v1 n3: Baldez on Approving Human Rights Treaties

Signing, Negotiating, Opting Out, and Starting Over: A New Approach to Approval of Human Rights Treaties, by Lisa Baldez

A COMMENTARY ON A. L. COMSTOCK (2021), Committed to Rights: UN Human Rights Treaties and Legal Paths for Commitment and Compliance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press


While much of the research on human rights treaties focuses on ratification, countries can also commit to treaties through signature, accession, and succession. Audrey L. Comstock identifies these four types of approval as distinct “legal commitment paths.” In her forthcoming book, Committed to Rights, Comstock derives thoughtful hypotheses about the ways that each of these options shapes a country’s performance on human rights and subjects them to qualitative and quantitative tests. In this essay, I review each of these paths in turn, evaluating the claims that Comstock makes and illustrating her logic in light of an analogy between approval of human rights treaties and the process of drafting diversity statements in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement.

To download the full PDF, click here:


Lisa Baldez is Professor of Government and Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College and the author of Defying Convention: US Resistance to the UN Treaty on Women’s Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Published by

Chris MacDonald

I'm a philosopher who teaches at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, Canada. Most of my scholarly research is on business ethics and healthcare ethics.

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