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Deliberative Capacity Building through International Organizations: The Case of the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights

  • Karolina M. Milewicz and Robert E. Goodin
Abstract

Theories of deliberation, developed largely in the context of domestic politics, are becoming increasingly relevant for international politics. The recently established Universal Periodic Review (UPR) operating under the auspices of the UN’s Human Rights Council is an excellent illustration. Our analysis of responses to its reports and recommendations suggests that the deliberative processes surrounding the UPR do indeed evoke co-operative responses even from countries with poor human rights records. Its highly inclusive, deliberative, repeated-play and peer-to-peer nature can serve as a model for how international organizations more generally can enhance deliberative capacity across the international system.

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Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford (email: karolina.milewicz@politics.ox.ac.uk); School of Philosophy, Australian National University (email: bob.goodin@anu.edu.au). For discussions of these issues, we are particularly grateful to Hilary Charlesworth, John Dryzek, Bob Keohane, Steve Ratner, Roland Rich, Nigel Rodley, Duncan Snidal and our Geneva interviewees, Andrew Clapman (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies), Jean-Claude Vignoli (UPR Info) and Eric Tistounet (Chief of the Human Rights Council Branch, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights). We also thank participants at the Conference on Deliberative Democracy, Ǻbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland; the International Relations Colloquium, DPIR University of Oxford; the Experimental Global Governance Conference at Brown University; and the PluriCourts Centre, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo. For valuable research assistance we thank Léticia Villeneuve. We alone are responsible for the interpretations and conclusions reported herein. Goodin’s work on this article was conducted under ARC Discovery Project DP120103976. Data replication sets are available at http://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/BJPolS and online appendices are available at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0007123415000393. The original data were obtained from http://www.upr-info.org/. All coding information is available in the data file and explained in this article.

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