This chapter reviews scholarly research on international human rights law, focusing on systematic studies that are based on historical statistics and carried out by social scientists. The systematic, scholarly study of international human rights law can be grouped into two main categories. First are studies on the process of international law, such as on how judges in human rights tribunals make decisions. Second are studies that look for relationships between the presence of law (and laws of different types) and actual changes in human behavior. The chapter concentrates on the second category of research and highlights its main weaknesses. It also discusses some of the findings of statistical research regarding civil and political rights as well as economic, social, and cultural rights. Finally, it examines the mechanisms of influence of the international human rights legal system.
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