The Power of the Pen: Human Rights Ombudsmen and Personal Integrity Violations in Latin America, 1982-2006.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recent scholarship has focused on the effects of institutional design and constitutional provisions on human rights protections. Democratic institutions, like other manifestations of credible commitment to human rights, seem to play a role in human rights provisions across the world. Yet, there is still a great deal that we do not know about domestic institutions like the human rights ombudsman, an institution created specifically to protect human rights, on human rights provisions. We conduct an examination of the effects of the human rights ombudsman (which may go by the name Defensor del Pueblo, Procurador de Derechos Humanos, or Comisionado Nacional de Derechos Humanos), on personal integrity violations across Latin America, 1982–2006. We find evidence that this understudied institution had significant and positive impacts on reducing such violations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-164
Number of pages22
JournalHuman Rights Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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