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HISTORY OF THE RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS

International human rights law:


International human rights law refers to the body of international law designed to promote and
protect human rights at the international, regional and domestic levels. As a form of international law,
international human rights law is primarily made up of treaties, agreements between states intended to
have binding legal effect between the parties that have agreed to them; and customary international law,
rules of law derived from the consistent conduct of states acting out of the belief that the law required
them to act that way. Other international human rights instruments while not legally binding contribute
to the implementation, understanding and development of international human rights law and have been
recognized as a source of political obligation.
Enforcement of international human rights law can occur on either a domestic, regional or international
level. States that ratify human rights treaties commit themselves to respecting those rights and ensuring
that their domestic law is compatible with international legislation. When Domestic Law fails to provide
a remedy for human rights abuses parties may be able to resort to regional or international mechanisms
for enforcing human rights.
International Human rights law is closely related to, but distinct from international humanitarian law.
Similar, because the substantive norms they contain are often similar or related for example both
provide a protection from torture. Distinct because they are regulated by legally distinct frameworks
and usually operate in different contexts and regulate different relationships. Generally, human rights are
understood to regulate the relationship between states and individuals in the context of ordinary life,
while humanitarian law regulates the actions of a belligerent state and those parties it comes into
contact with, both hostile and neutral, within the context of an armed conflict.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_human_rights_law)

Definition

INTERNATIONAL
HUMANITARIAN LAW

INTERNATIONAL HUMAN
RIGHTS LAW

IHL is a set of international rules,


established by treaty or custom, which
are specifically intended to solve
humanitarian problems directly arising
from international or non-international
armed conflicts. It protects persons and
property that are, or may be, affected
by an armed conflict and limits the rights
of the parties to a conflict to use
methods and means of warfare of their
choice.

IHRL is a set of international


rules, established by treaty or
custom, on the basis of which
individuals and groups can
expect and/or claim certain
behavior or benefits from
governments. Human rights are
inherent entitlements which
belong to every person as a
consequence of being human.
Numerous non-treaty based
principles and guidelines ("soft
law") also belong to the body of
international human
rights standards.
IHRL main treaty sources are
the International Covenants on
Civil and Political Rights and on
Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights (1966), as well as

IHL main treaty sources applicable in


international armed conflict are the four
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their
Additional Protocol I of 1977. The main
treaty sources applicable in non-

international armed conflict are article 3 Conventions on Genocide


common to the Geneva Conventions (1948), Racial Discrimination
Main Treaty Sources
and Additional Protocol II of 1977.
(1965), Discrimination Against
Women (1979), Torture (1984)
and Rights of the Child
(1989). The main regional
instruments are the European
Convention for the Protection of
Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms (1950), the American
Declaration of the Rights and
Duties of Man (1948) and
Convention on Human Rights
(1969), and the African Charter
on Human and Peoples' Rights
(1981).
IHL is applicable in times of armed In principle, IHRL applies at all
conflict, whether international or non- times, i.e. both in peacetime and
international. International conflicts are in situations of armed conflict.
wars involving two or more states, and However, some IHRL
wars of liberation, regardless of whether treaties permit governments to
a declaration of war has been made or derogate from certain rights in
whether the parties involved recognize situations of public emergency
that there is a state of war.
threatening the life of the nation.
When
are
they Non-international armed conflicts are Derogations must, however, be
applicable?
those in which government forces are proportional to the crisis at
fighting against armed insurgents, or hand, must not be introduced on
rebel groups are fighting among a discriminatory basis and must
themselves. Because IHL deals with an not contravene other rules of
exceptional situation armed conflict international law including
no derogations whatsoever from its rules of IHL.
provisions are permitted.
Certain human rights are never
derogable. Among them are the
right to life, prohibition of
torture or cruel, inhuman or
degrading
treatment
or
punishment,
prohibition
of
slavery and servitude and the
prohibition
of
retroactive
criminal laws.
IHL binds all actors to an armed conflict: IHRL lays down rules binding
in international conflicts it must be governments in their relations
Who is bound by observed by the states involved, with individuals. While there is a
whereas in internal conflict it binds the growing body of opinion
these bodies of law?
government, as well the groups fighting according to which non-state
against it or among them. Thus, IHL lays actors particularly if they
down rules that are applicable to both exercise
government-like
state and non-state actors.
functions must also be
expected to respect human

Who is protected?

rights norms, the issue remains


unsettled.
IHL aims to protect persons who do IHRL, being tailored primarily for
not, or are no longer taking part in peacetime, applies to all persons.
hostilities. Applicable in international
armed conflicts, the Geneva
Conventions deal with the treatment of
the wounded and sick in the armed
forces in the field (Convention I),
wounded, sick and shipwrecked
members of the armed forces at sea
(Convention II), prisoners of war
(Convention III) and civilian persons
(Convention IV). Civilian persons
include internally displaced persons,
women, children, refugees, stateless
persons, journalists and other categories
of individuals (Convention IV and
Protocol I).
SOURCE:
http://www.ehl.icrc.org
/images/resources/
pdf/ihl_and_ihrl.pdf

Human rights:
Human rights are the rights a person has simply because he or she is a human being.

the recognition and respect of peoples dignity


a set of moral and legal guidelines that promote and protect a recognition of our values, our
identity and ability to ensure an adequate standard of living
the basic standards by which we can identify and measure inequality and fairness
those
rights
associated
with
the
Universal
Declaration
of
Human
Rights. (http://www.hreoc.gov.au/education/hr_explained/1_defining.html)
Human rights are held by all persons equally, universally, and forever.
Inalienable: cannot be transferred from one person to another. (liberty or speech)
Indivisible: "incapable of being divided, in reality or thought"
interdependent: all human rights are part of a complementary framework. For example, your
ability to participate in your government is directly affected by your right to express yourself, to
get an education, and even to obtain the necessities of life.
Another definition for human rights is those basic standards without which people cannot live in
dignity. To violate someones human rights is to treat that person as though she or he were not
a human being. To advocate human rights is to demand that the human dignity of all people be
respected.
In claiming these human rights, everyone also accepts the responsibility not to infringe on the
rights of others and to support those whose rights are abused or denied.

In modern international law of human rights, individuals are protected without regards to their status as
nationals or aliens.

HISTORY OF HUMAN RIGHTS


The Cyrus Cylinder (539 B.C.)
In 539 B.C., the armies of Cyrus the Great, the first king of ancient Persia, conquered the city of
Babylon. But it was his next actions that marked a major advance for Man. He freed the slaves, declared
that all people had the right to choose their own religion, and established racial equality. These and
other decrees were recorded on a baked-clay cylinder in the Akkadian language with cuneiform script.
Known today as the Cyrus Cylinder, this ancient record has now been recognized as the worlds first
charter of human rights. It is translated into all six official languages of the United Nations and its
provisions parallel the first four Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Spread of Human Rights
From Babylon, the idea of human rights spread quickly to India, Greece and eventually Rome. There the
concept of natural law arose, in observation of the fact that people tended to follow certain unwritten
laws in the course of life, and Roman law was based on rational ideas derived from the nature of things.
The Magna Carta (1215)
The Magna Carta, or Great Charter, was arguably the most significant early influence on the extensive
historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law today in the English-speaking world.
In 1215, after King John of England violated a number of ancient laws and customs by which England had
been governed, his subjects forced him to sign the Magna Carta, which enumerates what later came to
be thought of as human rights. Among them was the right of the church to be free from governmental
interference, the rights of all free citizens to own and inherit property and to be protected from
excessive taxes. It established the right of widows who owned property to choose not to remarry, and
established principles of due process and equality before the law. It also contained provisions forbidding
bribery and official misconduct.
Widely viewed as one of the most important legal documents in the development of modern
democracy, the Magna Carta was a crucial turning point in the struggle to establish freedom.
Petition of Right (1628)
The next recorded milestone in the development of human rights was the Petition of Right, produced in
1628 by the English Parliament and sent to Charles I as a statement of civil liberties. Refusal by
Parliament to finance the kings unpopular foreign policy had caused his government to exact forced
loans and to quarter troops in subjects houses as an economy measure. Arbitrary arrest and
imprisonment for opposing these policies had produced in Parliament a violent hostility to Charles and
to George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham. The Petition of Right, initiated by Sir Edward Coke, was
based upon earlier statutes and charters and asserted four principles: (1) No taxes may be levied
without consent of Parliament, (2) No subject may be imprisoned without cause shown (reaffirmation of
the right of habeas corpus), (3) No soldiers may be quartered upon the citizenry, and (4) Martial law
may not be used in time of peace.
The Constitution of the United States of America (1787) and Bill of Rights (1791)

Written during the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia, the Constitution of the United States of America is
the fundamental law of the US federal system of government and the landmark document of the
Western world. It is the oldest written national constitution in use and defines the principal organs of
government and their jurisdictions and the basic rights of citizens.

The first ten amendments to the Constitutionthe Bill of Rightscame into effect on December 15,
1791, limiting the powers of the federal government of the United States and protecting the rights of all
citizens, residents and visitors in American territory.
The Bill of Rights protects freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, the
freedom of assembly and the freedom to petition. It also prohibits unreasonable search and seizure,
cruel and unusual punishment and compelled self-incrimination. Among the legal protections it affords,
the Bill of Rights prohibits Congress from making any law respecting establishment of religion and
prohibits the federal government from depriving any person of life, liberty or property without due
process of law. In federal criminal cases it requires indictment by a grand jury for any capital offense, or
infamous crime, guarantees a speedy public trial with an impartial jury in the district in which the crime
occurred, and prohibits double jeopardy.
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789)
In 1789 the people of France brought about the abolishment of the absolute monarchy and set the stage
for the establishment of the first French Republic. Just six weeks after the storming of the Bastille, and
barely three weeks after the abolition of feudalism, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the
Citizen (French: La Dclaration des Droits de lHomme et du Citoyen) was adopted by the National
Constituent Assembly as the first step toward writing a constitution for the Republic of France.
The Declaration proclaims that all citizens are to be guaranteed the rights of liberty, property, security,
and resistance to oppression. It argues that the need for law derives from the fact that ...the exercise
of the natural rights of each man has only those borders which assure other members of the society the
enjoyment of these same rights. Thus, the Declaration sees law as an expression of the general will,
intended to promote this equality of rights and to forbid only actions harmful to the society.
The First Geneva Convention (1864)

In 1864, sixteen European countries and several American states attended a conference in Geneva, at
the invitation of the Swiss Federal Council, on the initiative of the Geneva Committee. The diplomatic
conference was held for the purpose of adopting a convention for the treatment of wounded soldiers in
combat.
The main principles laid down in the Convention and maintained by the later Geneva Conventions
provided for the obligation to extend care without discrimination to wounded and sick military
personnel and respect for and marking of medical personnel transports and equipment with the
distinctive sign of the red cross on a white background.
The League of Nations (1920)
The Covenant of the League of Nations, the treaty that in 1920 established the League and served as its
constitution, contained no general provisions dealing with human rights. The notion that human rights
should be internationally protected had not yet gained acceptance by community of nations, nor was it
seriously contemplated by those who drafted that treaty, despite efforts by Japan to have the principle of
equality and non-discrimination included in the text. The Covenant did, however, contain two provisions
(Articles 23 and 23) that bear on the development of international human rights law. The League also
played an important role in helping with the implementation of post-World War I treaties for the
protection of minorities.
I. The Mandates System
Article 22 of the Covenant established the Mandates System of the League. To those colonies and
territories which as a consequence of the late war have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the States

which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves
under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, there should be applied the principle that the
well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilization and that securities for the
forming of this trust should be embodied in this Covenant.
II. International Labor Standards
Article 23 of the League of Nations Covenant concerned human rights in that it dealt, inter alia, with
questions relating to the fair and humane conditions of labour for men, women and children.
Subject to and in accordance with the provisions of international conventions existing or hereafter to be
agreed upon, the Members of the League:
(a) will endeavor to secure and maintain fair and humane conditions of labour for men, women, and
children, both in their own countries and in all countries to which their commercial and industrial
relations extend, and for that purpose will establish and maintain the necessary international
organizations;
(b) Undertake to secure just treatment of the native inhabitants of territories under their control;
(c) Will entrust the League with the general supervision over the execution of agreements with regard
to the traffic in women and children, and the traffic in opium and other dangerous drugs;
(d) Will entrust the League with the general supervision of the trade in arms and ammunition with the
countries in which the control of this traffic is necessary in the common interest;
(e) Will make provision to secure and maintain freedom of communications and of transit and equitable
treatment for the commerce of all Members of the League. In this connection, the special necessities of
the regions devastated during the war of 1914-1918 shall be borne in mind;
(f) Will endeavor to take steps in matters of international concern for the prevention and control of
disease.
The United Nations (1945)

World War II had raged from 1939 to 1945, and as the end drew near, cities throughout Europe and
Asia lay in smoldering ruins. Millions of people were dead, millions more were homeless or starving.
Russian forces were closing in on the remnants of German resistance in Germanys bombed-out capital
of Berlin. In the Pacific, US Marines were still battling entrenched Japanese forces on such islands as
Okinawa.
In April 1945, delegates from fifty countries met in San Francisco full of optimism and hope. The goal of
the United Nations Conference on International Organization was to fashion an international body to
promote peace and prevent future wars. The ideals of the organization were stated in the preamble to
its proposed charter: We the peoples of the United Nations are determined to save succeeding
generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to
mankind.
The Charter of the new United Nations organization went into effect on October 24, 1945, a date that
is celebrated each year as United Nations Day.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

By 1948, the United Nations new Human Rights Commission had captured the worlds attention.
Under the dynamic chairmanship of Eleanor RooseveltPresident Franklin Roosevelts widow, a human
rights champion in her own right and the United States delegate to the UNthe Commission set out to

draft the document that became the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Roosevelt, credited with its
inspiration, referred to the Declaration as the international Magna Carta for all mankind. It was adopted
by the United Nations on December 10, 1948.
In its preamble and in Article 1, the Declaration unequivocally proclaims the inherent rights of all human
beings: Disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged
the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of
speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the
common people...All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
The Member States of the United Nations pledged to work together to promote the thirty Articles of
human rights that, for the first time in history, had been assembled and codified into a single document.
In consequence, many of these rights, in various forms, are today part of the constitutional laws of
democratic nations.
State Responsibility for Injury to Aliens
Traditional international law recognized very early that states had an obligation to treat foreign nationals
in a manner that states had an obligation to treat foreign nationals in a manner that conformed to
certain minimum standards of civilization or justice. This obligation was deemed to be owed to the state
of the individuals nationality because human beings as such did not have rights under international law.
Hence, when individuals were subjected by a foreign government to treatment that violated
international law, the state of their nationality was considered to have a cause of action under
international law against the offending state. When damages were awarded, however the successful state
usually compensated its nationals for the damages they had sustained, although international law did not
require such payment.
Disputes involving claims under the law of state responsibility for injuries to aliens were commonly
resolved through diplomatic negotiations between the governments concerned. Sometimes the failure of
the offending state to comply with demands for satisfaction, usually the payment of compensation led to
the use of force.
Traditional Concept
o States treatment of individuals in its territory was considered a domestic affair not a matter for
international law
o Exceptions include Roman recognition of states obligation to aliens.
o By the late, 19th century, there were minority treaties concluded by European governments
for protecting ethnic minorities.
o The only clear early example of an internationalization of individual rights with respect to
slavery. Many countries abolished slavery in the 19th slavery; the unacceptability of slavery
became an international standard and slave trade became illegal.
o During the 17th and 18th centuries, the doctrines of humanitarian intervention and humanitarian
rules of war emerged.
o Early Spanish school of international law was heavily engaged in the discussion on which rights
are to be accorded to every human being under any circumstances.

o
o

As early as 1815, UK, tried to persuade states to make treaties for the suppression of the slave
trade.
During the following century treaties were made to protect individuals against various forms of
injustice. A big step forward came with the peace treaties of 1919, which provided guarantees of
fair treatment for the inhabitants of mandated territories4 and for certain national minorities in
Eastern and Central Europe, and which set up the International Labour Organization to
promote improvements in working conditions throughout the world.
The Second World War brought about a change, heralded by the four freedoms (freedom of
speech and expression, freedom of religion, freedom from economic want, freedom from fear of
aggression) listed as the foreign policy goals of the United States in a message to Congress by
President Roosevelt in 1941 and which were included in the Atlantic Charter.

Early twentieth century


o International Labor Organization (ILO) established after WWI, recognized international human
rights by setting forth basic universal standards for labor and social welfare.
o Peace treaties after WWI provided protection to national, religious, linguistic and ethnic
minorities in Central and Eastern Europe. These treaties focused on group rights - a minoritys
right to their own schools, language and religions and freedom from discrimination.
o Covenant of the League of Nationals was also created as a mandate system for which the
population of the colonies formerly under German and Turkish control were to be protected.
Post World War II
o The modern concept of international human rights law is the result of the worlds reaction to
Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities during WWII.
o Nazi war criminals were tried for violating international law before Nuremburg tribunal.
o The Nuremburg tribunal demonstrated the international concern for human rights, which was
key to the formation of the UN in1945.
The Nuremberg trials were a series of trials held between 1945 and 1949 in which the Allies
prosecuted German military leaders, political officials, industrialists, and financiers for crimes they had
committed during World War II. (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Nuremberg+Trials)
o This modern concept of international human rights law was also the key to the formation of the
United Nations in 1945 having as one of its principal purposes the promotion and protection of
human rights.
Current Status
o The most important developments in the international human rights field can be attributed to
the fact that human beings around the world have increasingly come to believe that that states
and the international community have an obligation to protect their human rights, be they civil
and political rights or economic, social and cultural rights.
o The basic concept of international human rights law is now firmly established, its relatively
emergence results in a body of law characterized by evolving ideas, institutions and procedures.
o It must be kept in mind, however, that progress in the human rights area is greatly hampered in
many countries by endemic poverty, illiteracy, corruption and various forms of discrimination
that prevent large segments of the population from enjoying their internationally recognized
human rights. These scourges cannot be eradicated by law and legal enforcement mechanism
alone. They require international cooperation and development assistance geared to the needs
of the individual countries, educational programs that focus on the promotion of a culture of

human rights, on inter-personal and inter-group tolerance, and on the creation of national and
local institutions capable of translating international human rights norms into reality.
HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE UNITED NATIONS
The International Human Rights that we have now is largely an offshoot of the phenomenon of the post
World War II. International Human Rights developed due to the huge violations of human rights
executed during the Nazi era. In President Franklin Roosevelts famous speech entitled as Four
Freedoms (1941), he argued that a world must be molded and built around freedom and he articulated
these four freedoms as the freedom of speech and expression, freedom of every person to worship
God in his own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
The Commission on Human Rights was established in 1946.
In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was passed by the U.N. General Assembly. UN
continued to promote and protect human rights and has drafted treaties for global adoption dealing with
many aspects of human rights. The Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (with Optional Protocol) and International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights form the International Bill of Human Rights.
UN Charter
UN Charter in 1945 was the first attempt to provide comprehensive protection for all individuals. It was
also a departure from earlier treaties remedying the problems of particular abuses or particular groups
because it was the first attempt to provide comprehensive human rights protection for all individuals.
The UN Charter was signed on June 26, 1945 at San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts
Center located in San Francisco, United States. It is considered as a foundational treaty for the United
Nations. 50 of the 51 original members signed it; Poland, on the other hand, has not been represented
during the conference for the UN Charter, after two months, Poland signed the Charter. It was on
October 24, 1945 that the UN Charter has entered into force. Of course, this Charter has been ratified
by majority of its signatories plus the five permanent members of UN China, United States, United
Kingdom, France and Russia.
Basically, as a charter it is considered as a constituent treaty and all its signatories/ members are bound
by it. It was elucidated in the treaty; beforehand that duties and commitments to UN must come first
and dominate among all other treaties and obligations. Despite the fact that many countries have signed
the charter, Vatican is an exception because it chose to be just a permanent observer state that is why it
has not signed full the charter.

The Charter consists of a preamble and a series of articles grouped into chapters.[1]
The preamble consists of two principal parts. The first part containing a general call for the
maintenance of peace and international security and respect for human rights. The second part of
the preamble is a declaration in a contractual style that the governments of the peoples of the
United Nations have agreed to the Charter.
Chapter I sets forth the purposes of the United Nations, including the important provisions
of the maintenance of international peace and security.
Chapter II defines the criteria for membership in the United Nations.
Chapters III-XV, the bulk of the document, describes the organs and institutions of the UN
and their respective powers.
Chapters XVI and Chapter XVII describes arrangements for integrating the UN with
established international law.
Chapters XVIII and Chapter XIX provide for amendment and ratification of the Charter.
The following chapters deal with the enforcement powers of UN bodies:
Chapter VI describes the Security Council's power to investigate and mediate disputes;
Chapter VII describes the Security Council's power to authorize economic, diplomatic, and
military sanctions, as well as the use of military force, to resolve disputes;
Chapter VIII makes it possible for regional arrangements to maintain peace and security
within their own region;
Chapters IX and Chapter X describe the UN's powers for economic and social
cooperation, and the Economic and Social Council that oversees these powers;
Chapters
XII and Chapter
XIII describe
the Trusteeship
Council,
which
oversaw decolonization;
Chapters XIV and Chapter XV establishes the powers of, respectively, the International
Court of Justice and the United Nations Secretariat.
Chapters XVI through Chapter XIX deal respectively with XVI: miscellaneous
provisions, XVII: transitional security arrangements related to World War II, XVIII: the
charter amendment process, and XIX: ratification of the charter.
1 Preamble-purposes
To end war, promote social progress, human rights, ensure international law, equality of men and
women, nations, armed forces only used in the common interest; all members are sovereign and
equal, need to fulfill obligations set out in the charter, must settle disputes with peaceful methods,
assist the UN when called upon, UN is not required to interfere in domestic issues in any nation
2-Membership- open to all peace-loving sates who agree to follow the charter, must be
recommended by the SC and approved by the GA, rights suspended by the GA on
recommendation by the SC can be restored by the SC, and members who persistently violate the
Charter can be expelled by GA on recommendation of the SC
2- Organs- GA, SC, Economic and Social Council, Trusteeship Council, International Court of
Justice and Secretariat
3- General Assembly- all members get 1 vote, can discuss any topic within the scope of the UN,
can refer matters/nations to the SC, cant make recommendations unless requested to by the SC,
Secretary-General will notify of any issues to maintenance of international peace, initiate studies,
consider and approve the budget, 2/3rds vote for major issues involving international peace, SC
members, ESC members, Trustee Members, new members to UN, expelling members, budget;
after two years of not paying dues, member loses its vote

4- Security Council- 5 permanent members (US, China, UK, France, Russia) and 10 rotating
members elected by the GA for 2 year terms, primary responsibility for maintenance of
international peace. Members are required to carry out decisions of the SC, affirmative vote of
permanent members required for all decisions (other than procedural), non-members can watch
but not vote
5- Pacific Settlement of Disputes- parties in disagreement should first negotiate, SC can call
upon the parties is no agreement can be made, any member of UN or affected area not a member
can bring an issue to the attention of the GA or SC
6- Actions in Response to Breaches of the Peace- embargos, disruptive communications,
military demonstrations, and military/air strikes to be decided on by SC, all members must have
designated units capable of participating in international missions, Military Staff Committee to
advise the SC, all nations must act on SC resolutions
7- Regional Arrangements- disputes should first go to regional organizations before going to
the Security Council, states need to keep the SC informed about what they are doing
8-International Economic and Social Cooperation- full employment, higher standards of
living, universal respect for human rights, international solutions to social, health related problems;
international cultural education
The Economic and Social Council- 54 members, 18 elected each year for 3 year term;
Make studies on international issues related to health, social, cultural, educational, and economic
issues; make recommendations for observing human rights; each member gets one vote; majority
rule
9-Declarations regarding non-self-governing territories- to develop self-government,
protect the rights of the people
The International Trusteeship System- UN can become trustees of territories to ensure
international peace, promote advancement of the inhabitants, and encourage respect for human
rights
The Trusteeship Council- composed of nations administering a trustee, the members of the
Security Council, affected nations, and at large nations to even the number of trustee-nations and
non-trustee, majority vote, single vote for each member
10- The International Court of Justice- principle judicial organ of the UN, if nations fail to
comply with ICJ decisions, turned over to SC, advise the GA if requested.
11-Secretariat- Secretary-General and staff, appointed by GA on recommendation of SC, must
not be influenced by any organization outside the UN
Miscellaneous Provisions- all treaties and international agreements need to be registered
afterwards with the Secretariat, UN Charter is the supreme law of the land and takes precedence
over other international agreements; the UN should legally be able to operate in any member
country to fulfill its functions; UN officials have immunity as well as representatives
Amendments- 2/3 of GA and all permanent members of the SC
1. Preamble and Purpose
2. Membership and Organs
3. General Assembly
4. Security Council
5. Pacific Settlement of Disputes
6. Actions that Breach the Peace (2 people)
o7. Regional
To achieve
international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social,
Arrangements
cultural
orand
humanitarian
character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights
8. The
Social
Economic Council
and
for
fundamental
freedoms
for all without
distinction as to race, sex, language or religion
9. Declaration Regarding non-self-governing
territories
(Article
1,
Section
3
of
the
UN
Charter).
This
particular
statement states one of the purposes of
10. Trusteeship Council
the
United
Nations.
11. International Court of Justice
12. Secretariat and Amendments

o
o

o
o
o
o
o
o

Articles 55 and 56 are the main provisions of the UN Charter concerning human rights and
these articles are the foundation of modern human rights law.
With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for
peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights
and self determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote: (a) higher standards of
living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development; (b)
solutions of international economic, social, health and related problems, and international
cultural and educational cooperation; and (c) universal respect for, and observations of, human
rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion
(Article 55).
All members pledge themselves to take joint and separate action in cooperation with the
Organization for the achievement of the purposes set forth in Article 55. (Article 56; Member
states are obliged to a progressive rather than present fulfillment of the goals set forth in Art.
55).
In 1946, the Commission on Human Rights was established to draft treaties implementing
Articles 55 and 56 such that these two articles are the main source of subsequent human rights
treaties.
Promote is the charge assigned to the UN General Assembly and the Economic and Social
Council. These organs basing upon the resolution are not legally binding.
The aforementioned pledge of the Member States as elucidated in Article 55 involves the
promotion of the achievement of the purposes set forth in the said article and to promote
universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Article 56 emphasized that the Member States and the Organization are the organs primarily
responsible to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The United States court found out the imprecision of Articles 55 and 56; such that the US court
find out that these articles are not self-executing treaty provisions and do not confer rights on
individuals.
In Sei Fuji v. California, the California Supreme Court held that Articles 55 and 56 are not selfexecuting. The California Supreme Court held that the UN Charter lacked the mandatory
quality and precision required to create enforceable rights as a matter of the United States
treaty law. The court failed to address enforceability as custom based in part on its
determination that the challenged state law provisions restricting alien ownership of property
violated the state and federal constitutions.
For the cooperation flourish between the Member States and the Organization, Article 13(1) of
the UN Charter states that the General Assembly shall initiate studies and make
recommendations for the purpose of: (b)assisting in the realization of human rights and
fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion. In
addition, the General Assembly has been active in relation to settling the issues of human rights
violations occurring or concerns the Member States.
The UN Charter has its consequences: (a) the UN Charter internationalized human rights; (b)
the obligation of the Member States of the UN to cooperate with the Organization in the
promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms has provided UN with the requisite legal
authority to undertake a massive effort to define and codify these rights; (c) the Organization
has succeeded in clarifying the scope of the Member States obligation to promote human
rights, expanding it and creating UN Charter-based institutions designed to ensure compliance
by governments.

International Bill of Human Rights


o In addition to the human rights provisions of the UN Charter, the International Bill of Human
Rights is consist of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the two International Covenants
on Human Rights and their Optional Protocols.
o In the San Francisco Conference, proposals on adjoining and appending the Bill of Rights or the
Declaration of the Essential Rights of Man for the Charter were made but not acted upon. It
was through the creation of the Commission on Human Rights that the said efforts were
revisited. The Commission on Human Rights was tasked to create and draft the international bill
of human rights. The Commission started on working upon the declaration and afterwards, the
preparation of the draft treaties. In this manner, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was
the first one constructed; this was then adopted by the General Assembly on December 10,
1948. After 18 years, the Covenants and their Optional Protocols were later then adopted
(1966); these covenants, by 1976, entered into force.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
o This is the first of the comprehensive human rights instrument to be declared by a global
international organization.
o Thus, making it rank equally with the Magna Carte, French Declaration of the Rights of Man and
American Declaration of Independence.
o UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10,
1948 with 48 votes and 8 abstentions (communist countries, Saudi Arabia and South Africa)
through Resolution 217 A (III), at Palais de Chaillot, Paris.
o It is a by-product of the World War II and a symbol of the primary global expression of rights to
which all human beings are entitled.
o Several of the 48 states which voted to pass the declaration regarded it as a statement of
aspirations rather than a legal obligation.
o The Declaration was intended to define rights protected in Articles 55 and 56, but it is not
legally binding per se. It may, however, be considered binding as a new rule of customary
international law.
o However, a 1968 UN resolution proclaims the Declaration to constitute an obligation for the
members of the international community.
o Two general categories: civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights.
o Civil and Political Rights included prohibitions of slavery, torture, various kinds of discrimination
(discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, religion, language, political opinion, nationality,
ethnicity, birth or other status), a right to asylum and arbitrary arrests and interferences with
privacy. Protected rights are right to a fair trial, marriage, property ownership, political asylum,
equal access to public positions and freedoms of religion, expression, movement, peaceful
assembly and association. Political and civil rights are the foundation of democratic political systems
and are the focus of human rights development in those countries.
o Economic, Social and Cultural Rights include rights to social security, full employment, fair work
conditions, education, health care and adequate standard of living and participation in the
communitys cultural like.
o Limitations of human rights are recognized through exceptions for the maintenance of public
order and preservation of state security. The Universal Declaration allows limitations for the
purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of
meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic
society. UN Decl. art. 29 2. Such limitations or derogations are uncertain in scope and often
subject to abuse despite Article 30 which prohibits any rights to act destroy these rights.
o This Declaration is not a treaty such that it was adopted by the UN General Assembly by a nonbinding resolution and as provided in its preamble that its main goal is to give a common

o
o

understanding with regards to human rights and fundamental freedoms and to serve as a
common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.
The Declaration is a representation of the definition of human rights by the international
community.
The legal significance of the declaration has been seen in the following approaches: (a) the
consistent dependence and reliance of UN on the Universal Declaration when applying the
human rights provisions of the UN Charter compels the conclusion that the Declaration has
come to be accepted as an authoritative interpretation of these provisions; (b) the repeated
reliance on and resort to the Universal Declaration by governments and intergovernmental
organizations the call state practice which is able to allow for the rise and breakthrough to
customary international law; and (c) the international human rights contained in the Universal
Declaration as being reflective of a dynamic modern aspect of the general principles of law.
The Declaration is considered as a yardstick that measures the magnitude of respect for and
compliance with international human right standards. It has been the basic source for the
promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Summary of Preamble
The General Assembly recognizes that the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of
all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
human rights should be protected by the rule of law, friendly relations between nations must be
fostered, the peoples of the UN have affirmed their faith in human rights, the dignity and the worth
of the human person, the equal rights of men and women and are determined to promote social
progress, better standards of life and larger freedom and have promised to promote human rights
and a common understanding of these rights.
A summary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
1. Everyone is free and we should all be treated in the same way.
2. Everyone is equal despite differences in skin colour, sex, religion, language for example.
3. Everyone has the right to life and to live in freedom and safety.
4. No one has the right to treat you as a slave nor should you make anyone your slave.
5. No one has the right to hurt you or to torture you.
6. Everyone has the right to be treated equally by the law.
7. The law is the same for everyone, it should be applied in the same way to all.
8. Everyone has the right to ask for legal help when their rights are not respected.
9. No one has the right to imprison you unjustly or expel you from your own country.
10. Everyone has the right to a fair and public trial.
11. Everyone should be considered innocent until guilt is proved.
12. Everyone has the right to ask for help if someone tries to harm you, but no-one can enter
your home, open your letters or bother you or your family without a good reason.
13. Everyone has the right to travel as they wish.
14. Everyone has the right to go to another country and ask for protection if they are being
persecuted or are in danger of being persecuted.
15. Everyone has the right to belong to a country. No one has the right to prevent you from
belonging to another country if you wish to.
16. Everyone has the right to marry and have a family.
17. Everyone has the right to own property and possessions.
18. Everyone has the right to practice and observe all aspects of their own religion and change
their religion if they want to.
19. Everyone has the right to say what they think and to give and receive information.
20. Everyone has the right to take part in meetings and to join associations in a peaceful way.

21. Everyone has the right to help choose and take part in the government of their country.
22. Everyone has the right to social security and to opportunities to develop their skills.
23. Everyone has the right to work for a fair wage in a safe environment and to join a trade
union.
24. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure.
25. Everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living and medical help if they are ill.
26. Everyone has the right to go to school.
27. Everyone has the right to share in their community's cultural life.
28. Everyone must respect the 'social order' that is necessary for all these rights to be
available.
29. Everyone must respect the rights of others, the community and public property.
30. No one has the right to take away any of the rights in this declaration.

FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS


Right of People to Self Determination
o Self Determination is the right of people in a territory to decide the political and legal status of
that territory
o UN Charter: The main provisions referring to self-determination are in Articles 1(2) promotion
of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, 55 UN promotes solutions to international
economic, social, health and related problems with a view on the creation of stability and
friendly relations, 73- UN members assume responsibility for the administration of non selfgoverning territories and 76(b).
o In 1960, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Granting of Independence
to Colonial Countries and Peoples. The International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights also provided for the right of all peoples to selfdetermination.
Defining a People People contain both objective and subjective elements.
o Objectively, it is as an ethnic group linked by a common history.
o Subjectively, it is a group identifying itself as a people
Rights of Indigenous People
o Indigenous peoples have asserted a right to self-determination to prevent their complete
absorption into states dominated by non-aboriginal populations.
o The rights of indigenous peoples present conflicts with respect to territorial claims, state
sovereignty and traditional institutions.
o There is still much disagreement on the right of groups to secede, the reunification of
groups in divided states and right of minorities to preserve separate identities within a state.
Prohibition of Slavery
o The widespread prohibition against slavery was an early development in the internationalization
of human rights.
o In the 19th century, major countries abolished slavery resulting in the development of an
international standard prohibiting slavery and outlawing slave trade.
o Slavery Convention of 1926 and the 1957 were by-products of the anti-slavery movement.
o The prohibition of slavery is a fundamental norm as a matter of customary international law
from which no derogation is permitted.
Genocide
o General Assembly adopted the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the
Crime of Genocide as a response to the atrocities of the Holocaust in WWII.

Genocide is acts committed with the intent to destroy a national, ethnical, racial or religious
groups as such.
o Genocide is a crime for which individuals are punishable as well as acts of conspiracy,
incitement, attempt and complicity to genocide
o Before the ICC in 2002, punishment for genocide was left to domestic courts and now to
tribunals built by UN.
Crimes Against Humanity
o The Nuremburg Charter charged Nazi leaders with crimes against humanity through the
invocation of customary law of human rights.
o Crimes against humanity defined as committed against any civilian population, before or during
the war or persecutions on political, racial or religious ground whether or not in violation of the
domestic law of the country where perpetrated.
Prohibitions of Discrimination
o Racial discrimination is any distinction based on race, color, descent, impairing recognition on
equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms. A UN committee has jurisdiction to
hear complaints but its power to act limited to reports and recommendations. Apartheid is a
crime against humanity.
o Sexual discrimination is any distinction on the basis of sex impairing or nullifying the recognition
of human rights and fundamental freedoms. A UN convention attempts to eliminate prejudices
and customs based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes. Special
measures designed to achieve equality between men and women shall not be considered
discrimination but shall be discontinued when the objective of equality has been achieved. There
has been the Optional Protocol to the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) or known as The Convention in 1999 that
authorizes the treaty enforcement body, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
Against Women to receive communications submitted by or on behalf of groups or individuals
who allege having been victims of violations of the rights protected by the Convention.
o Religious freedom is limited only by the necessity to protect public safety, order, health or
morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
o Torture is any act by which severe pain or suffering whether physical or mental is intentionally
inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a
confession punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having
committed or intimidating or coercing him or a third person or for any reason based on
discrimination of any kind when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or
with the consent or acquiescence of an public official or other person acting in an official
capacity. It does not include attempt and complicity to torture are always prohibited. It does not
include pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions. The Committee against Torture has the
unusual power to initiate inquiries.
o A refugee is a person who owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race,
religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the
country of his nationality and is unable or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the
protection of that country or who not having a nationality such events is unable or owing to
such fear is unwilling to return to it. Refugees have no right to be granted asylum under
customary international law. A state has a right to grant asylum but an admitted refugee may
only be deported for reasons of national security. Diplomatic asylum: granting refugee in the
territory of another state creating a right of safe conduct from the foreign state.
Refugee law deals with the rights and protection of refugees.
Refugee law encompasses customary law, peremptory norms, and international legal
instruments. The only international instrument is the UN Convention, with an optional
o

Protocol, while various regional bodies have instruments applying only to member
states. The instruments include:
the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
modified by the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, which
a country has to have signed separately
the 1966 Bangkok Principles on Status and Treatment of Refugees
adopted at the Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee in 1966.
the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee
Problems in Africa
the 1984 Cartagena Declaration on Refugees[4] for Latin America
the 1976 Council of Europe's Recommendation 773 (1976) on the
Situation of de facto Refugees
the 2004 European Union's Council Directive on minimum standards
for the qualification and status of third country nationals and stateless
persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international
protection and content of the protection granted
Under international law, refugees are individuals who:
are outside their country of nationality or habitual residence;
have a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion,
nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and
are unable or unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country,
or to return there, for fear of persecution.
The principle of non - refoulement
The obligation exists under Article 33
of the 1951 Refugee
Convention not to return a refugee to a country of territory where
he/she would be at risk of persecution:
No Contracting State shall expel or return (refouler) a refugee in
any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or
freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion,
nationality, membership of a particular social group or political
opinion.
This is known as the principle of non -refoulement, which is considered
part of customary international law and therefore binding on all states.
The principle is also incorporated in several i nternational human rights
treaties, for example the 1984 Convention against Torture, which
prohibits the forcible removal of persons to a country where there is a
real risk of torture.
Internally d isplaced p ersons
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are de fined in the 1998 Guiding
Principles on Internal Displacement as persons or groups of persons
who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or
places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to
avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence,
violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who
have not crossed an internationally recognized S tate border.
Internally displaced persons, who now constitute some 22 million
persons, are persons whose situation is similar to that of refugees.
However, there are several differences between IDPs and refugees.
First, IDPs are not the subject of a treat y adopted at the universal level,

although the Guiding Principles are based on binding international


human rights and humanitarian law. Second, as opposed to refugees,
IDPs have not crossed an international border from their country of
origin. Third, the definition of IDPs in the Guiding Principles is
significantly broader than the refugee definition, including those
displaced by armed conflict, human rights violations and natural
disasters, while the refugee definition is restricted to those with a well founded fear of being persecuted on at least one of five grounds.
A child is any human being below the age of eighteen, unless under the law applicable to the
child, majority is attained earlier. Children enjoy full range of rights granted to adults but also
protected from various forms of sexual exploitation. A UN committee oversees compliance
through state reports. However, US have not ratified Childrens Convention.

THE NEWLY EMERGING RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS RECOGNIZED AS


CUSTOMARY INTERNATIONAL LAW
Many rights contained in international agreements are also recognized as customary international
law.
Charging Nazi leaders with crimes against humanity found in the Nuremburg Charter was an
example of an early invocation of human rights as parcel of customary international law.
A more recent one is found in Filartiga v Pena-Irala: we conclude that official torture is now
prohibited by the law of nations: The torturer has become-like the pirate and slave trader before
him- hostis humani generis, an enemy of all mankind.
A right may be elevated through international customs through virtually universal adherence,
widespread participation/ support and frequent invocation or application.
Restatement 702 of US Foreign Relations Law: A state violates international law if, as a matter of
state policy, it practices, encourages or condones genocide, slavery or slave trade, the murder of
causing the disappearance of individuals, torture, or other cruel, in human or degrading treatment or
punishment, prolonged arbitrary detention, systematic racial discrimination or consistent patterns of
gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.
Creation of Customary Human Rights Law: Customary human rights law is established in a manner
different from other customary law, because human rights have been a matter between a state and
its own individuals.
The Evolution of New Rights: Human rights law is constantly evolving from recognition of rights in
treaties, UN resolutions and domestic state practice to the level of custom and jus cogens. Examples
are the rights in 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child and right to development in the 1986
General Assembly Resolution on the Right to Development.
DEROGATION FROM PROTECTION OF RIGHTS
Treaties allow derogation form the rights in times of war or other public emergencies. Certain
rights may not be derogated from, even during public emergencies.
Any state that wants or intends to derogate must inform other state parties, providing reasons for
the derogation and communicates the date on which derogation terminates.
European Court of Human Rights: provides states latitude in determining whether there is a public
emergency but is demanding more in holding it accountable to other obligations under international
law.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Requirements for Derogation: Article 4 provides derogation from the Covenants


obligations under the following circumstances: must be a time of public emergency which
threatens the life of the nation; existence of such circumstances must be officially
proclaimed; only to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation; measures
may not be inconsistent with their other obligations under international law and may not
involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, color, sex, language, religion or social
origin.
o Limitations to Derogation Under the Covenant: Some rights may not be derogated from
even times of public emergency; Article 4 (2) states that no derogation is permitted form
the rights accorded by Articles 6,7,8 (paragraphs 1 and 2), 11, 15, 16 and 18.
Article 6 protects the inherent rights to life, prohibits genocide, restricts the death
penalty to only the most serious crimes, requires rights to see pardon or
commutation of death penalty, and prohibits death penalty for persons under 18 and
pregnant women.
Article 7 prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of
punishment.
Article 8 prohibits slavery and slave trade (par.1) and prohibits holding anyone in
servitude (par.2)
Article 11 prohibits imprisonment for failure to fulfill contractual obligation.
Article 15 prohibits conviction for an act or omission not a criminal offense under
either national or international law at the time it was committed and also prohibits
imposition of a heavier penalty than was applicable at the time the crime was
committed.
Article 16 states that everyone has a right to recognition as a person before the law.
Article 18 protects rights of religious freedoms and prevents imposition of religion.
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
o Requirements for Derogation: Article 15 (1) permits derogation: in time of war or other
public emergency threatening the life of the nation; only to the extent strictly required by
the exigencies of the situation and provided such measures are not inconsistent with its
other obligations under international law. The European Court of Human Rights gave states
a wide margin of appreciation in the determination of whether the first condition exists
but has been more demanding in the determination of whether the second condition has
been satisfied.
o Limitations to Derogation Under the Covenant: Some rights may not be derogated from
even times of public emergency; Article 15 (2) prohibits derogation from Articles 2, 3, 4
(paragraph 1) and 7.
Article 2 protects the right to life except for executions resulting from conviction of
a crime for which the death penalty is provided by law.
Article 3 prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of
punishment.
Article 4 prohibits slavery or servitude (par.2)
Article 7 prohibits ex post facto criminal law
o Procedure: Article 15(30) requires the derogating party to fully inform the SecretaryGeneral of the Council of Europe of measures taken and the reasons and also inform when
derogation has ceased and provisions of the Conventions are once again executed.
o

ABSOLUTE AND NON-ABSOLUTE RIGHTS

Absolute rights cannot be limited in any way, at any time for any reason. No circumstance justifies a
qualification or limitation of absolute rights. Absolute rights cannot be suspended or restricted, even
during a declared state of emergency. Absolute rights in the ICCPR include:
o right to be free from torture and other cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment (Article 7)
o right to be free from slavery and servitude (Article 8 (1) and (2))
o prohibition of genocide (Article 6 (3))
o prohibition on prolonged arbitrary detention (elements of Article 9(1))
o prohibition on imprisonment for failure to fulfill a contractual obligation (Article 11)
o prohibition on the retrospective operation of criminal law (Article 15)
o right of everyone to recognition everywhere as a person before the law (Article 16)
o right to freedom from systematic racial discrimination (elements of Articles 2 (1) and 26)
Non-absolute rights may be subject to such limitations or restrictions as are reasonable, necessary,
proportionate and demonstrably justifiable.
DEROGABLE AND NON-DEROGABLE RIGHTS
Derogations allow states to suspend part of their legal obligations and restrict some rights under certain
circumstances.
Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provides for a
derogation power, which allows governments to temporarily suspend the application of some rights
in the exceptional circumstance of a state of emergency and subject to certain conditions,
including official notification. Recourse to the derogations regime is rare.
Derogation used to allow a state to respond to a serious public emergency which threatens the life
of the nation. However, it must be only for a limited time, proportionate to the emergency and
non-discriminatory.
Any absolute right is non-derogable (it cannot be suspended even in a declared state of emergency).

Criteria essential for valid derogation: existence of a public emergency that threatens the life of the
nation; requirements of proclamation and notification; measures strictly required by the exigencies
of situation: principle of proportionality; principle of consistency; non-derogable rights and
prohibition of discrimination
Certain rights, however, are non-derogable, that is, they cannot be suspended even in a state of
emergency. Article 4(2) of the ICCPR provides that no derogation is permitted for:
Non-derogable rights (must not be suspended even in declared state of emergency)
o right to life (Article 6)
o freedom from medical or scientific experimentation without consent (Article 7)
o freedom from thought, conscience and religion (Article 7)
o right of all persons deprived of their liberty to be treated with humanity and respect for
the inherent dignity of the human person
o some elements of the rights of persons belonging to ethnic, religious or linguistic
minorities
o prohibition against taking hostages, abductions, or unacknowledged detention
o prohibition on propaganda for war and advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred
that constituted incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence
o prohibition against re-introduction of the death penalty if it has been abolished
Distinction between absolute rights and non-derogable rights
o Non-derogable rights may be either absolute or non-absolute. While non-derogable
rights cannot be suspended, some non-derogable rights provide for limitations in their
ordinary application. For example, the right to freedom of religion in article 18 of the
ICCPR is non-derogable under article 4(2) but may be subject to limitations in
accordance with article 18(3). Article 6 of the ICCPR, which protects the right to life, is
another example of a non-derogable right. This right, however, is expressed in part as
freedom from arbitrary deprivation of life. The use of the term arbitrary indicates
that circumstances may justify the taking of life, where necessary, reasonable and
proportionate.
UN Human Rights Covenants
o Civil and Political Rights and Economic and Social and Cultural Rights were the basis for the
General Assemblys adoption in 1966 of two treaties: the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (with Optional Protocols, to Civil and Political Covenant) and the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
o Treaties opened for signature in December 1966 and entered into force 1976 after the
ratification by 35 states. From thereon, the number of States Parties grew, in 2004, 164 State
Parties are part of the ICCCPR and 160 State Parties for the ICESCR.
o These Covenants are treaties thus allowing it for the creation of binding legal obligations for
States Parties.
o Common substantive provisions: (a) Article 1(1) of both Covenants all peoples have the right
of self-determination; (b) Article 1(2) all peoples have the right to freely dispose of their
natural resources and that in no case may a people be deprived of its own means of
subsistence.
o The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights deals with the human rights mentioned
above.
o It is monitored by the Human Rights Committee.
o The Covenant also includes two: rights of peoples or group rights: the right to selfdetermination and the right of all peoples to freely dispose of their natural wealth and
resources.

o
o
o
o
o

o
o
o

Article 27 also provides that ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities shall not be denied the
right, in community with the other members of their own group, to enjoy their own culture, to
profess and practice their own religion or to use their own language.
Neither Covenant includes the right to property included in the Universal Declaration.
Many of the rights may be limited as necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals
or the fundamental rights and freedom of others. Rights of derogation in times of war or other
public emergency also exist.
The Covenant calls for immediate implementation. It also provides for periodic submission
compliance to the Human Rights Committee (UN body of human rights experts established by
the Covenant to oversee compliance through periodic state reports).
The Covenant includes a derogatory clause that allows State Parties in times of public
emergency that threatens the life of the nation to suspend all or most of the fundamental rights;
it also allows the State Parties to limit the exercise of some of the rights it proclaims. For
instance, limitation clause on Article 18 that permits freedom of religion and elucidates that
freedom to manifest ones religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are
prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the
fundamental rights and freedoms of others. For derogatory clause, in Article 5(1) which
prohibits the imposition of restrictions or limitations aimed at the destruction of the rights or
their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the present Covenant.
Obligations of State Parties: (a) Article 2 Par. 1: Each State Party to the present Covenant
undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its
jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such
as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin,
property, birth or other status; (b) Article 2(2) requires the State Parties to adopt such
legislative or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the rights provided in the
Covenant.
It also authorized the submission of interstate petitions to the Committee for its review against
states that have agreed to being subject to such petitions.
The First Optional Protocol took effect in 1976 that allowed for individual complaints to the
Committee against any state that ratified the Protocol. It is silent on the issue of the
Committees role in ensuring that State Parties comply with its views.
The Second Optional Protocol was opened for signature on December 15, 1989 and entered
into force on July 11, 1991 and it sought to abolish death penalty. This implies that once a state
has ratified the Protocol, none of its jurisdiction shall be executed and all measures must be
taken into account by that state party to remove and abolish death penalty within its
jurisdiction.
The Covenant follows the structure of the UDHR and ICESCR, with a preamble and fifty-three
articles, divided into six parts.
Part 1 (Article 1) recognizes the right of all peoples to self-determination, including the right to
"freely determine their political status", pursue their economic, social and cultural goals, and
manage and dispose of their own resources. It recognizes a negative right of a people not to be
deprived of its means of subsistence, and imposes an obligation on those parties still responsible
for non-self governing and trust territories (colonies) to encourage and respect their selfdetermination.
Part 2 (Articles 2 5) obliges parties to legislate where necessary to give effect to the rights
recognized in the Covenant, and to provide an effective legal remedy for any violation of those
rights. It also requires the rights be recognized "without distinction of any kind, such as race,
colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth
or other status," and to ensure that they are enjoyed equally by women. The rights can only be
limited "in time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation," and even then no
derogation is permitted from the rights to life, freedom from torture and slavery, the freedom
from retrospective law, the right to personhood, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Part 3 (Articles 6 27) lists the rights themselves. These include rights to
physical integrity, in the form of the right to life and freedom from torture and slavery (Articles 6,
7, and 8); liberty and security of the person, in the form of freedom from arbitrary arrest and
detention and the right to habeas corpus (Articles 9 11); procedural fairness in law, in the form of
rights to due process, a fair and impartial trial, the presumption of innocence, and recognition as a
person before the law (Articles 14, 15, and 16); individual liberty, in the form of the freedoms of
movement, thought, conscience and religion, speech, association and assembly, family rights, the
right to a nationality, and the right to privacy(Articles 12, 13, 17 24); prohibition of any
propaganda for war as well as any advocacy of national or religious hatred that
constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence by law (Article 20); political
participation, including the right to join a political party and the right to vote (Article 25); Nondiscrimination, minority rights and equality before the law (Articles 26 and 27).
Many of these rights include specific actions which must be undertaken to realize them.
Part 4 (Articles 28 45) governs the establishment and operation of the Human Rights
Committee and the reporting and monitoring of the Covenant. It also allows parties to recognize
the competence of the Committee to resolve disputes between parties on the implementation of
the Covenant (Articles 41 and 42).
Part 5 (Articles 46 47) clarifies that the Covenant shall not be interpreted as interfering with
the operation of the United Nations or "the inherent right of all peoples to enjoy and utilize fully
and freely their natural wealth and resources".
Part 6 (Articles 48 53) governs ratification, entry into force, and amendment of the Covenant.
o

Reservations:
Argentina will apply the fair trial rights guaranteed in its constitution to the prosecution of
those accused of violating the general law of nations.
Australia reserves the right to progressively implement the prison standards of Article 10, to
compensate for miscarriages of justice by administrative means rather than through the courts,
and interprets the prohibition on racial incitement as being subject to the freedoms of
expression, association and assembly. It also declares that its implementation will be effected at
each level of its federal system.
Austria reserves the right to continue to exile members of the House of Habsburg, and limits
the rights of the accused and the right to a fair trial to those already existing in its legal system.
Bahamas, due to problems with implementation, reserves the right not to compensate for
miscarriages of justice.
Bahrain interprets Articles 3 (no sexual discrimination), 18 (freedom of religion) and 23 (family
rights) within the context of Islamic Sharia law.
Bangladesh reserves the right to try people in absentia where they are fugitives from justice
and declares that resource constraints mean that it cannot necessarily segregate prisons or
provide counsel for accused persons.
Barbados reserves the right not to provide free counsel for accused persons due to resource
constraints.
Belgium interprets the freedoms of speech, assembly and association in a manner consistent
with the European Convention on Human Rights. It does not consider itself obliged to ban war
propaganda as required by Article 20, and interprets that article in light of the freedom of
expression in the UDHR.
Belize reserves the right not to compensate for miscarriages of justice, due to problems with
implementation, and does not plan to provide free legal counsel for the same reasons as above.
It also refuses to ensure the right to free travel at any time, due to a law requiring those
travelling abroad to provide tax clearance certificates.

Congo, as per the Congolese Code of Civil, Commercial, Administrative and Financial
Procedure, in matters of private law, decisions or orders emanating from conciliation
proceedings may be enforced through imprisonment for debt.
Denmark reserves the right to exclude the press and the public from trials as per its own laws.
Reservation is further made to Article 20, paragraph 1. This reservation is in accordance with
the vote cast by Denmark in the XVI General Assembly of the United Nations in 1961 when the
Danish Delegation, referring to the preceding article concerning freedom of expression, voted
against the prohibition against propaganda for war.
Gambia, as per its constitution, will provide free legal assistance for accused persons charged
with capital offences only.
The United States has made reservations that none of the articles should restrict the right
of free speech and association; that the US government may impose capital punishment on any
person other than a pregnant woman, including persons below the age of 18; that "cruel,
inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment" refers to those treatments or punishments
prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution; that
Paragraph 1, Article 15 will not apply; and that, notwithstanding paragraphs 2(b) and 3 of Article
10 and paragraph 4 of Article 14, the US government may treat juveniles as adults, and accept
volunteers to the military prior to the age of 18. The United States also submitted five
"understandings", and four "declarations".
The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea drafted a note about the withdrawal from the
Covenant on August 23, 1997.

o
o

Parties to the Covenant


State
Date signed

Date ratified,

Notes

acceded or
succeeded
Afghanistan (Islamic
Republic of)

24 Jan 1983

Albania(Republic of)

Algeria
Andorra
Angola
Argentine Republic
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belarus

10 Dec 1968
5 Aug 2002

Belgium
Belize
Benin

10 Dec 1968

Bolivia, Plurinational
State of

19 Feb 1968
18 Dec 1972
10 Dec 1973
4 Dec 2008

19 Mar 1968

4 Oct 1991
12 Sep 1989
22 Sep 2006
10 Jan 1992
8 Aug 1986
23 Jun 1993
13 Aug 1980
10 Sept 1978
13 Aug 1992
23 Dec 2008
20 Sept 2006
6 Sept 2000
5 Jan 1973
12 Nov 1973
21 Apr 1983
10 Jun 1996
12 Mar 1992
12 Aug 1982

Acceded as
Afghanistan

the Democratic

Republic

of

Signed and ratified as the Byelorussian Soviet


Socialist Republic

Acceded as the Republic of Bolivia

Bosnia
Herzegovina

and

Botswana
Brazil
Bulgaria

8 Sept 2000
12 Dec 1991
8 Oct 1968

Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Central
Republic

1 Sept 1993

17 Oct 1980

African

Chad
Chile
China,
People's
Republic of
Colombia
Comoros
Congo
Costa Rica
Cte d'Ivoire
Republic of Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic

16 Sep 1969
5 Oct 1998
21 Dec 1966
25 Sep 2008
19 Dec 1966

28 Feb 2008
19 Dec 1966

Korea, Democratic
People's Republic
of

20 Mar 1968

Egypt, Arab Republic of

El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Finland
France

4 Apr 1968
4 Aug 1967
21 Sept 1967

11 Oct 1967

Signed and ratified as the People's Republic of


Bulgaria
Signed as Democratic Kampuchea

9 Jun 1995
10 Feb 1972
Republic of China had signed on 5 October
1967
29 Oct 1969
5 Oct 1983
29 Nov 1968
26 Mar 1992
Oct 12 1992
2 Apr 1969
22 Feb 1993

1 Nov 1976

Dominican Republic

Ecuador

4 Jan 1999
9 May 1990
26 May 1992
27 Jun 1984
19 May 1976
6 Aug 1993
8 May 1981

14 Sept 1981

Congo, Democratic
Republic of

Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica

8 Sept 2000
24 Jan 1992
21 Sept 1970

Succeeded as Republic of Bosnia and


Herzegovina from the Socialist Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia

6 Jan 1972
5 Nov 2002
17 Jun 1993
4 Jan 1978
6 Mar 1969
14 Jan 1982
30 Nov 1979
25 Sept 1987
22 Jan 2002
21 Oct 1991
11 Jun 1993
19 Aug 1975
4 Nov 1980

Ratified as the People's Republic of the Congo


Succeeded from the Socialist Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia
Signed 7 October 1968 and ratified 23 December
1975 as Czechoslovak Socialist Republic

Sought withdrawal on 25 August 1997 but


Secretariat stated Covenant has no withdrawal
provision so could not withdraw without
approval of all states
Ratified as the Republic of Zaire

Signed as the United Arab Republic

Gabon
Gambia
Georgia, Republic of

Germany, Federal 9 Oct 1968


Republic of
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guatemala
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Hungary

7 Sept 2000

28 Feb 1967
12 Sept 2000
22 Aug 1968
19 Dec 1966
25 Mar 1969

21 Jan 1983
22 Mar 1979
3 May 1994
17 Dec 1973
7 Sep 2000
5 May 1997
6 Sept 1991
5 May 1992
24 Jan 1978
1 Nov 2010
15 Feb 1977
6 Feb 1991
25 Aug 1997
17 Jan 1974

Iceland
30 Dec 1968
India
Indonesia
Iran,
Islamic 4 Apr 1968
Republic of
Iraq
18 Feb 1969
Ireland
1 Oct 1973
Israel
19 Dec 1966
Italy
18 Jan 1967
Jamaica
19 Dec 1966
Japan
30 May 1978
Jordan
30 Jun 1972
Kazakhstan
2 Dec 2003
Kenya
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Lao People's Democratic 7 Dec 2000

22 Aug 1979
10 Apr 1979
23 Feb 2006
24 Jun 1975

Latvia
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
18 Apr 1967
Libya
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
26 Nov 1974
Madagascar
17 Sept 1969
Malawi
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Mauritania, Islamic

14 Apr 1992
3 Nov 1972
9 Sept 1992
22 Sept 2004
15 May 1970
10 Dec 1998
20 Nov 1991
18 Aug 1983
21 Jun 1971
22 Dec 1993
19 Sept 2006
16 Jul 1974
13 Sept 1990
17 Nov 2004

Republic

The German Democratic Republic had signed on 23


March 1973 and ratified on 8 November 1973 the
Covenant with reservations and declarations

Signed and ratified as the People's Republic of


Hungary

Signed and ratified as Empire of Iran

25 Jan 1971
8 Dec 1989
3 Oct 1991
15 Sept 1978
3 Oct 1975
21 Jun 1979
28 May 1975
24 Jan 2006
1 May 1972
21 May 1996
7 Oct 1994
25 Sept 2009

Signed and ratified as the Libyan Arab Republic

Signed and ratified as the Malagasy Republic

Republic of
Mauritius
Mexico
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Nauru
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
Norway
Pakistan
Palau
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Korea, Republic of
Moldova
Romania
Russian Federation
Rwanda
Samoa
San Marino
Sao Tome & Principe

Senegal
Serbia

26 Jun 1997
5 Jun 1968
19 Jan 1977

12 Dec 1973
23 Mar 1981
28 Aug 1997
18 Nov 1974
23 Oct 2006
3 May 1979
21 Jul 1993
28 Nov 1994

12 Nov 2001
25 Jun 1969
12 Nov 1968

20 Mar 1968
17 Apr 2008
20 Sept 2011
27 Jul 1976
11 Aug 1977
19 Dec 1966
2 Mar 1967
7 Oct 1976
27 Jun 1968
18 Mar 1968

31 Oct 1995
6 Jul 1970

14 May 1991
11 Dec 1978
28 Dec 1978
12 Mar 1980
7 Mar 1986
29 Jul 1993
13 Sep 1972
23 Jun 2010
8 Mar 1977
21 Jul 2008
10 Jun 1992
28 Apr 1978
23 Oct 1986
18 Mar 1977
15 Jun 1978
10 Apr 1990
26 Jan 1993
9 Dec 1974
16 Oct 1973
16 Apr 1975
15 Feb 2008
18 Oct 1985
13 Feb 1978
12 Mar 2001

Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Slovakia

5 May 1992
23 Aug 1996
28 May 1993

Slovenia

6 Jul 1992

Somalia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
St. Lucia

24 Jan 1990
10 Dec 1998
27 Apr 1977
11 Jun 1980

St. Vincent and the

Signed and ratified as the Mongolian People's Republic

3 Oct 1994
28 Sep 1976
22 Sep 2011

9 Nov 1981

Signed as the Kingdom of Nepal

Signed and ratified as the People's Republic of Poland

Succeeded from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

The former Yugoslavia had signed the Covenant on


8 August 1967 and ratified it on 2 June 1971

Signed 7 October 1968 and ratified 23 December


1975 as Czechoslovakia
The former Yugoslavia had signed the Covenant on
8 August 1967 and ratified it on 2 June 1971

Grenadines

Sudan
Suriname
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland

29 Sept 1967

Syrian Arab Republic

Tajikistan
Thailand
Former
Yugoslav
Republic
of
Macedonia

18 Mar 1986
28 Dec 1976
26 Mar 2004
6 Dec 1971
18 Jun 1992
21 Apr 1969
4 Jan 1999
29 Oct 1996
18 Jan 1994

Timor-Leste
Togolese Republic
Trinidad
and
Tobago
Tunisia
30 Apr 1968
Turkey (Republic of)
15 Aug 2000
Turkmenistan
Uganda
Ukraine
20 Mar 1968

18 Sep 2003
24 May 1984
21 Dec 1978

United Kingdom of
Great Britain and
Northern Ireland

16 Sept 1968

20 May 1976

5 Oct 1977

11 Jun 1976
8 Jun 1992

Tanzania
United States
America

Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe
o

of

21 Feb 1967
29 Nov 2007
24 Jun 1969

18 Mar 1969
23 Sept 2003
1 May 1997
21 Jun 1995
12 Nov 1973

Acceded as the Democratic Republic of Sudan

The former Yugoslavia had signed the Covenant on


8 August 1967 and ratified it on 2 June 1971

Signed and ratified as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist


Republic

1 Apr 1970
28 Sept 1995
21 Nov 2008
10 May 1978
24 Sept 1982
9 Feb 1987
10 Apr 1984
13 May 1991

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights also amplifies the rights set
forth in the Universal Declaration. Aside from the economic, social and cultural rights, the
Covenant guarantees two collective rights: the right of self-determination and the right of all
peoples to freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources. Article 2 of the Covenant
requires states to take steps to the maximum of its available resources with a view to achieving
progressively the rights in the Covenant. In addition, the state may limit rights for the purpose
of promoting the general welfare in a democratic society. Implementation is limited only to the
review of periodic state reports by the Economic and Social Council which built an expert
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to review reports and which also issues
General Comments.
This Covenant is monitored by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

o
o
o

The ratification of this Covenant does not necessarily denote that the state party will do
everything to give the fast effect to all the rights it articulates, rather the state party is to take
individual and baby steps through international assistance and cooperation and to the maximum
capability of its available resources.
This Covenant demands state parties to provide reports on the measures which they have
adopted and the progress made in achieving the observance of the rights recognized herein.
ECOSOC Resolution 1985/17 of May 22, 1985 ended up for the establishment of the
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
In the early part of 1990, the ESC Committee tackled about the optional protocol that will build
individual complaints mechanism for the ICESCR. It was on December 10, 2008 that the
Optional Protocol was adopted. Article 2 of the Optional Protocol articulates that
communications may be passed by or on behalf of individuals or groups of individuals, under the
jurisdiction of a state party.

The Covenant follows the structure of the UDHR and ICCPR, with a preamble and thirty-one
articles, divided into five parts.
Part 1 (Article 1) recognises the right of all peoples to self-determination, including the right to
"freely determine their political status", pursue their economic, social and cultural goals, and
manage and dispose of their own resources. It recognises a negative right of a people not to be
deprived of its means of subsistence, and imposes an obligation on those parties still responsible
for non-self governing and trust territories (colonies) to encourage and respect their selfdetermination.
Part 2 (Articles 2 5) establishes the principle of "progressive realisation" see below. It also
requires the rights be recognised "without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex,
language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other
status". The rights can only be limited by law, in a manner compatible with the nature of the rights,
and only for the purpose of "promoting the general welfare in a democratic society".
Part 3 (Articles 6 15) lists the rights themselves. These include rights to
work, under "just and favourable conditions, with the right to form and join trade unions
(Articles 6, 7, and 8);
social security, including social insurance (Article 9);
family life, including paid parental leave and the protection of children (Article 10);
an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and the
"continuous improvement of living conditions" (Article 11);
health, specifically "the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health" (Article 12);
education, including free universal primary education, generally available secondary education
and equally accessible higher education. This should be directed to "the full development of
the human personality and the sense of its dignity", and enable all persons to participate
effectively in society (Articles 13 and 14);
participation in cultural life (Article 15).
Many of these rights include specific actions which must be undertaken to realise them.
Part 4 (Articles 16 25) governs reporting and monitoring of the Covenant and the steps taken
by the parties to implement it. It also allows the monitoring body originally the United Nations
Economic and Social Council now the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights see
below to make general recommendations to the UN General Assembly on appropriate
measures to realise the rights (Article 21)
Part 5 (Articles 26 31) governs ratification, entry into force, and amendment of the Covenant.

Reservations
Algeria interprets parts of Article 13, protecting the liberty of parents to freely choose or
establish suitable educational institutions, so as not to "impair its right freely to organize its
educational system."
Bangladesh interprets the self-determination clause in Article 1 as applying in the historical
context of colonialism. It also reserves the right to interpret the labour rights in Articles 7 and 8
and the non-discrimination clauses of Articles 2 and 3 within the context of its constitution and
domestic law.
Belgium interprets non-discrimination as to national origin as "not necessarily implying an
obligation on States automatically to guarantee to foreigners the same rights as to their
nationals. The term should be understood to refer to the elimination of any arbitrary behaviour
but not of differences in treatment based on objective and reasonable considerations, in
conformity with the principles prevailing in democratic societies."
China restricts labour rights in Article 8 in a manner consistent with its constitution and
domestic law.
Egypt accepts the Covenant only to the extent it does not conflict with Islamic Sharia law.
Sharia is "a primary source of legislation" under Article 2 of both the suspended 1973
Constitution and the2011 Provisional Constitutional Declaration.
France views the Covenant as subservient to the UN Charter. It also reserves the right to
govern the access of aliens to employment, social security, and other benefits.
India interprets the right of self-determination as applying "only to the peoples under foreign
domination"[1] and not to apply to peoples within sovereign nation-states. It also interprets the
limitation of rights clause and the rights of equal opportunity in the workplace within the
context of its constitution.
Indonesia interprets the self-determination clause (Article 1) within the context of other
international law and as not applying to peoples within a sovereign nation-state.
Ireland reserves the right to promote the Irish language.
Japan reserved the right not to be bound to progressively introduce free secondary and higher
education, the right to strike for public servant and the remuneration on public holidays.
Kuwait interprets the non-discrimination clauses of Articles 2 and 3 within its constitution and
laws, and reserves the right to social security to apply only to Kuwaitis. It also reserves the right
to forbid strikes.
Mexico restricts the labour rights in Article 8 within the context of its constitution and laws.
Monaco interprets the principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of national origin as "not
necessarily implying an automatic obligation on the part of States to guarantee foreigners the
same rights as their nationals", and reserves the right to set residence requirements on the
rights to work, health, education, and social security.
New Zealand reserved the right not to apply Article 8 (the right to form and join trade
unions) insofar as existing measures (which at the time included compulsory unionism and
encouraged arbitration of disputes) were incompatible with it.
Norway reserves the right to strike so as to allow for compulsory arbitration of some labour
disputes.
Pakistan has a general reservation to interpret the Covenant within the framework of its
constitution.
Thailand interprets the right to self-determination within the framework of other international
law.
Trinidad and Tobago reserves the right to restrict the right to strike of those engaged in
essential occupations.

Turkey will implement the Covenant subject to the UN Charter. It also reserves the right to
interpret and implement the right of parents to choose and establish educational institutions in a
manner compatible with its constitution.
United Kingdom views the Covenant as subservient to the UN Charter. It made several
reservations regarding its overseas territories.
United States Amnesty International writes that "The United States signed the Covenant in
1979 under the Carter administration but is not fully bound by it until it is ratified. For political
reasons, the Carter administration did not push for the necessary review of the Covenant by
the Senate, which must give its 'advice and consent' before the US can ratify a treaty. The
Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations took the view that economic, social, and cultural
rights were not really rights but merely desirable social goals and therefore should not be the
object of binding treaties. The Clinton Administration did not deny the nature of these rights
but did not find it politically expedient to engage in a battle with Congress over the Covenant.
The George W. Bush administration followed in line with the view of the previous Bush
administration." The Obama Administration stated "The Administration does not seek action at
this time" on the Covenant. The Heritage Foundation, a critical conservative think tank, argues
that signing it would obligate the introduction of policies that it opposes such as universal health
care.
o

Parties to the Covenant


State

Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Angola
Argentina
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Benin

Date signed

10 Dec 1968
19 Feb 1968
18 Dec 1972
10 Dec 1973
4 Dec 2008

19 Mar 1968
10 Dec 1968
6 Sep 2000

12 Mar 1992
12 Aug 1982
1 Sep 1993

Plurinational State of Bolivia

Bosnia and Herzegovina


Brazil
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burundi

Date
ratified,
acceded or
succeeded
24 Jan 1983
4 Oct 1991
12 Sep 1989
10 Jan 1992
8 Aug 1986
13 Sep 1993
10 Dec 1975
10 Sep 1978
13 Aug 1992
23 Dec 2008
27 Sep 2007
5 Oct 1998
5 Jan 1973
12 Nov 1973
21 Apr 1983

8 Oct 1968

24 Jan 1992
21 Sep 1970
4 Jan 1999
9 May 1990

Notes

The former Yugoslavia had signed the


Covenant on 8 August 1967 and ratified it
on 2 June 1971.

Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
China

17 Oct 1980

26 May 1992

16 Sep 1969
27 Oct 1997

27 Jun 1984
19 May 1976
6 Aug 1993
8 May 1981
9 Jun 1995
10 Feb 1972
27 Mar 2001

Colombia
Comoros
Congo
Costa Rica
Cte d'Ivoire
Croatia

21 Dec 1966
25 Sep 2008

Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic

28 Feb 2008
9 Jan 1967

19 Dec 1966

Democratic
People's
Republic of Korea
Democratic Republic of the
Congo

Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia
Finland
France
Gabon
Gambia
Georgia
Germany

Ghana
Greece
Grenada

Democratic Kampuchea had signed


Covenant on 17 October 1980

the

The Republic of China had signed on 5


October 1967

29 Oct 1969
5 Oct 1983
29 Nov 1968
26 Mar 1992
12 Oct 1992

2 Apr 1969
22 Feb 1993

The former Yugoslavia had signed the


Covenant on 8 August 1967 and ratified it
on 2 June 1971.

Czechoslovakia had signed the Covenant on


7 October 1968 and ratified it on 23
December 1975.

14 Sep 1981
1 Nov 1976
20 Mar 1968

29 Sep 1967
4 Aug 1967
21 Sep 1967

11 Oct 1967

9 Oct 1968

7 Sep 2000

6 Jan 1972
5 Nov 2002
17 Jun 1993
4 Jan 1978
6 Mar 1969
14 Jan 1982
30 Nov 1979
25 Sep 1987
17 Apr 2001
21 Oct 1991
11 Jun 1993
19 Aug 1975
4 Nov 1980
21 Jan 1983
29 Dec 1978
3 May 1994
17 Dec 1973

7 Sep 2000
16 May 1985
6 Sep 1991

The German
Democratic
Republic had
signed and ratified the Convention with
reservations on 27 March 1973 and 8
November 1973

Guatemala
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Guyana
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Iraq
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Lao People's Democratic
Republic

Latvia
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Madagascar
Malawi
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mexico
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Morocco
Namibia
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger

28 Feb 1967
22 Aug 1968
19 Dec 1966
25 Mar 1969
30 Dec 1968
4 Apr 1968
18 Feb 1969
1 Oct 1973
19 Dec 1966
18 Jan 1967
19 Dec 1966
30 May 1978
30 Jun 1972
2 Dec 2003

7 Dec 2000

18 Apr 1967

26 Nov 1974
14 Apr 1970

22 Oct 1968

26 Jun 1997
5 Jun 1968
19 Jan 1977
25 Jun 1969
12 Nov 1968

19 May 1988
24 Jan 1978
2 Jul 1992
15 Feb 1977
17 Feb 1981
17 Jan 1974
22 Aug 1979
10 Apr 1979
23 Feb 2006
24 Jun 1975
25 Jan 1971
8 Dec 1989
3 Oct 1991
15 Sep 1978
3 Oct 1975
21 Jun 1979
28 May 1975
24 Jan 2006
1 May 1972
21 May 1996
7 Oct 1994
13 Feb 2007
14 Apr 1992
3 Nov 1972
9 Sep 1992
22 Sep 2004
15 May 1970
10 Dec 1998
20 Nov 1991
18 Aug 1983
22 Sep 1971
22 Dec 1993
19 Sep 2006
16 Jul 1974
13 Sep 1990
17 Nov 2004
12 Dec 1973
23 Mar 1981
28 Aug 1997
18 Nov 1974
23 Oct 2006
3 May 1979
28 Nov 1994
14 May 1991
11 Dec 1978
28 Dec 1978
12 Mar 1980
7 Mar 1986

Nigeria
Norway
Pakistan
Palau
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Republic of Korea
Republic of Moldova
Romania
Russian Federation
Rwanda
San Marino
Sao Tome and Principe
Senegal
Serbia

20 Mar 1968
3 Nov 2004
20 Sep 2011
27 Jul 1976
11 Aug 1977
19 Dec 1966
2 Mar 1967
7 Oct 1976
27 Jun 1968
18 Mar 1968
31 Oct 1995
6 Jul 1970

Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Slovakia

13 Feb 1978
12 Mar 2001

6 Jul 1992

Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
and

The former Yugoslavia had signed the


Covenant on 8 August 1967 and ratified it
on 2 June 1971.

Czechoslovakia had signed the Covenant on


7 October 1968 and ratified it on 23
December 1975.
The former Yugoslavia had signed the
Covenant on 8 August 1967 and ratified it
on 2 June 1971.

17 Mar 1982
24 Jan 1990
3 Oct 1994
28 Sep 1976
the

Sudan
Suriname
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Syrian Arab Republic
Tajikistan
Thailand
The former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia
Timor-Leste
Togo

8 Mar 1977
21 Jul 2008
10 Jun 1992
28 Apr 1978
7 Jun 1974
18 Mar 1977
31 Jul 1978
10 Apr 1990
26 Jan 1993
9 Dec 1974
16 Oct 1973
16 Apr 1975
18 Oct 1985

5 May 1992
23 Aug 1996
28 May 1993

Slovenia

St.
Vincent
Grenadines

29 Jul 1993
13 Sep 1972
17 Apr 2008

29 Sep 1967

27 Apr 1977
11 Jun 1980
9 Nov 1981
18 Mar 1986
28 Dec 1976
26 Mar 2004
6 Dec 1971
18 Jun 1992
21 Apr 1969
4 Jan 1999
5 Sep 1999
18 Jan 1994
16 Apr 2003
24 May 1984

The former Yugoslavia had signed the


Covenant on 8 August 1967 and ratified it
on 2 June 1971.

Trinidad and Tobago


Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Uganda
Ukraine
United Kingdom of Great
Britain
and
Northern
Ireland
United Republic of Tanzania

30 Apr 1968
15 Aug 2000
20 Mar 1968
16 Sep 1968

11 Jun 1976

United States of America


Uruguay
Uzbekistan

5 Oct 1977
21 Feb 1967

Venezuela
Republic of)

24 Jun 1969

(Bolivarian

8 Dec 1978
18 Mar 1969
23 Sep 2003
1 May 1997
21 Jan 1987
12 Nov 1973
20 May 1976

Viet Nam
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe

1 Apr 1970
28 Sep 1995
10 May 1978
24 Sep 1982
9 Feb 1987
10 Apr 1984
13 May 1991

Effected as Yemen Arab Republic

Human Rights Institutions


UN Charter allows various bodies to articulate and oversee compliance with human rights
together with the Commission on Human Rights, UN Commissioner for Human Rights,
Commission on the Status of Women and Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of
Human Rights.
o Commission on Human Rights: ECOSOC in 1946, built this commission in relation to Article 68
of the Charter. There are over 50 representatives that act as representatives of their
governments not as experts. It heads in the formulation of the Covenants and Universal
Declaration and takes on the responsibility for addressing human rights violations.
o UN Commissioner for Human Rights: The General Assembly created this post in 1993 which
acts as an overseer of all UN human rights activities.
o Commission on the Status of Women: In 1946, it was established by ECOSOC as a post that
oversees womens issues/
o The Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: Formerly known as
the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. The
representatives of this commission are elected by the Human Rights Commission. This post
studies human rights issues and reports to the Human Rights Commission. Also responsible for
addressing large-scale, gross violations of human rights under ECOSOC Resolutions 1235 and
1503. Resolution 1235 authorizes both Commissions to address any consistent pattern of
violations of human rights such as apartheid; either one may undertake a thorough study to
be provided to ECOSOC. Resolution 1503 authorizes individuals and groups to bring to the
attention of the Sub-Commission a consistent pattern of gross and reliably attested violations
of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Specialized Agencies of UN
o International Labor Organization (ILO)
o United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
o

Commission on Human Rights

Other Human Rights Instruments on the Universal Level


o 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide
o 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
o 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
o 1984 Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment
o 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child
o Other human rights treaties by the ILO, UNESCO and specialized agencies of UN.

OTHER CORE UN HUMAN RIGHTS TREATIES


Aside from the International Bill of Human Rights, the UN has over the years promulgated a large
number of treaties dealing with specific types of human rights violations such as genocide, racial
discrimination, apartheid, discrimination against women, torture, etc.
Each of the core human rights treaties accounts for the establishment of a committee of
independent experts to monitor implementation of the treaty provisions by states parties.
Treaty body is directed to consider periodic state reports containing information on steps taken to
implement the provisions of the relevant treaties.
o The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
Adopted on December 9, 1948
Entered into force on January 12, 1951
The extermination of millions of Jews and member of other national, ethnic and
religious groups during the Nazi Holocaust prompted the adoption of Genocide
Convention
Genocide whether committed in time of peace and war is a crime under
international law.
Crime under international law : grave offense against the law of nations for which
the individual perpetrator is punishable.
persons committing genocide shall be punished whether they are constitutionally
responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals (Article IV of the Genocide
Convention).
Genocide, with intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or
religious group as such (Article II)
Acts of constituting genocide: killing members of the group, causing serious bodily
or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group
conditions of life calculated to bring about it physical destruction in whole or part,
imposing measure intended to prevent births within group, and forcibly transferring
children of the group to another group.
o International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination
Adopted in 1965
Entered into force in 1969
The most comprehensive and unambiguous codification in treaty form of the idea of
the equality of races.
racial discrimination, any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on
race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin having the purpose or effect of
nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise on an equal footing of
human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or
any other field of public life (Article 1(1)).
States Parties to the Convention have the legal obligation to eliminate racial
discrimination in their territory and to enact whatever laws are necessary to ensure
non-discrimination in the exercise and enjoyment of various human rights.
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD): composed of 18
members elected by States Parties; first UN human rights treaty body; functioning
since 1970; reviews the periodic reports the States Parties prepare

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women


Adopted on December 18, 1979
Entered into force on September 3, 1981
Seeks to end discrimination against women, defined as any distinction, exclusion, or
restriction made on the basis of sex that impairs the enjoyment by women of human
rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any
other field (Article 1).
States Parties must embody the principle of equality of men and women and to take
a series of measures in the political, social, economic, and cultural realm to advance
enjoyment of equal rights by women in all walks of life.
CEDAW Committee: consists of 23 experts elected by States Parties, something of
a stepchild among UN human rights treaty organs, expanded powers on October 6,
1999 and entered into for on December 22, 2000 due to an optional protocol giving
the committee the power to accept and consider communications.
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment
Adopted on December 10, 1984
Entered into force on June 28, 1987
Designed to prevent and punish torture committed by or at the instigation of or
with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an
official capacity (Article 1(1)).
Torture any act by which severe pain or suffering whether physical or mental in
intentionally inflicted on a person for the purpose inter alia or obtaining from him or
a third person information or a confession (Article 1(1)).
There are no exceptional circumstances whatsoever to justify torture and that no
orders from superior officers or a public authority may be invoked as a justification.
(Article 2(2) and 2(3)).
Committee on Torture: measure of supervision, investigatory actions
Convention on the Rights of a Child
Adopted on November 20, 1989
Entered into force on September 2, 1990
Mid 2009: garnered 193 ratifications making it the most widely accepted of all
human rights treaties.
Among UN members, Somalia and US did not ratify the Convention
State Parties must accord children an extensive catalog of civil, political, economic,
social and cultural rights
Child defined every human being below the age of eighteen unless under the law
applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier (Article 1)
Committee on the Rights of a Child (CRC): examining progress made by the States
Parties in achieving the realization of the obligations undertaken in the present
Convention, composed of ten members
Two optional protocols adopted on May 25, 2000 by the General Assembly: (a)
involvement of the children in armed conflicts entered into force on February 13,
2002 aimed to raise the minimum of age of persons participating in armed conflicts
to 18 and (b) sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, entered into
force on January 18, 2002 aimed to criminalized the acts and activities in the
protocol and states must either prosecute and extradite offenders found in their
territory.

International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant


Workers and Members of their Families
Adopted on December 18, 1990
Entered into force in July 1, 2003
Reflects the competing interests of sending and receiving states and the considerable
concern states have about controlling entry into their territory.
Part 1: migrant worker as a person who is to be engaged or has been engaged in
remunerated activity in a State of which he or she is not a national included are the
frontier workers, seasonal workers, seafarers, workers on offshore installations,
itinerant workers, migrants employed for a specific project and self-employed
workers
Part II: rights are to be made available to all migrants without discrimination
Part III: lists the rights of all migrant workers regardless of their legal status; rights
to life, privacy, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, freedom from
torture, slavery, arbitrary arrest and detention, equality before the law and consular
protection.
Part IV: additional rights for lawfully resident migrants
Part V: rights for workers in categories of employment
Part VI: provisions relating to international cooperation and coordination in the
management of legal migration and prevention or reduction of irregular movements
Committee on Migrant Workers: ten independent experts of high moral character,
impartiality and competent, members are elected for a term of four years,
membership increases to fourteen once the Convention has forty one states parties,
provision of comments, recommendations, inter-state complaints procedure.

Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities


Adopted on December 13, 2006
Entered into force on May 3, 2008.
As of 2009, there were sixty four States Parties
Aims to combat discrimination against persons with disabilities and to guarantee
them the exercise of human rights.
States Parties are committed to develop and carry our policies, laws and
administrative measures for securing the rights recognized in the Convention and
abolish laws, regulations, customs and practices constituting discrimination
Persons with disabilities are assured their right to enjoy inherent right to life on an
equal basis to other (Article 10).
Children with disabilities shall have equal rights, shall not be separated from their
parents against their will except when the authorities determine that this is in the
childs best interests and in no case shall be separated from their parents on the
basis of a disability of either of the child or the parents (Article 23).
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons From Enforced
Disappearance
Adopted on December 20, 2006
Not in force as of August 2009 (since it was only ratified by 14 states: Albania,
Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, France, Honduras, Japan, Khazakstan, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria,
Senegal and Uruguay).
Non-derogable right of any person not be subjected to enforced disappearance
Enforced disappearance defined as the arrest, detention, abduction or any form of
deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons

acting with the authorization, support of acquiescence of the State, followed by a


refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or
whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the
protection of the law (Article 2 of the Convention).
States Parties are to investigate any act defined in Article 2 and must take measures
to enforce the law through prosecution and punishment when they have jurisdiction
to do so.
Committee on Enforced Disappearances: deal with cases of enforced disappearances
that happen after the Convention comes into force. States Parties submit a report
to the committee and the committee issues comments, observations and
recommendations and may carry out country visits.
UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights
records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years.
The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the
opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights
situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations.
As one of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every
country when their human rights situations are assessed.
The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251,
which established the Human Rights Council itself. It is a cooperative process which, by 2011, will have
reviewed the human rights records of every country. Currently, no other universal mechanism of this
kind exists.
The UPR is one of the key elements of the new Council which reminds States of their responsibility to
fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The ultimate aim of this new
mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations
wherever they occur.
What is the Universal Periodic Review?
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human
rights records of all 193 UN Member States. The UPR is a significant innovation of the Human Rights
Council which is based on equal treatment for all countries. It provides an opportunity for all States to
declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to
overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights. The UPR also includes a sharing of best human
rights practices around the globe. Currently, no other mechanism of this kind exists.
How was the UPR established?
The UPR was established when the Human Rights Council was created on 15 March 2006 by the UN
General Assembly in resolution 60/251. This mandated the Council to "undertake a universal periodic
review, based on objective and reliable information, of the fulfilment by each State of its human rights
obligations and commitments in a manner which ensures universality of coverage and equal treatment
with respect to all States. On 18 June 2007, one year after its first meeting, members of the new

Council agreed to its institution-building package (A/HRC/RES/5/1) providing a road map guiding the
future work of the Council. One of the key elements of this package was the new Universal Periodic
Review. The mechanism was further refined during the review process through resolution 16/21 and
decision 17/119. These two documents provided the necessary modifications of modalities for the
review in the second and subsequent cycles.
What is the goal of the UPR?
The ultimate goal of UPR is the improvement of the human rights situation in every country with
significant consequences for people around the globe. The UPR is designed to prompt, support, and
expand the promotion and protection of human rights on the ground. To achieve this, the UPR involves
assessing States human rights records and addressing human rights violations wherever they occur. The
UPR also aims to provide technical assistance to States and enhance their capacity to deal effectively
with human rights challenges and to share best practices in the field of human rights among States and
other stakeholders.
When will States have their human rights records reviewed by the UPR?
During the first cycle, all UN Member States have been reviewed, with 48 States reviewed each year.
The second cycle, which officially started in May 2012 with the 13th session of the UPR Working Group,
will see 42 States reviewed each year. The reviews take place during the sessions of the UPR Working
Group (see below) which meets three times a year. The order of review remains the same as in the first
cycle and the number of States reviewed at each session is now 14 instead of 16.
Who conducts the review?
The reviews are conducted by the UPR Working Group which consists of the 47 members of the
Council; however any UN Member State can take part in the discussion/dialogue with the reviewed
States. Each State review is assisted by groups of three States, known as troikas, who serve as
rapporteurs. The selection of the troikas for each State is done through a drawing of lots following
elections for the Council membership in the General Assembly.
What are the reviews based on?
The documents on which the reviews are based are: 1) information provided by the State under review,
which can take the form of a national report; 2) information contained in the reports of independent
human rights experts and groups, known as the Special Procedures, human rights treaty bodies, and
other UN entities; 3) information from other stakeholders including national human rights institutions
and non-governmental organizations.
How are the reviews conducted?
Reviews take place through an interactive discussion between the State under review and other UN
Member States. This takes place during a meeting of the UPR Working Group. During this discussion
any UN Member State can pose questions, comments and/or make recommendations to the States
under review. The troikas may group issues or questions to be shared with the State under review to
ensure that the interactive dialogue takes place in a smooth and orderly manner. The duration of the
review was three hours for each country in the Working Group during the first cycle. From the second
cycle onwards the time has been extended to three hours and thirty minutes.

Can non-governmental organizations (NGOs) participate in the UPR process?


Yes. NGOs can submit information which can be added to the other stakeholders report which is
considered during the review. Information they provide can be referred to by any of the States taking
part in the interactive discussion during the review at the Working Group meeting. NGOs can attend
the UPR Working Group sessions and can make statements at the regular session of the Human Rights
Council when the outcome of the State reviews is considered. OHCHR has released "Technical
guidelines for the submission of stakeholders
What human rights obligations are addressed?
The UPR will assess the extent to which States respect their human rights obligations set out in: (1)
the UN Charter; (2) the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; (3) human rights instruments to which
the State is party (human rights treaties ratified by the State concerned); (4) voluntary pledges and
commitments made by the State (e.g. national human rights policies and/or programmes implemented);
and, (5) applicable international humanitarian law.
What is the outcome of the review?
Following the review by the Working Group, a report is prepared by the troika with the involvement of
the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. This report, referred to as the outcome
report, provides a summary of the actual discussion. It therefore consists of the questions, comments
and recommendations made by States to the country under review, as well as the responses by the
reviewed State.
How is the review adopted?
During the Working Group session half an hour is allocated to adopt each of the outcome reports for
the States reviewed that session. These take place no sooner than 48 hours after the country review.
The reviewed State has the opportunity to make preliminary comments on the recommendations
choosing to either accept or note them. Both accepted and noted recommendations are included in the
report. After the report has been adopted, editorial modifications can be made to the report by States
on their own statements within the following two weeks. The report then has to be adopted at a
plenary session of the Human Rights Council. During the plenary session, the State under review can
reply to questions and issues that were not sufficiently addressed during the Working Group and
respond to recommendations that were raised by States during the review. Time is also allotted to
member and observer States who may wish to express their opinion on the outcome of the review and
for NHRIs, NGOs and other stakeholders to make general comments.
What steps are taken as follow up to the review?
The State has the primary responsibility to implement the recommendations contained in the final
outcome. The UPR ensures that all countries are accountable for progress or failure in implementing
these recommendations. During the second review the State is expected to provide information on
what they have been doing to implement the recommendations made during the first review as well as
on any developments in the field of human rights. The international community will assist in
implementing the recommendations and conclusions regarding capacity-building and technical assistance,
in consultation with the country concerned. If necessary, the Council will address cases where States
are not co-operating.

What happens if a State is not cooperating with the UPR?


The Human Rights Council will decide on the measures it would need to take in case of persistent nonco-operation by a State with the UPR.
THE INTERNATIONAL COURTS
The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the UN
o All UN members are parties to the ICJ Statute and must consent to jurisdiction.
o Fifteen judges are elected with regard for balanced distribution.
o The ICJ has contentious (binding) and advisory (non-binding) jurisdiction.
o The ICJ has compulsory jurisdiction for the interpretation of a treaty, a question of international
law, the existence of any fact which would constitute a breach of international obligation and the
extent of any reparations resulting from the breach. A state may reserve acceptance of the ICJs
compulsory jurisdiction.
o The Security Council decides how to enforce the judgments of the Court
The International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over genocide, war crimes and crimes against
humanity.
o The ICC may only address a case if states with jurisdiction are unable or unwilling to prosecute.
The U.S. has refused to become a party to the treaty.
The Court of Justice of the European Union is the judicial organ of the EU.
o It acts as a referee between disputing member-states and guards against infringement of
individual rights by the EU institutions.
o Usually there is a judge from each member state and the court issues a single judgment of the
court after secret deliberations, protecting them from the pressure of national interest.
o Jurisdiction is conferred on it by treaties, with the power to hear direct actions or make
preliminary rulings.
o The Courts primary legislation includes the EUs constitutive treaties, while secondary
legislation consists the laws created by EU institutions.
REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
The UN encourages regional organizations to settle local disputes before referring them to the
Security Council, but the Security Council must authorize any enforcement actions. The Council
often chooses to defer to the jurisdiction of regional organizations.
The Organization of American States (OAS)
o The main functions of the OAS are to strengthen security, ensure peaceful dispute
resolution, and promoting economic, social, and cultural development. The OAS has drafted
many human rights treaties, but it is mildly successful in their ratification.
The Council of Europe
o The Council has been influential in incorporating human rights obligations into the economic
focus of the EU.
The African Union (OAU)
o The OAU is concerned primarily with noninterference and dispute resolution, but plays a
limited role in dealing with human rights conflicts regionally.

REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW AND INSTITUTIONS


The European System
Europe has the longest standing and most well developed regional system of human rights law.
o The European Convention on Human Rights is similar to the International Covenant, but fails to
recognize a peoples right to self-determination, the rights of certain minorities, and childrens
right. The European Social Charter recognizes a wider range of rights, but has not been ratified
by all the states.
o The European Commission of Human Rights hears cases between states (compulsory
jurisdiction) and with respect to individuals (optional jurisdiction). The European Court of
Human Rights has optional jurisdiction, but its judgments are binding and the Court may award
damages.
o Originally, the European Court of Human Rights could only hear cases after the review of the
Commission, but now all applications have direct access to the Court. The Court is the first
permanent, full-time human rights court and the execution of its judgments is overseen by the
Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
The Inter-American System
o The American declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man defines the fundamental rights of the
individual mandated of all members of the OAS Charter.
o The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) evolved from a body empowered
to prepare reports and make recommendations to the formal organ of the OAS to further the
American Declaration.
o The American Convention on Human Rights (which the U.S has not yet ratified) is similar to the
European Convention except that it does not include a wide range of economic or social rights.
It differs from other international regimes by making the right of individual petition mandatory
and interstate petitions optional for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which is
authorized to consider charges of rights violation under the Convention.
o The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has both contentious and advisory jurisdiction.
Contentious jurisdiction is optional, but the Courts judgment is final, binding and enforced by
the OAS. Advisory jurisdiction is not binding and allows the Court to give its opinions
interpreting the Convention and other American human rights treaties.
The African System
o The African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights guarantees a wide range of rights and
established a Commission to hear petitions. The African Court on Human and Peoples Rights
was established in 1998 Protocol, but has not yet gone into effect.
HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION BY THE U.N.
Historic Development of the Security Council
o The Security Council was established in the UN Charter in 1945 with fifteen members, five
permanent.
o The UNSC has the authority to take enforcement action to maintain or restore international
peace and security. It often must balance respecting state sovereignty and promoting human
rights.
o Any member of the UN may bring any dispute to the Security Council and a non-member may
bring a dispute if it agrees to the obligations of the settlement. All members of the UN must
accept and carry out the decisions of the UNSC.
Chapter VI: Pacific Settlement
o The first step of the Security Council is to seek a peaceful means of reconciliation, usually
mediation and preventative diplomacy.

Chapter VII: Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of
Aggression
o

o
o
o
o
o
o
o

When the Council has determined that one of the three above has occurred and peaceful
measures would be inadequate, it may take actions such as demonstrations, blockades, or
military operations to restore to the peace. The Council may not order states to participate in
military action.
The UN gradually adopted Chapter VII to provide a legal basis for humanitarian intervention.
Specific Enforcement Actions Under Chapter VII:
1991- The UN established safe heavens in northern Iraq to allow Kurdish exiles to return
under international protection.
1992- The UN first sent team to observe the administration of humanitarian aid in Somalia and
later authorized a U.S.-led military operation to deliver aid to Somalis.
In response to the bombing of villages in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the UN
authorized all necessary means to enforce No-Fly Zones over the area.
1994- The failure of the international community to respond to the genocide in Rwanda
prompted intense investigations as to how this inaction could be avoided in the future.
International Tribunal in Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR) were established with
jurisdiction over international criminal offenses such as genocide and crimes against humanity.

HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION BY STATES


Pro-Interventionist
Collective or individual humanitarian intervention may be defended as not being force directed against
the territorial integrity or political independence of the state concerned.
B. Anti- Interventionist
o Armed intervention is necessarily force against a states territorial integrity and none of the
narrow exceptions for the use of force include humanitarian intervention.
o The Security Council was subject to much criticism of its handling of the NATO bombings in
Kosovo and may re-evaluate the scope of humanitarian intervention.
THE HUMANITARIAN LAW OF ARMED CONFLICT
Sources of the Law of Armed Conflict
o Customary law and international treaties such as the Hague and Geneva Conventions are the
primary sources of armed conflict law.
Protections Provided by the Hague and Geneva Conventions
o Protection of the Individual
o Combatants (not only members of armed forces) are generally only protected by
limitations on weapons and tactics.
o Wounded, sick, or surrendered combatants are protected from further attack and must
be provided with medical care.
o POWs must be treated humanely (no torture, experimentation or invasions of personal
dignity) and released upon the conclusion of active hostilities.
o Civilians under enemy occupation must have various protected zones and delineated
rights under an occupied government.
o Protection of Property
o Military installations are subject to attack, but the commander of attacking forces must notify
the enemy.
o Undefended buildings or towns are not to be attacked.
o Medical facilities, works of art, and cultural property have special protection

Conflicts Encompassed by the Geneva Conventions and Protocols


o The Conventions in their entirety applies to international conflicts.
o Only article 3, concerning the humane treatment of non-combatants, applied to civil
wars until Protocol II was adopted in 1977, detailing more provisions for conflicts
between a states and dissident forces.
o Protocol I makes the Geneva conventions apply to wars of self-determination.
Sanctions and Enforcement
o The Hague Conventions are regarded as customary international law following the
Nuremburg Tribunal.
o The Geneva Conventions contain provisions allowing individuals to be criminally
prosecuted for violations although they are not entirely self-administered; the parties
interests are safeguard by a neutral power or humanitarian organization.
o Protocol I expands the substantive rules and procedural mechanisms of the Convention for
repression of breaches.
o The Charter of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremburg provided for individual
criminal responsibility for crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, or war crimes.
o Anyone participating in the execution of a common plan for these crimes is responsible
for all acts performed by any persons in the execution of the plan. The fact that an
individual was acting pursuant to orders is not a defense, but may be a mitigating factor.
SOURCES OF HUMAN RIGHTS LAW
Customary international law is important for its application to states not parties to treaties, as well
as its ability to supplement areas not addressed in treaties. It is difficult to establish, however,
because of a lack of consistency in state practices and because it is ascertained by subjective analysis.
Two Approaches to Customary International Law
o Objectivist/Sociological- universal and therefore binding on every state.
o Participatory/Voluntarist- applies only to those states that participated in the custom.
B. Establishment of an International Custom
o Quantitative factors include past state practice and duration of the state practice. To establish
custom definitively, the practice must be followed consistently by a number of states
representing diverse geographic, economic, and social characteristics. Customary law may also
be limited to a region or locality.
o A qualitative factor is opinio juris, the sense the legal obligation compelling states to follow a
certain practice.
C. Resolutions and Recommendations of International Organizations
o Resolutions are not legally binding, but are frequently used as evidence of customary
international law.
D. Application of International Customary Law
o Customary law enjoys universal application, with two exceptions: clear and consistent objection
and historic departure from a rule.
E. Relationship Between Treaties and Customary International Law
o Treaties may be given equal weight with custom, prevail over custom, be proof of custom, or
codify custom. Generally, they are given equal weight.

GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF LAW


A general principle of law is one so fundamental that it is a basic tenet in virtually every major legal
system. The principles fill in the gaps left by treaties and customary law, but these gaps are becoming
fewer. General principles continue to be applied in procedural matters and problems of international
judicial administration.
EXTRADITION
Obligation to Extradite
o In the absence of a treaty, there is no obligation to extradite. Some treaties provide that a state
cannot extradite its own nationals.
B. Extraditable Offenses
o Treaties often provide for extradition on grounds of double criminality, when the alleged
conduct is an offense in both the requisitioning and asylum state. A few treaties list extraditable
offenses.
C. Standard Treaty Limitations on Extradition
o Extradition may not be granted if the fugitive will be subject to discrimination.
o The request for extradition might require sufficient prima facie evidence of guilt.
o Most treaties contain exemptions for extradition for political offenses. Purely political offenses
include treason or espionage. Related political offenses have varying degrees of connection
between the crime and the political act. There is a growing trend to exempt acts of terrorism
from treatment as political offenses.
o The requisitioning nation cannot prosecute an extradited person for offenses other than those
stated as the grounds for extradition.
o The crime must have been committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the requisitioning
state.
o Exceptions for crimes of a religious, fiscal, or military nature are often included.
D. Methods to Avoid Extradition Treaties
o A potential asylum state may deny a fugitive permission to enter or deport the individual as an
undesirable alien. Occasionally, states recover fugitives by abduction from the asylum state.
ENFORCEMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS LAW IN THE U.S AND OTHER DOMESTIC
COURTS
Because the United States has failed to ratify so many human rights treaties, enforcement of human
rights largely depends on the incorporation of custom into U.S law by the courts.
The Alien Tort Statute
o The Statute gives the district jurisdiction over civil actions by an alien for a tort committed in
violation of the law of nations or a U.S. treaty.
B. U.S. Treaty Law
o The Supremacy Clause declares treaties to be on par with federal legislation. In the event of a
conflict, the last in time prevails.
o Self-executing treaties are directly enforceable in U.S. federal courts. Non-self-executing treaties
are only enforceable through implementing legislation. The Senate has characterized every
human rights treaty as non-self-executing.
o Every human rights treaty is accompanied by reservations, declarations, and understandings,
such as the Senate declarations concerning a treatys non-self-executing status.
o The Death Penalty arguably violates international law, but the U.S. has a specific reservation to
the ICJ preserving it.

o
o

According to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the counsel of any state whose
national is detained or arrested must be notified, and the person arrested must be informed of
their rights.
Despite growing recognition that sovereign immunity should not preclude prosecution for
certain international crimes, domestic courts continue to refuse consideration of such claims.

International Court of Justice


The principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN)
Established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.
The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands)
It is the only one not located in New York among the six principal organs
Role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States
and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations
organs and specialized agencies
Composed of 15 judges (elected for nine years) by the United Nations General Assembly and
the Security Council. It is assisted by a Registry, its administrative organ
Official languages are English and French.1
Chambers
The Court has three types of chamber:
the Chamber of Summary Procedure, comprising five judges, including the President and Vice-President,
and two substitutes, which the Court is required by Article 29 of the Statute to form annually with a
view to the speedy dispatch of business;
The current composition of this Chamber which, at the request of the parties, may hear and determine
cases by summary procedure is as follows:
Members:
President: Peter Tomka
Vice-President: Bernardo Seplveda-Amor
Judges:
Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf
Xue Hanqin
Joan E. Donoghue
Substitute members:
Judges
Leonid Skotnikov
Giorgio Gaja
Any chamber, comprising at least three judges, that the Court may form pursuant to Article 26,
paragraph 1, of the Statute to deal with certain categories of cases, such as labour or communications;
in 1993, the Court created a Chamber for Environmental Matters, which was periodically
reconstituted until 2006
In the Chambers 13 years of existence, however, no State ever requested that a case be dealt
with by it. The Court consequently decided in 2006 not to hold elections for a Bench for the
said Chamber.
Any chamber that the Court may form pursuant to Article 26, paragraph 2, of the Statute to deal with a
particular case, after formally consulting the parties regarding the number of its members - and

http://www.icj-cij.org/court/index.php?p1=1

informally regarding their name - who will then sit in all phases of the case until its final conclusion,
even if in the meantime they cease to be Members of the Court
No such chamber is currently active.
First ad hoc chamber was formed in 1982 in the case concerning the Delimitation of the Maritime
Boundary in the Gulf of Maine Area between Canada and the United States
Second in 1985 in the case concerning the Frontier Dispute between Burkina Faso and the
Republic of Mali.
Third was set up in March 1987 in the case concerning Elettronica Sicula S.p.A. (ELSI) between the
United States of America and Italy
Fourth was formed in May 1987 in the case concerning the Land, Island and Maritime Frontier
Dispute between El Salvador and Honduras.
Every Chamber has comprised five members
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT2
On 17 July 1998, the international community reached an historic milestone when 120 States
adopted the Rome Statute, the legal basis for establishing the permanent International Criminal
Court.
Governed by the Rome Statute (The Rome Statute entered into force on 1 July 2002 after
ratification by 60 countries)
First permanent, treaty based, international criminal court
Independent international organization, and is not part of the United Nations system but it
maintains a cooperative relationship with the U.N.
Seat is at The Hague in the Netherlands
Funded primarily by States Parties
Also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organisations, individuals,
corporations and other entities
The Court is composed of four organs. These are the Presidency, the judicial Divisions, the
Office of the Prosecutor and the Registry.
Presidency
Responsible for the overall administration of the Court, (with the exception of the Office of the
Prosecutor)
Composed of three judges of the Court, elected to the Presidency by their fellow judges, for a
term of three years
Current:
JudgeSang-Hyun
Song (Republic
of
Korea). Judge Sanji
Mmasenono
Monageng (Botswana) is First Vice-President, and Judge Cuno Tarfusser(Italy) is Second VicePresident.
Judicial Divisions
Consist of eighteen judges organized into the Pre-Trial Division, the Trial Division and the
Appeals Division
Judges of each Division sit in Chambers which are responsible for conducting the proceedings of
the Court at different stages
Assignment of judges to Divisions is made on the basis of the nature of the functions each
Division performs and the qualifications and experience of the judge.
Current: Sang-Hyun Song (Republic of Korea), Sanji Mmasenono Monageng (Botswana), Cuno
Tarfusser (Italy), Hans-Peter Kaul (Germany), Akua Kuenyehia (Ghana), Erkki Kourula (Finland),
Anita Uacka (Latvia), Ekaterina Trendafilova (Bulgaria), Joyce Aluoch (Kenya), Christine van den
2

http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ICC/Structure+of+the+Court/Detention/

Wyngaert (Belgium), Silvia Alejandra Fernndez de Gurmendi (Argentina), Kuniko Ozaki (Japan),
Miriam Defensor-Santiago (Philippines), Howard Morrison (United Kingdom), Anthony T.
Carmona (Trinidad and Tobago), Olga Herrera Carbuccia (Dominican Republic), Robert Fremr
(Czech Republic) and Chile Eboe-Osuji (Nigeria).
Office of the Prosecutor
responsible for receiving referrals and any substantiated information on crimes within the
jurisdiction of the Court
headed by the Prosecutor, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda (Gambia)
Registry
Responsible for the non-judicial aspects of the administration and servicing of the Court.
the Registrar (elected by the judges for a term of five years) exercises his or her functions under
the authority of the President of the Court
Current: Ms Silvana Arbia (Ital1y).
Other Offices
Includes a number of semi-autonomous offices such as the Office of Public Counsel for
Victims and the Office of Public Counsel for Defense which fall under the Registry.
REGIONAL SYSTEMS3
Each system was created on the basis of a regional intergovernmental agreement establishing
specific obligations of signatory States.
each system is a judicial or quasi-judicial decision-making body
Under the regional systems, only States may be held accountable for human rights
violations. In other words, States may be held accountable for a particular violation when it is
attributable to the action of State agents, to those acting with the knowledge and acquiescence
of State agents, or to the States failure to protect individuals from the actions of non-State
actors
Organization of American States
Inter-American Court of Human Rights and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
extends throughout the Western Hemisphere
The Court, conversely, may only examine contentious cases against States which have both
ratified the American Convention and recognized the Inter-American Courts jurisdiction
(currently 21 States).
Council of Europe
European Court of Human Rights (and defunct European Commission of Human Rights)
and European Committee of Social Rights
European Court of Human Rights has jurisdiction over complaints against all 47 Council of
Europe Member States, mandatory parties to the European Convention on Human Rights
African Union
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and the African Court on Human and
Peoples Rights
The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights may decide complaints against all 53
Member States of the African Union, all signatories to the African Charter on Human and
3

http://www.ijrcenter.org/ihr-reading-room/regional/

Peoples Rights (has jurisdiction to give advisory opinions and to decide contentious cases
against the 26 States which have accepted its jurisdiction.)
The nature and duties of each systems organs, as well as the norms they interpret and apply,
are established in regional treaties.
REGIONAL COURTS
European Court of Human Rights4
International court set up in 1959
Rules on individual or State applications alleging violations of the civil and political rights set out
in the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Court is based in Strasbourg, in the Human Rights Building. From here, the Court monitors
respect for the human rights of 800 million Europeans in the 47 Council of Europe member
States that have ratified the Convention.
The Court has five Sections in which Chambers are formed. Each Section has a President, a
Vice-President and a number of other judges.
The Grand Chamber is made up of 17 judges : the Courts President and Vice-Presidents, the
Section Presidents and the national judge, together with other judges selected by drawing of
lots.
The initiation of proceedings before the Grand Chamber takes two different forms: referral and
relinquishment.
Referral: the parties may request referral of the case to the Grand Chamber after a chamber
judgment has been delivered. Such requests are accepted on an exceptional basis. A panel of
judges of the Grand Chamber decides whether or not the case should be referred to the Grand
Chamber for fresh consideration.
Relinquished: Chamber may relinquish a case to the Grand Chamber if the case raises a
serious question affecting the interpretation of the Convention or if there is a risk of
inconsistency with a previous judgment of the Court.
African Court on Human and Peoples Rights5
Established by African countries to ensure and protect the human rights of Africa.
The Court has its permanent seat in Arusha, the United Republic of Tanzania.
Complements and reinforces the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples'
Rights.
was established by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and
Peoples' Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples Rights, (the
Protocol) that was adopted by Member States of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU)
in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in June 1998.
26 States have ratified the protocol.
The Court has jurisdiction over all cases and disputes submitted to it concerning the
interpretation and application of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, the (the
Charter), the Protocol and any other relevant human rights instrument ratified by the States
concerned.
According to the Protocol (Article 5) and the Rules (Rule 33), the Court may receive complaints
and/or applications submitted to it either by the African Commission of Human and Peoples
Rights or State parties to the Protocol or African Intergovernmental Organizations.

4
5

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http://www.african-court.org/en/index.php/about-the-court/jurisdiction-3/other-departments

Contentious Jurisdiction of the Court: Under Article 3 of the Protocol, the Court has
jurisdiction to deal with all cases and disputes submitted to it regarding the interpretation and
application of the Charter, the Protocol and any other relevant human rights instrument ratified
by the concerned States.
Advisory Jurisdiction of the Court: Under Article 4 of the Protocol, the Court may, at the
request of a Member State of the African Union, any of the organs of the African Union, or any
African organization recognized by the African Union, provide an opinion on any legal matter
relating to the Charter or any other relevant human rights instruments, provided that the
subject matter of the opinion is not related to a matter being examined by the Commission.
Non-Governmental Organizations with observer status before the African Commission on
Human and Peoples Rights and individuals from States which have made a Declaration accepting
the jurisdiction of the Court can also institute cases directly before the Court. As of October
2012, only five countries had made such a Declaration. Those countries are Burkina Faso,
Ghana, Malawi, Mali, and Tanzania.
There are 11 judges of the court who are nationals of the Member States of African Union.
The judges are elected for a six year or four year term renewable once.
The Judges of the Court are elected, after nomination by their respective States, in their
individual capacities from among African jurists of proven integrity and of recognized practical,
judicial or academic competence and experience in the field of human rights. The judges are
elected for a six year or four year term renewable once.
The President and Vice-President, who will be serving for two years a term, of the court are
elected by the judges of the court. The President and VP may only be re-elected once.
The President of the Court resides and works on a full time basis at the seat of the Court, while
the other ten (10) judges work on a part-time basis.
Inter-American Court on Human Rights6
based in San Jose Costa Rica
autonomous judicial institution of the Organization of American States aimed at the application
and interpretation of the American Convention on Human Rights and other treaties concerning
the same matter was established in 1979.
In order to safeguard the essentials rights of man in the American continent, the Convention
(American Convention on Human Rights) created two organs to promote the observance and
protection of human rights: the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the InterAmerican Court of Human Rights.
During the ninth regular session of the OAS General Assembly the Statute of the Court was
approved and in August 1980, the Court approved its Rules of Procedure which include the
procedure provisions. On November 2009 during the LXXXV regular session the new Rules of
Procedure entered into force, and they apply to all the cases currently brought before the
Court.
On September 10, 1981, the Government of Costa Rica and the Court signed the Headquarters
Agreement.
The Court consists of seven judges, nationals of the member states of the OAS. Judges of the
same State is not allowed.
judges of the Court serve for a term of six years and may be reelected only once. The terms of
office of the judges run from January 1 of the year following that of their election to December
31 of the year in which their terms expire

http://www.corteidh.or.cr/

Arab

Asian

There is no existing regional human rights court in Arab. However, there is an existing Arab
Charter on Human Rights (2004).
Drafted in 1960.
The League of Arab States adopted the first version of the Arab Charter on Human Rights in
1994.
Old version of the Charter has 43 Articles after the Preamble.
The weakness spotted in the old version was the lack of any human rights enforcement
mechanism.
Newer version contains 53 Articles after Preamble.
The 2004 Arab Charter on Human Rights must have seven ratifications to enter into force. Five
states have signed:
o 1) Algeria
2)Egypt
3)Saudi Arabia
4)Tunisia
5)Yemen
Only Jordan ratified it.
Jun Susamoto wrote a paper proposing the establishment of an Asian Court on Human Rights.
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA)
Varying political systems and economic development are the alleged reasons why it is difficult to
establish such court.
ASEAN created Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. It is Asias only international
region-level human rights organization.
Asian Human Rights Commission
o independent, non-governmental body, which seeks to promote greater awareness and
realization of human rights in the Asian region
o founded in 1986
o endeavors to achieve the following objectives stated in the Asian Charter

National Human Rights Institutions


are administrative bodies set up in to protect or monitor human rights in a given country
encouraged by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights (OHCHR) which has provided advisory and support services, and facilitated access for
NHRIs to the UN treaty bodies and other committees.
NHRIs can be grouped together in two broad categories: human rights
commissions and ombudsmen
have an explicit and specific human rights mandate and a broader mandate, which could include
research, documentation and training and education in human rights issues, than the classical
ombudsman model which tends to work on handling complaints about administrative
deficiencies
NHRIs are usually able to deal with any human rights issue directly involving a public authority.
In relation to non-state entities, some national human rights institutions have at least one of the
following functions:
addressing grievances or disputes involving certain kinds of company (for instance stateowned enterprises, private companies providing public services, or companies that
operate at the federal level)
addressing only certain types of human rights issue (for instance nondiscrimination or labour rights)
addressing complaints or disputes raising any human rights issue and involving any company.

Paris Principles
relate to the status and functioning of national institutions for the protection and promotion
of human rights.
were defined at the first International Workshop on National Institutions for the Promotion and
Protection of Human Rights held in Paris on 7-9 October 1991.
list a number of responsibilities for national institutions, which fall under six headings:
1. A national institution shall be vested with competence to promote and protect human
rights.
2. A national institution shall be given as broad a mandate as possible, which shall be clearly set
forth in a constitutional or legislative text, specifying its composition and its sphere of competence.
3. A national institution shall, inter alia, have the following responsibilities:
(a) To submit to the Government, Parliament and any other competent body, on an
advisory basis either at the request of the authorities concerned or through the exercise of its power to
hear a matter without higher referral, opinions, recommendations, proposals and reports on any
matters concerning the promotion and protection of human rights; the national institution may decide
to publicize them; these opinions, recommendations, proposals and reports, as well as any prerogative
of the national institution, shall relate to the following areas:
(i) Any legislative or administrative provisions, as well as provisions relating to
judicial organizations, intended to preserve and extend the protection of human rights; in that
connection, the national institution shall examine the legislation and
administrative provisions in
force, as well as bills and proposals, and shall make such recommendations as it deems appropriate in
order to ensure that these provisions conform to the fundamental principles of human rights; it shall, if
necessary, recommend the adoption of new legislation, the amendment of legislation in force and the
adoption or amendment of administrative measures;- 187
(ii) Any situation of violation of human rights which it decides to take up;
(iii) The preparation of reports on the national situation with regard to human
rights in general, and on more specific matters;
(iv) Drawing the attention of the Government to situations in any part of the
country where human rights are violated and making proposals to it for initiatives to put an end to such
situations and, where necessary, expressing an opinion on the positions and reactions of the
Government;
(b) To promote and ensure the harmonization of national legislation regulations and
practices with the international human rights instruments to which the State is a party, and their
effective implementation;
(c) To encourage ratification of the above-mentioned instruments or accession to
those instruments, and to ensure their implementation;
(d) To contribute to the reports which States are required to submit to United Nations
bodies and committees, and to regional institutions, pursuant to their treaty obligations and, where
necessary, to express an opinion on the subject, with due respect for their independence;
(e) To cooperate with the United Nations and any other organization in the United
Nations system, the regional institutions and the national institutions of other
countries
that
is
competent in the areas of the promotion and protection of human rights;
(f) To assist in the formulation of programmes for the teaching of, and research into,
human rights and to take part in their execution in schools, universities and professional circles;- 188
(g) To publicize human rights and efforts to combat all forms of discrimination, in
particular racial discrimination, by increasing public awareness, especially through information and
education and by making use of all press organs.
4. The composition of the national institution and the appointment of its members, whether by
means of an election or otherwise, shall be established in accordance with a procedure which affords all
necessary guarantees to ensure the pluralist representation of the social forces (of civilian society)

involved in the promotion and protection of


human rights, particularly by powers which will enable
effective cooperation to be established with, or through the presence of, representatives of:
(a) Non-governmental organizations responsible for human rights and efforts to combat
racial discrimination, trade unions, concerned social and professional organizations, for example,
associations of lawyers, doctors, journalists and eminent scientists;
(b) Trends in philosophical or religious thought;
(c) Universities and qualified experts;
(d) Parliament;
(e) Government departments (if these are included, their representatives should
participate in the deliberations only in an advisory capacity).
5. The national institution shall have an infrastructure which is suited to the smooth
conduct
of its activities, in particular adequate funding. The purpose of this funding should be to enable it to have
its own staff and premises, in order to be independent of the Government and not be subject to
financial control which might affect its independence.- 189
6. In order to ensure a stable mandate for the members of the national institution, without
which there can be no real independence, their appointment shall be effected by an official act which
shall establish the specific duration of the mandate. This mandate may be renewable, provided that the
pluralism of the institution's membership is ensured.
References
Books
Buergenthal, T., Shelton, D., & Stewart, D. P. (2009). International Human Rights in a Nutshell. West: St.
Paul, MN.
Donnelly, J. (1998). International Human Rights. : Westview Press: Boulder, Colo.
Malanczuk, P. (1997). Akehurst's Modern Introduction to International Law. London: Routledge.
Moeckli, D., Shah, S., Sivakumaran, S., & Harris, D. (Eds.). (n.d.). International Human Rights Law. Oxford
University Press: Oxford.
Shaw, M. N. (2008). International Law (Sixth ed.). Cambridge: University Press.
Smith, R. (2010). Texts and Materials on International Human Rights. London: Routledge.
Online Resources
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_human_rights_law
http://www.hreoc.gov.au/education/hr_explained/1_defining.html
http://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/upr/pages/uprmain.aspx
http://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/upr/pages/BasicFacts.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Periodic_Review
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refugee_law
http://www.geneva-academy.ch/RULAC/international_refugee_law.php
http://www.geneva-academy.ch/RULAC/index.php
http://www.genevaacademy.ch/RULAC/derogation_from_human_rights_treaties_in_situations_of_emergency.php
http://www.ag.gov.au/Humanrightsandantidiscrimination/Humanrightsandthepublicsector/Humanrightsgui
dancesheets/Pages/Absoluterights.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Covenant_on_Economic,_Social_and_Cultural_Rights
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Charter
http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6b3930.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Bill_of_Human_Rights
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Pages/CrossCuttingThemes.aspx
http://www.hrea.org/index.php?base_id=104&language_id=1&erc_doc_id=5211&category_id=24&catego
ry_type=3&group=
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Declaration_of_Human_Rights

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Covenant_on_Civil_and_Political_Rights
http://treaties.un.org/doc/db/survey/CovenantCivPo.pdf
http://www.who.int/hhr/Civil_political_rights.pdf
http://eycb.coe.int/compass/en/pdf/6_5.pdf
http://treaties.un.org/doc/db/survey/CovenantCivPo.pdf
http://www.who.int/hhr/Economic_social_cultural.pdf
http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/research/Philippines/International%20Covenant%20on%20Civil%20and%
20Political%20Rights.pdf
http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/169987.pdf
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cescr.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Criminal_Court
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Court_of_Justice
http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ICC/Structure+of+the+Court/Victims/
http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ICC/Structure+of+the+Court/Defence/
http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ICC/Structure+of+the+Court/Detention/
http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ICC/Legal+Texts+and+Tools/
http://www.icj-cij.org/court/index.php?p1=1&p2=6
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/people/features/ihavearightto/four_b/treaties_regional.shtml
http://www.ijrcenter.org/ihr-reading-room/regional/
http://www.african-court.org/en/index.php/about-the-court/brief-history
http://www.icj-cij.org/court/index.php?p1=1
http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ICC/Structure+of+the+Court/Detention/
http://www.ijrcenter.org/ihr-reading-room/regional/
http://www.echr.coe.int/ECHR/EN/Header/The+Court/The+Court/The+Grand+Chamber/
http://www.african-court.org/en/index.php/about-the-court/jurisdiction-3/other-departments
http://www.corteidh.or.cr/
http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/edumat/hreduseries/hereandnow/Part-1/from-concept.htm
http://www.humanrights.com/what-are-human-rights/brief-history/the-united-nations.html