Respect for human rights represents self-imposed restraints on the behavior of a government. These limits signify both a domestic norm and a state that has decided to settle political disputes through nonviolent methods. When these governments interact in the international system, we suspect that their basic norms of behavior will remain and generate relatively peaceful interactions. We test this contention on pairs of all states from 1980 to 2001 and find that joint respect for human rights decreases the probability of conflict. This relationship is maintained even when one controls for the effect of democracy and its influence on the human rights record of states.
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