National politics and resort to the European commission on human rights

Elizabeth Heger Boyle, Melissa Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


An interesting irony of human rights is that the nation-states that are most susceptible to claims of human rights abuses may not be the most repressive nation-states. Pursuing this modern paradox, the purpose of this research is to determine the factors affecting the number of human rights claims brought by citizens in the international arena. We base our theory on an extension of theories of state strength and test it using a pooled time-series analysis of petitions filed with the European Commission on Human Rights between 1976 and 1993. We find that polity strength, measured through government openness to political minorities and participation in nongovernmental organizations, is positively linked to claims-making. In contrast, a state's tendency to act internationally, represented through participation in international governmental organizations, had a negative effect on the number of claims to the European Commission on Human Rights. Although levels of human rights abuse were positively associated with claims, other factors relating to political organization were equally or more important.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-344
Number of pages24
JournalLaw and Society Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

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