The promise of international human rights law has been that universal standards would elevate local rights practices. But international human rights norms make a difference when they are internalized and integrated into domestic institutions. The chapter argues that regional human rights systems can promote that integration in ways that global mechanisms (human rights treaty bodies, the International Criminal Court) cannot. Regional human rights systems can integrate with domestic legal institutions when: (1) regional rights treaties are incorporated into domestic law; (2) regional courts regularly scrutinize and condemn national practices that fall short of regional standards; and (3) domestic institutions internalize the decisions of the regional court in interpreting and applying domestic law. A comparison of the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American System of Human Rights explores the conditions under which integrated regional human rights systems emerge and develop. The author suggest that the courts’ strategies for extending rights depend on the level of human rights fulfillment in the member states (their politico-legal contexts) and the type or status of the rights concerned, distinguishing between qualified and non-derogable rights.
Valerie M. Hudson
The purpose of the chapter is to trace the arc of the idea that there could be a “feminist” state foreign/security policy, and then to assess both the promise and the pitfalls of such a stance. In this case, the state would become the main agent promoting this human rights expansion. A feminist foreign/security policy (FFSP) would embrace the idea that human rights and national security are not contradictory goals of state policy unless we choose to see them as such. However, an FFSP would go further and also propose that women’s empowerment, women’s voice, and women’s security constitute the great bridge between the two aspirations. The selection of Hillary Clinton as US Secretary of State in 2009, and her tenure until early 2013, provides a rich case study of how the “women, peace, and security” standpoint articulated by the United Nations could be translated into a state agenda. However, given the state’s top-down nature, there will always be problems with utilizing the state to expand and secure human rights. Understanding the nature and source of the problems faced in this case is instructive, including moral quandaries, state inconsistency, insincere genuflection, distorted participation, and perverse incentives.
Hyeran Jo and Joshua Alley
Rebel groups are significant players in contemporary world politics and are often portrayed as violators of human rights. The authors explore the Janus-faced nature of rebel groups toward human rights and show that rebel groups are both human rights violators and advocates. The chapter unearths the patterns of rebel groups’ commitment to human rights between 1990 and 2010. It shows that some rebel groups do express their intent to respect human rights when they are willing and capable. Specifically, rebel groups with autonomy aims, strong command and control structures, and strong military capabilities are the ones that have the will and power to engage in public relations for human rights. The authors’ findings demonstrate the evidence of “expanding” human rights to traditional outsiders such as rebel groups.
As a human right, the child’s right to life entails a claim on both domestic and international resources, imposing duties on states and international actors. The lending decisions of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) can greatly influence, directly or indirectly, the realization of the child’s right of survival. Yet, international financial institution (IFI) loans come with conditions that can interfere with the ability of the recipient state to fulfill its human rights obligations to the child. In order to explore the human rights impact and responsibility of IFIs, this study attempts to initiate an investigation of the effects of IFI lending on child mortality rates. The study uses an unbalanced panel of observations from 161 developing countries, covering the years 1996–2013. Testing the effects of several different types of lending, the author finds that World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) lending subjects children to conditions that increase their risk of death. International Development Association (IDA) lending, on the other hand, benefits child survival, but the coefficients are small. IMF concessional lending is statistically insignificant in reducing child mortality until the year in which the program expires (seven year lag), at which time child mortality increases. IMF non-concessional lending has no effect on child mortality, although in the medium term, five years after the IMF loan, it reduces mortality.
Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann
The chapter revisits the author’s 1983 article, “The Full-Belly Thesis” to discuss if any progress has been made in protection of the right to food since its publication. Relying on recent research on North Korea, Zimbabwe, and Venezuela, the author argues that states still enjoy the sovereign right to violate the right to food. She also argues that the right to food is still dependent on citizens’ realization of civil and political rights, including citizenship rights, mobility rights, the right to own property, and the right to work. Although there have been some advances in international mechanisms to protect the right to food since 1983, states still enjoy almost complete impunity when they deny it.