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Introduction to International Human Rights Law


Sarah Joseph

on 9 May 2012

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Transcript of Introduction to International Human Rights Law

Introduction to
International Human Rights

International Human
Rights Law

Human Rights Bodies
- international law regulates States
- human rights attach to humans not States
- primacy of principle of State sovereignty
Emergence of IHRL
Sources of IHRL
- Treaties bind States that are party to them
- multilateral, bilateral
- signature, ratification, accession
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 (ICCPR)
International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights 1966 (ICESCR)
International Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination 1965 (CERD)
Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women 1979 (CEDAW)
Convention against Torture 1984 (CAT)
Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 (CRC)
Migrant Workers Convention (MWC)
Convention on Rights of Persons with a Disability 2006 (CPRD)
International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Forced Disappearance 2006
[Optional Protocols to some of above]
European Convention on Human Rights 1951
American Convention on Human Rights 1969
African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights 1981
Arab Charter on Human Rights 2004
(nothing in Asia Pacific)
Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948
Declaration on the Right to Development 1986
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007
UN Human Rights Treaties
Regional Treaties
Problems with Treaties
Only bind parties
State practice
Opinio juris
Persistent objector rule
Jus Cogens
Customary human rights?
the entire UDHR? (Sohn)
more discrete list (prohibitions on genocide, torture, apartheid, slavery, prolonged arbitrary detention, arbitrary execution, grave war crimes, crimes against humanity, right of colonial peoples to self determination
ESC rights: Sustainable Development Goals
Pre- WWII: IHL, duties of aliens, slavery, ILO and labour

WWII "shocked the conscience" of mankind

War Crimes Tribunals

UN Charter 1945: Articles 1, 55, 56

Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948
International Court of Justice

Regional human rights courts

Human rights committees and quasi-judicial bodies

Political bodies (eg UNGA, Security Council, Human Rights Council)
Generations of Rights
CP Rights
ESC Rights
Third generation rights
Personal integrity rights

Due Process rights

political rights
Economic (employment) rights

Social rights - right to adequate standard of living, health, education, water, food, shelter ...

Cultural rights
Article 2(1) ICCPR

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 recognised in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind such as race, colour, sex. language, religion, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status.
Article 2(1) ICESCR

Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take steps, individually and through international assistance and co-operation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures
collective rights
right to self determination
right to development
right to a clean environment?
pre WWII ..............1945...........1946..............1948.....................1950s/60s
International humanitarian law

Duties to aliens

Labour law

Anti-slavery law
Cold War

Commission on Human Rights
UN Charter
Nuremburg trials
Tokyo trials
Various OPs
Human Rights Council
Sarah Joseph
Full transcript