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Title: Following the Money: National Economic Self-Interest and Minority Human Rights Compliance in Eurasia
Authors: Wu, Jonathan
Advisors: Flaherty, Martin
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: Under what conditions are national governments most amenable to implementing sensitive, and potentially disagreeable, directives from external institutions? Moreover, as sovereign regimes pursue differing responses to their own domestic crises, how should these supranational institutions evolve to ensure that international norms remain respected and relevant? This thesis seeks to shed light on this broader policy issue by exploring an understudied sub-question: What factors influence substantive national compliance with supranational human rights rulings of tribunals? Even more specifically, what role has national economic-self interest played in catalyzing governmental willingness to comply with adverse minority human rights judgments? Employing a dual-tiered qualitative case study approach, this thesis examines the economic conditions and human rights compliance records of three pairs of Eurasian nations – early adopters (The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland), cosmetic compliers (Romania and Hungary), and institutional outsiders (Turkey and the Russian Federation) – to ascertain the impact that prospective economic benefits can have in modulating regime behavior. Analysis of national European Court of Human Rights compliance records and contemporaneous political discourse, juxtaposed with each individual nation’s relationship to the primary European institutions, creates a standardizing framework for evaluating governmental behavior. Further, as compliance with these particular transnational rulings is, at present, a prerequisite for European Union accession, these judgments serve as indispensable barometers by which to judge national resolve both pre and post-accession. Additionally, in narrowing the research subset to cases concerning minority human rights discrimination, this thesis is able to tangentially examine governmental compliance in the institutionally sensitive areas of national security and illiberal political consolidation. This thesis finds that states tend to safeguard their sovereignty, even as they seek to accede to transnational institutions. Often, then, governments are predisposed to resist adverse directives from outside bodies, particularly in nationally sensitive arenas, like the treatment of domestic minorities. However, targeted and tangible incentives can alter a government’s rational calculus, compelling higher levels of compliance with supranational court rulings. Such incentives are typically financial, rooted in institutional capability to provide economic benefits unachievable without membership. As such, this effective conditionality can manifest in numerous ways, including pre-accession negotiation behavioral stipulations and post-accession financial withholding. Intangible incentivization can further be utilized to secondarily encourage positive conduct, by intrinsically linking continued compliance with global political legitimacy, transnational institutional participation, and investor confidence. This thesis concludes with analyses of the current European incentivization structure and its shortcomings in promoting continued minority human rights compliance. Through a combination of insufficient post-accession conditionality and inadequate intra-community punitive mechanisms, the modern European institutions are ill-equipped to regulate rising illiberalism in a globalized world. This counters the notion that the European Court of Human Rights is especially effective at encouraging systemic reform, much less a “gold standard” safeguard for fundamental rights. While complex avenues exist to hold non-compliant community members accountable, substantial institutional reform conferring enhanced punitive abilities are necessary to restore confidence and respect in the regional system. Moreover, the admission of inadequately vetted member states into community institutions presently undermines regional regulatory efficacy.
Extent: 131 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2016

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