Penn Law’s Beth Simmons on improving the UN Human Rights Treaty

Self-reporting contributes to human rights improvements, says Simmons in a paper she co-authored on recommendations to inform the review of the UN Human Rights Treaty.

Based on their research that identified four mechanisms through which self-reporting can contribute to human rights improvements, Penn Law School Professor Beth A. Simmons and University of Minnesota Law School Professor Cosette D. Creamer have published “The Proof is in the Process: Self-Reporting Under International Human Rights Treaties” in the January 2020 issue of the American Journal of International Law

The United Nations Palace entry with the flags of the member countries.

Simmons is a professor of politics and business ethics at Penn Law, and Creamer is an assistant professor of political science and law at the University of Minnesota. The scholars’ article offers evidence-based policy recommendations to inform the General Assembly’s 2020 review of the international human rights treaty system. This system consists of a number of treaty bodies—or independent committees— that governments established to monitor compliance with their obligations under a broad range of human rights treaties.

Simmons’ and Creamer’s groundbreaking article begins where their prior research left off. In previous articles, they found that the more frequently states engage with the reporting process and the human rights treaty bodies, the better they perform on relevant indicators of rights outcomes.

The authors explore four mechanisms they suggest contribute to human rights improvements—elite socialization, learning and capacity building, domestic mobilization, and law development—in relation to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Convention Against Torture, and Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Read more at Penn Law News.