International human rights commitments in post-communist regimes. NB! Starts 1.15 pm

What motivates states to ratify international human rights treaties remains an unanswered question in political science. In this seminar Hubert Smekal and Janovský Jozef provide for a new systematic examination of the commitment practices in two post-communist countries: the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Many tentative explanations for the observed variance in ratification patterns of international human rights treaties have been proposed; some are based on intrinsic characteristics of the treaties (the substance of the protected rights and the control mechanism), others are tied to external factors (having originated either from pressure of the international community or in the domestic political system). Yet the empirical evidence supporting the proposed hypotheses remains unsatisfactory.

In the draft paper presented in this seminar, the authors aim to contribute to this discussion by providing a new systematic examination of the commitment practices in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. While both countries have experienced very similar international development, propelled by the same international incentives and constraints, their internal political experience differs significantly. This case selection allows us to focus on how domestic political factors and treaty characteristics interact to determine the commitment behaviour.

The authors focus on two particular research questions. First, building upon an analysis of coalition programmes and government manifestos, they examine whether Czech and Slovak governments claiming to protect certain human rights are more likely to act accordingly and aim to adopt related international human rights commitments. Second, drawing on Tsebelis’s conceptions of institutional veto players and policy change, they assess the impact of various actors in the domestic political arena on the willingness of the states to commit to human rights treaties.

Further, they explore whether the key influence lies within the government, the parliament or the president, all of whom are involved in the ratification process. Answers to the both questions are based on a quantitative analysis of the Czech and Slovak ratification process of 192 human rights treaties and are complemented by a closer look at a few of the most influential cases.

The draft paper is written by Šipulová Katarína , Janovský Jozef  and Smekal Hubert.

The MultiRights seminars are organised by the MultiRights project on the multi-level human rights judiciary. They provide a forum for discussions for researchers from various backgrounds, including law, philosophy and political science. The seminars take place on a regular basis on Tuesdays and are open for all.

Tags: Human Rights
Published Nov. 11, 2014 12:42 PM - Last modified Apr. 18, 2016 1:36 PM