Committed to Rights:Legal Paths to Committing and Complying with United Nations Human Rights Treaties
Tentatively titled “Committed to Rights: Legal Paths to Committing and Complying with United Nations Human Rights Treaties”, my book project expands on elements of my dissertation and explores the different legal ways states commit to human rights treaties. I argue for a more nuanced understanding of legal commitment that looks beyond ratification as the only measure of commitment. Focusing on the other commitment actions of signature, accession, and succession I make the case that states use each commitment type within different political contexts and mechanisms for rights change. Each type of commitment speaks to unique circumstances in which states are committing to human rights law.Because of these circumstances and differing rights contexts, we should not expect compliance behavior to be uniform for states across each commitment type.In fully examining the legal paths to commitment, this book provides a deeper understanding of how context matters for human rights commitment and change .
Using legal histories, archival research, and quantitative analysis I find that separating out different commitment types matters and offers significantly different patterns of rights behavior than ratification. The project has important implications on the study of international law, an optimistic outlook for the impact of human rights treaties, and an acknowledgement that non-binding law can evoke state change.
Table of Contents 1. Introduction: Making the Case for Expanding the Study of Treaty Commitment 2. On Ratification: Findings, Conclusions, and Limits of a Ratification Focused Study of International Law 3. Signature: Step One in a Two-Step Process 4. Accession: The Importance of Participating (and Not Participating) in Treaty Negotiations 5. Succession: New Countries and Re-committing to Human Rights in Times of Regime Change 6. Conclusion