What Works in Human Rights Institutions?

Katerina Linos (Berkeley Law) and I are excited to have finalized our article on the effectiveness of national human rights institutions, forthcoming in The American Journal of International Law.  The abstract follows and a final version can be downloaded here.

Abstract: Since 1993, the United Nations has promoted national human rights institutions (NHRIs); these have spread to almost 120 countries. We assess what makes NHRIs effective, using quantitative and qualitative methods. We find that formal institutional safeguards contribute greatly to NHRI efficacy even in authoritarian and transition regimes. Complaint-handling mandates are particularly useful because they help NHRIs build broad bases of support. Our findings show how international organizations can wield great influence with soft tools such as recommendations and peer-review mechanisms.

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