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Human rights

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

International Law

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Proof Is In The Process: Self-Reporting Under International Human Rights Treaties, Cosette D. Creamer, Beth A. Simmons Feb 2020

The Proof Is In The Process: Self-Reporting Under International Human Rights Treaties, Cosette D. Creamer, Beth A. Simmons

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Recent research has shown that state reporting to human rights monitoring bodies is associated with improvements in rights practices, calling into question earlier claims that self-reporting is inconsequential. Yet little work has been done to explore the theoretical mechanisms that plausibly account for this association. This Article systematically documents—across treaties, countries, and years—four mechanisms through which reporting can contribute to human rights improvements: elite socialization, learning and capacity building, domestic mobilization, and law development. These mechanisms have implications for the future of human rights treaty monitoring.


Borders Rules, Beth A. Simmons Jan 2019

Borders Rules, Beth A. Simmons

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International political borders have historically performed one overriding function: the delimitation of a state’s territorial jurisdiction, but today they are sites of intense security scrutiny and law enforcement. Traditionally they were created to secure peace through territorial independence of political units. Today borders face new pressures from heightened human mobility, economic interdependence (legal and illicit), and perceived challenges from a host of nonstate threats. Research has only begun to reveal what some of these changes mean for the governance of interstate borders. The problems surrounding international borders today go well-beyond traditional delineation and delimitation. These problems call for active forms …


When Law Is Complicit In Gender Bias: Ending De Jure Discrimination Against Women As An Important Target Of Sustainable Development Goal 5, Rangita De Silva De Alwis Jan 2018

When Law Is Complicit In Gender Bias: Ending De Jure Discrimination Against Women As An Important Target Of Sustainable Development Goal 5, Rangita De Silva De Alwis

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Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but also crucial to accelerating sustainable development. The very first target of Goal 5. 1.1 calls to end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere and the indicator for the goal is: “Whether or not legal frameworks are in place to promote, enforce and monitor equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex”. In many countries around the world the legal frameworks themselves allow for both direct (de jure) and indirect (de facto) discrimination against women. This essay identifies some areas …


Making Laws, Breaking Silence: Case Studies From The Field, Rangita De Silva De Alwis Jan 2018

Making Laws, Breaking Silence: Case Studies From The Field, Rangita De Silva De Alwis

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The Sustainable Development Goals seek to change the history of the 21st century, addressing key challenges such as poverty, inequality, and violence against women and girls. The inalienable rights of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls addressed in Goal 5 are a pre-condition for this. Despite decades of struggle by women’s movements and reformist agendas, much still needs to be done to address de facto and de jure discrimination against women. At a time of enormous change for women, these essays from around the world are a critical analysis of the role of law in regulating and shaping …


Brief For Justice Richard J. Goldstone As Amicus Curiae In Support Of Petitioner, Sarah Paoletti Sep 2017

Brief For Justice Richard J. Goldstone As Amicus Curiae In Support Of Petitioner, Sarah Paoletti

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Amicus curiae herein argue the present petition for a writ of certiorari should be granted as it rightly questions the very legitimacy of the military commission used to try Petitioner based on a theory of equality. International and comparative law further bolster Petitioner’s argument that the Military Commissions Act’s establishment of a segregated criminal justice system in which only non-citizens are subject to military commission jurisdiction violates the equal rights of Petitioner and all non-citizens subject to its jurisdiction.

Equality is a central principle undergirding human rights law that pre-dates the founding of the United Nations and the drafting of …


Ratification, Reporting, And Rights: Quality Of Participation In The Convention Against Torture, Cossette D. Creamer, Beth A. Simmons Aug 2015

Ratification, Reporting, And Rights: Quality Of Participation In The Convention Against Torture, Cossette D. Creamer, Beth A. Simmons

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The core international human rights treaty bodies play an important role in monitoring implementation of human rights standards through consideration of states parties’ reports. Yet very little research explores how seriously governments take their reporting obligations. This article examines the reporting record of parties to the Convention against Torture, finding that report submission is heavily conditioned by the practices of neighboring countries and by a government’s human rights commitment and institutional capacity. This article also introduces original data on the quality and responsiveness of reports, finding that more democratic—and particularly newly democratic—governments tend to render higher quality reports.


Human Rights Treaties In And Beyond The Senate: The Spirit Of Senator Proxmire, Jean Galbraith Jun 2015

Human Rights Treaties In And Beyond The Senate: The Spirit Of Senator Proxmire, Jean Galbraith

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In 1995, Louis Henkin wrote a famous piece in which he suggested that the process of human rights treaty ratification was haunted by “the ghost of Senator Bricker” – the isolationist Senator who in the 1950s had waged a fierce assault on the treaty power, especially with regard to human rights treaties. Since that time, Senator Bricker’s ghost has proved even more real. Professor Henkin’s concern was with how the United States ratified human rights treaties, and specifically with the packet of reservations, declarations, and understandings (RUDs) attached by the Senate in giving its advice and consent. Today, the question …


Frames And Consensus Formation In International Relations: The Case Of Trafficking In Persons, Volha Charnysh, Paulette Lloyd, Beth A. Simmons Jan 2015

Frames And Consensus Formation In International Relations: The Case Of Trafficking In Persons, Volha Charnysh, Paulette Lloyd, Beth A. Simmons

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This article examines the process of consensus formation by the international community regarding how to confront the problem of trafficking in persons. We analyze the corpus of United Nations General Assembly Third Committee resolutions to show that: (1) consensus around the issue of how to confront trafficking in persons has increased over time; and (2) the formation of this consensus depends upon how the issue is framed. We test our argument by examining the characteristics of resolutions’ sponsors and discursive framing concepts such as crime, human rights, and the strength of enforcement language. We conclude that the consensus-formation process in …


Migrant Workers' Access To Justice At Home: Nepal, Sarah Paoletti, Eleanor Taylor-Nicholson, Bandita Sijapati, Bassina Farbenblum Jun 2014

Migrant Workers' Access To Justice At Home: Nepal, Sarah Paoletti, Eleanor Taylor-Nicholson, Bandita Sijapati, Bassina Farbenblum

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Nepal’s citizens engage in foreign employment at the highest per capita rate of any other country in Asia, and their remittances account for 25 percent of the country’s GDP. The Middle East is now the most popular destination for Nepalis--nearly 700,000 were working in the Middle East in 2011 on temporary labor contracts. For some Nepalis, working abroad provides much-needed household wealth. For others, their contributions to Nepal come at great personal cost. Migrant workers in the Gulf, for example, routinely report wage theft, lack of time off and unsafe and unhealthy working conditions. Some migrant workers report psychological and …


Are Institutions And Empiricism Enough? A Review Of Allen Buchanan, Human Rights, Legitimacy, And The Use Of Force, Matthew J. Lister Apr 2011

Are Institutions And Empiricism Enough? A Review Of Allen Buchanan, Human Rights, Legitimacy, And The Use Of Force, Matthew J. Lister

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Legal philosophers have given relatively little attention to international law in comparison to other topics, and philosophers working on international or global justice have not taken international law as a primary focus, either. Allen Buchanan’s recent work is arguably the most important exception to these trends. For over a decade he has devoted significant time and philosophical skill to questions central to international law, and has tied these concerns to related issues of global justice more generally. In what follows I review Buchanan’s new collection of essays, Human Rights, Legitimacy, and the Use of Force, paying special attention to …


Adoption Of The Responsibility To Protect, William W. Burke-White Jan 2011

Adoption Of The Responsibility To Protect, William W. Burke-White

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This book chapter traces the legal and political origins of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine from its early origins in the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty through the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document and up to January 2011. The chapter examines the legal meaning of the Responsibility to Protect, the obligations the Responsibility imposes on states and international institutions, and its implications in for the international legal and political systems. The chapter argues that while the Responsibility to Protect has developed with extraordinary speed, it is still a norm in development rather than a binding legal rule. Its …