing a new fine-grained dataset of U.S. economic coercion based on automated analysis of government documents, we marshal descriptive evidence, analysis of text, and multivariate models to explore patterns of HR sanctioning by Congress and the President. We find that although both branches are sensitive to strategic foreign policy interests, overall, Congress is more systematic in its approach toward human rights, orienting its measures around principles and norms, rather than particular countries. We further find that Congress makes frequent reference to global human rights treaties in its sanction-related legislation, and that its enforcement patterns are shaped by target countries' treaty commitments.

Keywords: human rights, American foreign policy, ICCPR, treaties, sanctions

Suggested Citation

Donno, Daniela and Elshehawy, Ashrakat and Marinov, Nikolay, Congress, the President, and U.S. Human Rights Sanctions Human Rights Standards (February 22, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3790840 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3790840

Daniela Donno

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Political Science ( email )

135 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

Ashrakat Elshehawy

University of Oxford ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom

Nikolay Marinov (Contact Author)

University of Houston - Department of Political Science ( email )

TX 77204-3011
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nikolaymarinov.com

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