Human Rights

You Scratch My Back and I Scratch Yours

What motivates authoritarian states to participate in naming and shaming behaviors on human rights? The Universal Periodic Review is a unique process that requires all UN members to participate in peer review on human rights issues and has already finished its third cycle with active participation from all members since 2008. In this paper, we argue that authoritarian states use the peer review process as a means of legitimation. We expect the authoritarian states to be more lenient towards other authoritarian regimes to increase their legitimacy while being stricter towards democratic counterparts on critical issues to their regime stability. We test our expectations using a large-N sample of dyads in which we compare the peer reviews of the UPR between 2008 and 2019 with different dyads of democracies and authoritarian regimes.