Getting to Rights: Treaty Ratification, Constitutional Convergence, and Human Rights Practice

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Getting to Rights: Treaty Ratification, Constitutional Convergence, and Human Rights Practice

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Title: Getting to Rights: Treaty Ratification, Constitutional Convergence, and Human Rights Practice
Author: Elkins, Zachary; Ginsburg, Tom; Simmons, Beth Ann

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Elkins, Zachary, Tom Ginsburg, and Beth Ann Simmons. 2013. Getting to rights: Treaty ratification, constitutional convergence, and human rights practice. Harvard International Law Journal 54(1): 61-95.
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Abstract: This Article examines the adoption of rights in national constitutions in the post-World War II period in light of claims of global convergence. Using a comprehensive database on the contents of the world’s constitutions, we observe a qualified convergence on the content of rights. Nearly every single right has increased in prevalence since its introduction, but very few are close to universal. We show that international rights documents, starting with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, have shaped the rights menu of national constitutions in powerful ways. These covenants appear to coordinate the behavior of domestic drafters, whether or not the drafters’ countries are legally committed to the agreements (though commitment enhances the effect). Our particular focus is on the all-important International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, whose ratification inclines countries towards rights they, apparently, would not otherwise adopt. This finding confirms the complementary relationship between treaty ratification and domestic constitutional norms, and suggests that one important channel of treaty efficacy may be through domestic constitutions.
Published Version: http://www.harvardilj.org/2013/03/getting-to-rights-treaty-ratification-constitutional-convergence-and-human-rights-practice/
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:10482579
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