International Differences in Support for Human Rights
International differences in support for human rights are reviewed. The first of two sections reviews variations in the strength of ratification of UN human rights treaties, followed by an examination of the commonalities and relative strengths among the five regional human rights systems. This review indicates that internationally the strongest human rights support is found in Europe and the Americas, with weaker support in Africa, followed by still weaker support in the Arab Union and Southeast Asia. The second section reviews variations in responses to public opinion polls on a number of civil and economic rights. A strong coherence in support for different kinds of rights was found, and between a nation’s public support for human rights and the number of UN human rights conventions a nation has ratified. U.S. public support for human rights is compared to international averages. Finally, two suggestions are offered for strengthening support for human rights.