International Journal of Human Rights 25(4) pp 639-674
This study uses discourse analysis of the critical views expressed in the corpus of United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submissions by civil society organisations (CSOs), in order to explore how the UK, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland governments are responding to their international human rights treaty obligations in the formulation and delivery of social policy. Developed from Hogwood and Peters’ work on the pathology of public policy, the analytical framework investigates CSOs’ critical framings of the disorders, progress and challenges related to social policy-making in the UK. The findings show a raft of shortcomings including a poor monitoring and enforcement, gaps in social protection and discrimination. The original contribution this study is threefold: 1. revealing the nature of prevailing rights violations in the UK; 2. outlining the territorial narratives and contrasts between jurisdictions in the wake of devolution; and 3. showing how the systemic nature of rights violations can be conceptualised using Hogwood and Peters’ theory of public policy making pathologies.