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Human Rights Regimes in IR Theory: The Effects of Power, Interest and Legitimacy on International Norms

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Abstract:

This paper considers the tension between international human rights law and the strength of the international human rights regime on the whole. This paper suggests that human rights represent more than the unintended consequences of international relations that, as Michael Ignatieff suggests, were only made possible because Western militaries had spare capacity and time to do human rights work. While international interest in humanitarian affairs has ostensibly declined after September 11th, the international human rights regime remains intact. As Stephen Krasner notes, conventions, even though they are entered into voluntarily and even though they have no provisions for enforcement, can alter domestic authority structures by introducing external sources of legitimacy. The human rights regime can thus bring states in congruence with international norms. Human rights will continue to play an important role in international relations because of the way in which they constitute political legitimacy and a source of social power for some state actors, particularly middle power states, and for the victims of oppression and brutality. By limiting certain forms and applications of coercive power, human rights will continue to shape state behaviour because they narrow the range by which states can exercise force legitimately.

For draft paper, please email: all01@aber.ac.uk
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Name: International Studies Association
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http://www.isanet.org


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MLA Citation:

Lui, Andrew. "Human Rights Regimes in IR Theory: The Effects of Power, Interest and Legitimacy on International Norms" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Le Centre Sheraton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Mar 17, 2004 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p73544_index.html>

APA Citation:

Lui, A. , 2004-03-17 "Human Rights Regimes in IR Theory: The Effects of Power, Interest and Legitimacy on International Norms" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Le Centre Sheraton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p73544_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper considers the tension between international human rights law and the strength of the international human rights regime on the whole. This paper suggests that human rights represent more than the unintended consequences of international relations that, as Michael Ignatieff suggests, were only made possible because Western militaries had spare capacity and time to do human rights work. While international interest in humanitarian affairs has ostensibly declined after September 11th, the international human rights regime remains intact. As Stephen Krasner notes, conventions, even though they are entered into voluntarily and even though they have no provisions for enforcement, can alter domestic authority structures by introducing external sources of legitimacy. The human rights regime can thus bring states in congruence with international norms. Human rights will continue to play an important role in international relations because of the way in which they constitute political legitimacy and a source of social power for some state actors, particularly middle power states, and for the victims of oppression and brutality. By limiting certain forms and applications of coercive power, human rights will continue to shape state behaviour because they narrow the range by which states can exercise force legitimately.

For draft paper, please email: all01@aber.ac.uk

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