Conflict and Compliance

Conflict and Compliance: State Responses to International Human Rights Pressure

Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    Conflict and Compliance
    Book Description:

    International human rights pressure has been applied to numerous states with varying results. In Conflict and Compliance, Sonia Cardenas examines responses to such pressure and challenges conventional views of the reasons states do-or do not-comply with international law. Data from disparate bodies of research suggest that more pressure to comply with human rights standards is not necessarily more effective and that international policies are more efficient when they target the root causes of state oppression. Cardenas surveys a broad array of evidence to support these conclusions, including Latin American cases that incorporate recent important declassified materials, a statistical analysis of all the countries in the world, and a set of secondary cases from Eastern Europe, South Africa, China, and Cuba. The views of human rights skeptics and optimists are surveyed to illustrate how state rhetoric and behavior can be interpreted differently depending on one's perspective. Theoretically and methodologically sophisticated, Conflict and Compliance paints a new picture of the complex dynamics at work when states face competing pressures to comply with and violate international human rights norms.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-0153-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Chapter 1 Introduction: Compliance Revisited
    (pp. 1-16)

    States are often subject to competing normative pressures. Will they comply with international norms or violate them in the face of countervailing national standards? If they comply, they risk a backlash from domestic opponents of international norms. If they resist, they could jeopardize their relations with other states. The trade-offs actually associated with compliance and noncompliance, however, are not so straightforward. I argue in this book that the choice between complying and not complying with an international norm is in fact a false one. State leaders caught in a normative cross fire have an arsenal of compliance choices available to...

  5. Chapter 2 Human Rights Pressure and State Violations
    (pp. 17-36)

    Louis Henkin observed over two decades ago that most states comply with most of their obligations most of the time.¹ Yet, as Henkin himself noted, human rights compliance can be exceptional while violations remain commonplace. Even if the costs of noncompliance rise, the incentives for complying become more alluring, or domestic support for international norms grows, states can continue to violate human rights. States may break international norms even when the conditions for compliance appear propitious.

    Unraveling this puzzle requires understanding more fully the conditions under which international human rights pressure can be influential. I map out these conditions in...

  6. Chapter 3 Skeptics Under Fire: Human Rights Change in the Southern Cone
    (pp. 37-65)

    Latin America served as one of the first testing grounds for evaluating the impact of international human rights pressure. State-sponsored violence in countries such as Chile and Argentina coincided with the strengthening of Cold War international human rights mechanisms in the 1970s. Even relations between the superpowers included a new human rights component, enshrined in the Helsinki Accords of 1975. In the United States, the first legislation linking human rights conditions to broader economic and military relations was enacted, and the arrival of the Carter administration promised to usher in a new era of human rights issues constituting a foreign...

  7. Chapter 4 Bounded Optimism: The Limits of Human Rights Influence
    (pp. 66-100)

    A more skeptical story of human rights change can almost always be told. I tell such a story in this chapter, with the aim of pinpointing the exact nature of international human rights influence. What did international human rights pressure achieve, and how did it fail? While human rights improvements may be partly the product of international and domestic pressure, such an account can be incomplete and even misleading. Several issues, detailed in the first part of this chapter and then explained from an alternative viewpoint, cast doubt on the extent to which human rights pressure alone led to reduced...

  8. Chapter 5 State Responses in Global Perspective
    (pp. 101-127)

    Two decades after military coups erupted in Chile and Argentina, international human rights norms had undergone phenomenal transformation, leading some observers to declare a change in “world time.”¹ More human rights treaties existed, a critical mass of states had ratified these treaties, and transnational networks of activists mobilized on behalf of human rights victims everywhere. Despite deep pockets of resistance in this post-Cold War world, international human rights norms appeared to be acquiring global legitimacy. World attention turned increasingly to human rights abuses associated with ethnic strife and civil war, while “humanitarian intervention” became a common fixture in the toolkit...

  9. Chapter 6 Compliance and Resistance in International Politics
    (pp. 128-140)

    Human rights issues have always been manifestly contradictory. In ancient Greece and Rome, torture was an integral aspect of the legal system. Torture of citizens was forbidden, but a slave’s testimony tended to be accepted only if it had been extracted by torture.¹ Today, freedom from torture is considered part of customary international law and even jus cogens, a norm so basic that it cannot be derogated under any circumstances. And yet torture is routinely practiced around the world: recent Amnesty International surveys confirm systematic torture or ill-treatment in over one hundred countries. Given what is at stake, we cannot...

  10. Appendix: Measuring Human Rights Determinants
    (pp. 141-142)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 143-176)
  12. Index
    (pp. 177-188)