Civil conflicts inevitably have negative consequences with regards to respect for human rights within affected states. Unfortunately, the violation of human rights often does not end with the conflict. What factors explain variation in state repression in post-civil conflict societies? Can international interventions, both civilian and military, improve human rights in states with a history of conflict? Does the size of the intervention matter? We argue that international interventions, including peacekeeping missions and officially directed foreign aid, can reduce physical integrity abuses. This process occurs by simultaneously increasing protections for civilians while also raising the costs of repression to both government leaders and their agents. Human rights abuses will also decrease when there are legal remedies available to vulnerable populations which are bolstered by a strong judicial system. A robust civil society can also discourage human rights abuses by shedding light on these events and providing human rights education. In line with our theoretical argument, we focus on UN peacekeeping missions, especially those with human rights teams, and officially directed foreign aid for legal and security sector reform and NGOs. Using both a treatment effects approach and a continuous dose–response model, we find much support for the implications of our argument.
This was originally published on SAGE Publications Ltd: Journal of Peace Research: Table of Contents.