International human rights pressure has been applied to numerous states with varying results. In Conflict and Compliance, Sonia Cardenas examines responses to such pressure and challenges conventional views of the reasons states do—or do not—comply with international law. Data from disparate bodies of research suggest that more pressure to comply with human rights standards is not necessarily more effective and that international policies are more efficient when they target the root causes of state oppression.
Cardenas surveys a broad array of evidence to support these conclusions, including Latin American cases that incorporate recent important declassified materials, a statistical analysis of all the countries in the world, and a set of secondary cases from Eastern Europe, South Africa, China, and Cuba. The views of human rights skeptics and optimists are surveyed to illustrate how state rhetoric and behavior can be interpreted differently depending on one's perspective.
Theoretically and methodologically sophisticated, Conflict and Compliance paints a new picture of the complex dynamics at work when states face competing pressures to comply with and violate international human rights norms.