The Company You Keep: International Socialization and the Diffusion of Human Rights Norms

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Authors Brian D. Greenhill
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Does membership in Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) affect states’ human rights behavior? One might expect IGOs with a specific human rights mandate, like the International Labour Organization or the Council of Europe, to have a positive effect on the human rights practices of their member states. But what about other sorts of IGOs, particularly those with no direct connection to human rights issues? This study employs cross-national data on abuses of “physical integrity rights” for 137 countries over the period 1982–2000 to test the hypothesis that IGOs can promote the diffusion of human rights norms by providing venues for interstate socialization. Recent empirical work on IGOs has suggested that this sort of socialization effect can play an important role in promoting democracy and can also lead to a more general convergence among states’ interests. The results presented here suggest that IGOs can have a surprisingly powerful influence on states’ human rights practices as a result of this process.
Date of publication 2010
Code Programming Language R

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