Document Type



Human rights treaties are the main legal instrument used by the United Nations to advance human rights. While many treaties are ratified by the world, rights violations still happen, especially for women. The purpose of this study is to discover if states obey and follow international human rights law on women’s rights and protect the rights defined in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. This analysis employed a case study methodology that compares four states: Sweden, Latvia, Libya, and the United Arab Emirates and their women’s rights practices. The United Nations Universal Periodic Review process, the ratification of Optional Protocols, and treaty reservations are analyzed to reveal if international law influences state behavior. I found that international law is not a major variable that affects the behavior of a state. Rather, the culture and sovereignty of a state determine if states follow international law requirements. This scholarship is critical because it illuminated that the international community and global governance lack legitimacy and authority over individual states. This calls into question the ability of international law to protect and promote human rights as well as hold states accountable for violating human rights laws.


Political Science

Thesis Comittee

Dr. Inkyoung Kim, Thesis Advisor

Dr. Jordon Barkalow, Committee Member

Dr. Melinda Tarsi, Committee Member

Copyright and Permissions

Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.