The human rights and security relationship and the norm implementing dynamics of the Arms Trade Treaty

  • Andrea Delgado

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Human rights and security, are frequently managed as detached concepts. This thesis unites them in a relationship that implies that there has always been an underlying association between keeping humans safe whilst securing their space through the use of force. International norms, like the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), have this human rights and security relationship in their core. Theoretically, I stem from a constructivist stance that cross-borders with the English School and adds to the growing literature on non-state actors that seek to improve arms control and to inflict change in the global governance of international humanitarian law. By deconstructing and reconstructing through a genealogical constitutive framework of analysis of the relationship, I argue that the actors and actions of the ATT implementation demonstrate that the relationship is constructed by a complex nexus of moral and material interests.

I analyse three case studies: Control Arms-ATT Monitor, an NGO pushing for Treaty fulfilment; the UK, as a large arms exporter being held accountable by an independent NGO for apparent failure to implement the Treaty; and Norway, a small arms exporting state intertwined with diverse actors to achieve Treaty implementation. Empirically, I claim that the norm implementation dynamics of the Treaty expose a human rights and security relationship that reflects the constant change and strains amongst its actors, between morality and materialism and between human rights and security. I introduce norm implementers as key actors that can go beyond the typical state and non-state limits exposing their semi-permeated boundaries and that can also operate within the state. I demonstrate the multilayer realm where the human rights and security relationship develops and how its construction implies material survival, false use of morality and giving rights whilst controlling the means of violence.
Date of Award17 Feb 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorDavid Galbreath (Supervisor) & Timo Kivimaki (Supervisor)


  • Arms Trade Treaty
  • Norm implementation
  • Human Rights
  • Security

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