How might the connections between anthropology and international law become more dynamic? I reflect upon this question in this essay using ethnographic insights from the documentary cycles of the UN Human Rights Committee, the treaty body monitoring state compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Building on recent anthropological scholarship on international organizations, bureaucracy, and documents, this essay discusses the knowledge practices and legal technicalities that characterize the international community of human rights lawyers. In particular, I reflect on the legal fiction of difference governing UN treaty bodies’ operations and the empirical sameness of participants in different formal categories in the shared community of practice of human rights lawyers. I conclude by suggesting that anthropological insights could significantly enrich our shared understanding of the diverse and subtle effects of human rights monitoring. Simultaneously such insights may offer rejuvenated inspiration for those international lawyers tackling a sense of losing faith in their discipline, both as an influential tool of world improvement and an invigorating intellectual tradition.