Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



International Relations

First Advisor

Jacqueline Braveboy-Wagner


Human rights abuses occur regularly around the world, affecting millions of people each year. In the post-World War II era, a human rights movement helped create regional and international human rights regimes. This thesis tries to assess the impact of international human rights pressure on state compliance with international human rights norms and conventions. In investigating the impact of human rights pressure on states, I hypothesize that certain conditions are helpful. The first condition is the absence of a strong public opinion and/or cultural sentiment against what the pressuring entities are trying to achieve. The second condition is dependency: dependent countries are more vulnerable to economic and military threats, and thus are more likely to comply with international pressures. To support this hypothesis, I analyze human rights situations in one dependent country, the Dominican Republic; and a rising power, China. This thesis concludes that indeed, a strong public opinion and/or cultural sentiment militate against what the pressuring entities are trying to achieve. Thus, international human rights campaigns need domestic support as Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink’ s seminal book Activists Beyond Borders notes. Contrary to my assumption that small dependent states are more susceptible to international human rights pressure, dependency did not play a significant role in the case studied.



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