Human Rights Change, Politics of Law and Order, and Targeting of Torture (SWP 66)

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Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Faculty/Staff
Final version published as: 

Oskar Timo Thoms, Human Rights Change, Politics of Law and Order, and Targeting of TortureSimons Papers in Security and Development, No. 66/2018, School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, November 2018.

Date created: 
2018
Identifier: 
ISSN 1922-5725
Keywords: 
human rights
torture
judicial independence
international law
public insecurity
Abstract: 

Human rights have improved but not everywhere and for everyone. Scholarship has focused on domestic conditions under which they improve but we know little about how they affect different groups. Whose rights are being protected? Under what conditions? I compare dissidents and criminals as targets of human rights violations – specifically torture. I also examine the effectiveness of human rights protections under conditions of public insecurity due to crime – as opposed to political or civil conflict or terrorism. I argue that mobilization and judicial enforcement are less effective in the face of public insecurity, and criminals benefit less than dissidents because courts provide less accountability for violations of those accused of crimes. Human rights treaties that depend on these mechanisms thus primarily benefit dissidents. My statistical analysis supports this argument and directly addresses concerns about measurement bias. The key finding is that commitment to the Convention against Torture enhances judicial protection only for dissidents.

Description: 

Oskar Timo Thoms email: oskar_thoms@sfu.ca

Homepage:

oskarthoms.net

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Other
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Rights for the working paper remain with the authors.
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