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Power, Politicization, and Network Positions: Explaining State Participation in the UPR
The Korean Journal of International Studies 16-3 (December 2018), 335-65
Published online December 31, 2018
© 2018 The Korean Association of International Studies.

Su Hyen Bae [Bio-Data]
Received September 30, 2018; Revised December 13, 2018; Accepted December 18, 2018.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) ensures formal equality among participating member states. However, previous literature emphasizes the interference of state interest and politics in undermining the universal peer evaluation mechanism. In this article, I argue that while the UPR shows certain bias in state behavior for providing recommendations, the UPR otherwise functions according to its purpose of condemning human rights violations. I find that member states’ human rights index scores and the level of democracy correlate with the number of recommendations received and the betweenness centrality measures. First, I apply social network analysis (SNA) on state interaction in the UPR literature enabling inter-network comparisons with international trade relations, military dispute, and alliance relationships. The QAP analyses depict that the UPR network has a low association with the military dispute network and the alliance network. Second, individual level analyses demonstrate that states with higher national capabilities and a greater amount of trade exports are more likely to provide recommendations. Nonetheless, higher human rights index levels lead to more recommendation providing activity while smaller in magnitude. However, the amount of recommendations received by a state suggests that states with low human rights records and low levels of democracy receive more recommendations. Furthermore, the betweenness centrality measures highly correlate with the human rights index and the level of democracy implying that the general standard of human rights influences the degree of state centrality in the UPR network. This study acknowledges the presence of politicization among states in providing recommendations, but also ensures that the UPR is shaming states according to its main purpose in criticizing the human rights violations of non-compliers.
Keywords : universal periodic review, social network analysis, human rights, politicization, betweenness centrality

16-3 (December 2018)