Compliance with human rights norms: International efforts to end torture

1998 1998

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

This study of state compliance with international norms against torture focuses on the period 1979-1993. Configurations of factors are compared using the Qualitative Comparative Approach. The first part of the study is a cross-national analysis of government compliance in 1993. To elucidate the circumstances under which states that are democracies or are in transition to democracy may improve their records of compliance with norms against torture, the second part of this study presents the results of a comparison of a group of such states where the governments improved compliance and a group of states where the governments continued to torture at high levels.

This study shows that the record of compliance with international norms against torture in 1993 is a weak one. Total compliance was rarely achieved and difficult to maintain. The states that improved from the worst levels were still in 1993 torturing at middle levels. Both the cross-national study and the analysis of selected governments' behavior from 1979 to 1993, present evidence of the importance of type of political regime. This study demonstrates that in many cases the presence or absence of armed conflict distinguishes democracies or states in transition that complied from those that did not. However, while there are clear patterns among some states that torture, these important factors do not alone distinguish governments that torture from those that do not. They are clearly not sufficient to explain government behavior. The second part of this study, looking at behavior over time, shows that membership in any of the torture regimes has not had any serious impact on government behavior. An analysis of the comparison also confirms and further develops the importance of armed conflict as a domestic factor and indicates the circumstances under which the presence of minor armed conflict may be overcome. This study also highlights the importance of foreign pressure and the more limited circumstances under which NGOs with transnational links may have been able to effect government practice.

Indexing (details)

International law;
International relations
0616: International law
0616: International relations
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Compliance; Democracies; Human rights; Torture; Transition to democracy
Compliance with human rights norms: International efforts to end torture
Brannum, Katherine H.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 59/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780599073128, 0599073128
Peterson, M. J.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.