Apparently no general theorizing is allowed. From the new Journal of Politics:
Estimating the Effects of Human Rights Treaties on State Behavior
Daniel W. Hill Jr
Though research suggests that international regimes that coordinate economic and security policy can alter state behavior, research examining the effect of human rights treaties on state behavior has found that these agreements do little to curb repressive practices. However, those studies neglect to account for the fact that several of the state-level characteristics which are known to affect repressive practices also influence the likelihood of a state making a formal commitment to the human rights regime. States that commit and states that do not are likely to have different domestic institutional features. Systematic heterogeneity across ratifiers and nonratifiers makes it difficult to infer the level of repression that would have been observed in a state had it not committed to the treaty in question. This paper employs matching techniques that address this problem and allow for more valid inferences about the effects of human rights treaties on repressive practices. The impact of human rights treaties is examined in the context of three of the five core UN human rights treaties. The results are quite interesting; ratification of the CAT and, to a lesser extent, the ICCPR is associated with reduced respect for physical integrity rights while ratification of the CEDAW has a positive impact on observance of women’s rights. These findings suggest that more treaty-specific theory building is needed.
Ungated pdf here. I'm buried under a pile of exams that need to be graded, so I haven't had a chance to read this yet, but my first thought is: What about the badasses?