PS: Political Science & Politics


Tortured Relations: Human Rights Abuses and Counterterrorism Cooperation

Emilie M. Hafner-Burtona1 and Jacob N. Shapiroa2

a1 University of California—San Diego

a2 Princeton University

Two big assumptions fuel current mobilization against and policy discussions about the U.S. war on terror and its implications for human rights and international cooperation. First, terrorism creates strong pressures on governments—especially democracies—to restrict human rights. Second, these restrictions are not only immoral and illegal, but also counterproductive to curbing terrorism. If these two assumptions are correct, then democracies face a vicious circle: terrorist attacks provoke a reaction that makes it harder to defeat terrorist organizations.

Emilie Hafner-Burton is a professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego, and director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation. Dr. Hafner-Burton's research examines ways to improve compliance with international law, protections for human rights, and a wide variety of other topics related to law, economics, and regulation. She has published widely on these and other subjects. She can be reached at

Jacob N. Shapiro is an assistant professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University. His primary research interests include political violence, aid, and security policy. His research has been published in International Security, International Studies Quarterly, Security Studies, Foreign Policy, Military Operations Research, and a number of edited volumes. He can be reached at