Does counterterrorist legislation hurt human rights practices? A longitudinal cross-national analysis

Eran Shor, Ina Filkobski, Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom, Hayder Alkilabi, William Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, many countries have passed new counterterrorist legislation. One of the common assumptions about such legislation is that it comes with a price: a compromise to practices of human rights. Previous research, looking at a wide range of case studies, suggested that this is indeed the case and that counterterrorist legislation often leads to subsequent repression. However, no large-scale cross-national study has yet assessed this relationship. Relying on a newly assembled database on nation-level counterterrorist legislation for the years 1981-2009, we conduct a cross-national time series analysis of legislation and repression. Our analyses find little evidence for a significant relationships between national counterterrorist legislation and various measures of core human rights in most countries. However, while legislation does not affect repression of physical integrity rights in countries with low and high levels of repression, it is associated with greater state repression in countries with intermediate scores of repression.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)104-121
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Science Research
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Counterterrorism
  • Cross-national
  • Human rights
  • Legislation
  • Longitudinal
  • Repression
  • Terrorism

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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