Exploring the Universe of UN Human Rights Agreements

Jana von Stein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The international human rights (HR) regime is vast and complex. Yet, most of what we know about it draws from a handful of agreements, often chosen for their prominence and/or perceived centrality to the HR project. This article argues that HR research needs to expand its scope to encompass all agreements in this realm, and presents a new data resource that enables scholars to accomplish that goal. Using the data, I demonstrate that the literature has painted an unrepresentative portrait of HR agreements. In addition to making comprehensive analysis possible, the database moves the literature forward by (1) taking into account important legal distinctions in the process of making treaties binding, (2) providing information on treaty design, and (3) considering relationships between agreements. I present several applications and discuss future areas of inquiry. Network analysis and the linking of treaty participation to HR outcomes are two notable areas of interest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)871-899
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


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