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The Impact of International Human Rights Law on Reducing Human Rights Violations by Law Enforcement in the United States


Background of the Study

In recent years, the U.S. has grappled with a notable prevalence of human rights violations perpetrated by law enforcement agencies (Kiyani, 2022). Instances of arbitrary use of force, discriminatory practices, and gross violations of individual liberties have sparked public outcry and raised concerns about the accountability and oversight of law enforcement entities (Stohl et al., 2022). According to the United States Department of Justice (2021), an arrestee’s civil rights were violated by a police officer who was found guilty of employing excessive force. Simultaneously, it is imperative to contextualize these domestic challenges within the broader framework of laws guaranteeing fundamental human rights internationally. These laws encompass principles and standards developed by the global community to safeguard all individuals’ inherent dignity and fundamental freedoms (Smith, 2022). Understanding and applying these principles becomes crucial, as it introduces a transnational perspective that could influence domestic policies and practices.

Statement of the Problem

The core problem in this dissertation is the persisting challenge of infringement of rights by law enforcement in the United States. This issue necessitates a thorough examination, as it raises fundamental questions about upholding individual rights within the nation’s law enforcement structures. The consistent reports of abuses and limited accountability measures underscore the need for an in-depth analysis of the factors contributing to these violations and potential avenues for redress (Bowling et al., 2004). This research specifically aims to address the effects of international human rights law (IHRL) on mitigating violations by law enforcement in the U.S. By delving into this study, it seeks to contribute to the ongoing developments in form and policy on human rights within the national context and explore avenues for improvement. Within this framework, the dissertation aims to assess the effectiveness of jus cogens influencing and shaping law enforcement practices at the domestic level.

Purpose of the Study

General Objective

This dissertation’s primary objective is to conduct a thorough analysis of the relationship between IHRL and American law enforcement agencies’ actions.

Specific Objectives

  1. Investigate the extent to which IHRL influences the behavior and practices of law enforcement entities in the U.S.
  2. Identify the challenges and limitations of implementing jus cogens within the national law enforcement framework.
  3. Assess the potential for IHLR to catalyze reducing undue interference with fundamental human rights by law enforcement in the United States.

Research Questions or Hypotheses

To guide this investigation, the following will be explored:

Research Questions:

  1. How do various law enforcement agencies differ in their interaction with IHRL?
  2. What are the primary challenges in integrating jus cogens into national law enforcement practices?
  3. Are there identifiable patterns or variations in law enforcement agencies human rights abuses that can be attributable to the influence of universal human rights law?
  4. What are some of the effective measures for encouraging and raising awareness among law enforcement personnel to adhere to IHRL?


  1. Various law enforcement agencies significantly differ in the administration of awareness and enforcement of IHRL.
  2. The challenges of implementing jus cogens in U.S. law enforcement practices significantly vary in encompassing legal, cultural, and institutional factors.
  3. Variations in the degree to which international human rights standards are integrated correspond with variances in the occurrence and form of human rights abuses committed by law enforcement.
  4. Increased awareness and adherence to IHRL among law enforcement personnel correlate with reducing human rights interference.

Significance of the Study

This study has important and practical implications for academic, social justice advocates and policymakers. By scrutinizing the impact of IHRL on U.S. law enforcement, the study contributes substantially to existing knowledge, the research adds to the academic discourse on the application and effectiveness of IHRL in a domestic law enforcement context, contributing to a more nuanced understanding of this complex interplay. Additionally, for policymakers, the findings inform policies to align domestic law enforcement practices with the standards set by the global community. The study has the potential to serve as a resource for human rights advocates and organizations seeking evidence-based strategies to address and rectify instances of human rights infringement by law enforcement in the U.S


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