The Strength of Our Commitments


Book

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The Strength of Our Commitments: A study of national human rights institutions in Europe and beyond


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Author


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Under review

The Strength of Our Commitments: A study of national human rights institutions in Europe and beyond is a book currently under review.


The book argues that national human rights institutions can remain strong and effective even in increasingly hostile contexts, but this does not happen for the reasons most commentators would expect. Despite a decrease in support for human rights around the world, the independent national bodies mandated to promote and protect human rights have grown stronger in the past two decades.


The book offers an analysis of institutional strength and effectiveness in the case of national human rights institutions in greater Europe as well as at the global level, based on a large body of original qualitative and quantitative data. Qualitative data were collected

from interviews with over 90 staff members working at human rights institutions in eight European countries and at European Union institutions in Brussels and Vienna. Interviews inform detailed case studies of institutions in eight Western and Eastern European countries, assessing their strength and effectiveness. The qualitative case analysis is complemented by a discussion of broader regional and global trends in institutional strength and effectiveness. The quantitative analysis consists of two main stages – regional and global. The former stage proposes an analysis building on a first original data set for 50 countries in Europe and its Neighbourhood during 1994-2017. The latter analysis consists of a second original data set at the global level, including data on the strength and of national human rights institutions in 180 states and on the institutions’ impact on countries’ human rights performance.


Explaining Institutional Strength: The case of national human rights institutions in Europe and its Neighbourhood


Journal Article

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Explaining Institutional Strength: The case of national human rights institutions in Europe

and its Neighbourhood


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Author


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2019

Explaining institutional strength: the case of national human rights institutions in Europe and its Neighbourhood is an original article published in the Journal of European Public Policy.


National human rights institutions have spread rapidly across Europe and its Neighbourhood consolidating their powers to protect human rights. Yet, we know little about the causes for change in the strength of national human rights institutions over time. I propose an analysis of institutional strength along two dimensions of safeguards – durability and enforcement – based on original data for 50 states. We illustrate the quantitative analysis with two case studies – Hungary and Poland. We find that European Union membership conditionality is the strongest predictor of increased strength in national human rights institutions. Additionally, we find evidence of democratic ‘lock-in’, as newly democratized states seek to increase the durability of their institutions. The influence of the United Nations and the European Union, through state networks, increases the strength of national human rights institutions, particularly their durability. The Council of Europe has a positive impact on the institutional safeguards for enforcement.


Peace Agreements and the Institutionalisation of Human Rights – a multi-level analysis


Journal Article

— PROJECT NAME

Peace Agreements and the Institutionalisation of Human Rights – a multi-level analysis


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Co-author, with

Kathryn Nash


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2019

Peace Agreements and the Institutionalisation of Human Rights – a multi-level analysis is an original article published in The International Journal of Human Rights.


Parties to peace agreements have long considered human rights as central to the consolidation of peace and democracy in post-conflict settings. Yet, understanding of the formal institutional mechanisms that peace processes put in place to promote and protect human rights is rather limited. This article informs this gap using an original multi-level analysis of 126 peace agreements and three main categories of institutions involved in securing human rights implementation after conflict – international and regional institutions for promoting and protecting rights, as well as national human rights ombudsmen and commissions. We find that peace agreements localise human rights implementation after the end of conflict, relying more on national human rights institutions than international ones to monitor and implement human rights domestically as well as advise governments on the ratification of international human rights treaties and assist national executives with processes of transition away from conflict and toward liberal democracy. While regional and international institutions like the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe are included in some peace agreements, their roles are much more limited and nearly exclusively aimed at offering support to new and existing national human rights commissions. We illustrate our analysis with two case studies of peace agreements in Cambodia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.



Human Rights Networks and Regulatory Stewardship: An analysis of a multi-

level network of human rights commissions in the United Kingdom


Journal Article

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Human Rights Networks and Regulatory Stewardship


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Author


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2018

Human Rights Networks and Regulatory Stewardship: An analysis of a multi-level network of human rights commissions in the United Kingdom is an original article published in the British Journal of Politics and International Relations.


Regulatory networks are increasingly important actors in multi-level systems of human rights governance. Yet we know little about the role that domestic networks play as intermediaries or about the strategies they use to integrate sub-national human rights institutions to ensure compliance at the local level. We draw on the theoretical literature on orchestration to conceptualise network governance and propose a new intermediary for the human rights governance, the multi-level network, which operates inside one country. We apply this theoretical model to the case of a multi-level network operating at the domestic level in the United Kingdom – Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Equality and Human Rights Commission, and Scottish Human Rights Commission. We discuss how the three commissions use the tools of managerial stewardship to facilitate intra-network collaboration and how they engage in hierarchical stewardship to gain access to international networks and take on leadership role globally and regionally.