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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Institutional Challenges and Political Costs in the US Failure to Ratify the ICESCR

  • Author(s): Hamidi, Emmanuel
  • et al.

On the international stage, the United States has played an active political role in the drafting process of international human rights treaties that shape both how human rights are framed and enforced. However, the United States has politically struggled to implement these international human rights treaties on a domestic level. Particularly, the United States government has carried structural and political tension preventing its embrace of the ICESCR. The following analysis will draw upon existing literature of the US relationship with the ICESCR and utilize Beth Simmon’s theory of treaty implementation as a framework to explain why the US has failed to ratify this central international human rights treaty. The investigation will find, by accounting for institutional hurdle, cultural preferences, and political will, that the politicization of economic rights in the US leads to favoring obstruction and isolationism in terms of treaty implementation, particularly when these deal with positive, economic rights.

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