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Winner of the 2010 Best Book of the Year Award, International Studies Association! Beth Simmons argues that international human rights law has made a positive contribution to the realization of human rights in much of the world. Although governments sometimes ratify human rights treaties, gambling that they will experience little pressure to comply with them, this is not typically the case. Focusing on rights stakeholders rather than the United Nations or state pressure, Beth Simmons demonstrates through a combination of statistical analyses and case studies that the ratification of treaties leads to better rights practices on average. By several measures, civil and political rights, women's rights, a right not to be tortured in government detention, and children's rights improve, especially in the very large heterogeneous set of countries that are neither stable autocracies nor stable democracies. Simmons argues that international human rights law should get more practical and rhetorical support from the international community as a supplement to broader efforts to address conflict, development, and democratization.
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Beth Simmons demonstrates through a combination of statistical analysis and case studies that the ratification of treaties generally leads to better human rights practices. She argues that international human rights law should get more practical and rhetorical support from the international community as a supplement to broader efforts to address conflict, development, and democratization.About the Author:
Beth Simmons is Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs and Director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard in the Department of Government and has taught international relations, international law, and international political economy at Duke University, the University of California at Berkeley, and Harvard. Her book Who Adjusts? Domestic Sources of Foreign Economic Policy During the Interwar Years, 1924-1939, was recognized by the American Political Science Association in 1995 as the best book published in 1994 in government, politics, or international relations. She has worked at the International Monetary Fund with the support of a Council on Foreign Relations Fellowship (1995-6), has spent a year as a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace (1996-7), spent a year in residence at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (2002-3), and is currently a Fellow at the Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice at New York University. Her new book is entitled Mobilizing for Human Rights: International Law in Domestic Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2009). Simmons was elected in April 2009 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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