We explore why human rights violations take place in the midst of a rebellion. Authoritarian governments may not care for human rights but surprisingly several democratic governments have also condoned such violations. We show that the primary cause of such violations is faulty intelligence. There are two type of defective intelligence that can occur viz., missed alarm and false alarm. We consider each of these cases and determine the optimal human rights standard of the government. We then examine the effect of a decrease in the human rights standard on the probability of quelling the rebellion. In our theoretical model, this effect is indeterminate (i.e. can be positive or negative). We empirically quantify this effect using the case of Armed Forces Special Powers Act in India. Since the probability of quelling the rebellion is not directly observable, we use the magnitude of violence as its indicator. The magnitude of violence should be negatively related to the probability of the government’s success. We find that a lowering of the standard of human rights increases violence (i.e. reduces the chance of quelling the rebellion) and this effect is statistically significant.
European Journal of Operational Research