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Transcript of HUMAN RIGHTS
HUMAN RIGHTS LAW
ARE HUMAN RIGHTS ?
Human rights are basic rights and freedoms that all people are entitled to regardless of nationality, sexual identity or orientation, ethnic origin, religion, language, or other status.
Cyrus Cylinder: recognized as the world’s first charter of human rights
"Magna Charta Libertatum"
1628, England Petition of Rights
French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
US Bill of Rights
1948, United Nations
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
December 10th 1948:
UN General Assembly adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, 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. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers
Different types of rights
1945, Charter of
WHAT ARE HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ?
International Human Rights Law sets forth the core obligations of governments towards their people, prescribing the basic freedoms that governments must respect
It is not a Treaty
NO LEGAL OBLIGATIONS
CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS:
the rights that generally restrict the powers of the government in respect of actions affecting the individual and his or her autonomy, and confer an opportunity upon people to contribute to the determination of laws and participate in government.
Right to life
Right to liberty
Freedom from torture
Freedom of opinion and expression
Freedom of assembly
Freedom of association
Right to work
Right to social security
Right to health
Right to food
THE RIGHTS OF MINORITIES AND PEOPLES
Article 1 .3 Purposes of the United Nations
"promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion".
Art. 55 The United Nations shall promote:
" universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion".
"All Members pledge themselves to take joint and separate action in co-operation with the Organization for the achievement of the purposes set forth in Article 55".
A Magna Charta for all Humanity: the first attempt by all States to agree, in a
document, on a comprehensive catalogue of the rights of the human person
It sets a
(and not just international!) of achievement for all peoples in all nations.
It led to the awarness that human rights should be translated into legal form as a treaty, which would be
on the States tha agreed to be bound by its terms
Charter of the UN
First cornerstone for the creation of an international system of protection of human rights.
It still doesn't list a catalogue of rights, establishing only general principles (compatible with State Sovereignty).
Human Rights become an official concern for the international community
INternational Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
UDHR: basis for the creation of legally binding instruments. After the adoption of the Declaration....
... 20 years of negotiaons...
ADOPTION of 2 Legally Binding Instruments (COvenants)
1. International covenant on civil and political rights (ICCPR)
2. International covenant on economic, social and cultural rights (ICESCR)
1. International Coventant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
Adopted by the General Assembly (Resolution 2200), in 1966. Entered into force in 1976
Right to life, freedom of religion, freedom from torture and slavery, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process and a fair trial.
2. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
Adopted by the General Assembly Resolution 2200), in 1966. Entered into force in 1976
right to food, right to work, right to housing, right to education.
UN UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (UDHR), 1948
UN International covenant on civil and political rights (ICCPR), 1966
UN International covenant on economic, social and cultural rights (ICESCR), 1966
International bill of rights
To sum up....
ICCPR & ICESCR
: Recall UDHR and the Charter of the UN
All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
ICCPR (ONLY) is monitored by the HR Committee, a body of independent experts. All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented.
The International Bill of Rights is complemented by many multilateral treaties:
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1965
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 1979
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Instrument
International Convention on the Rights of the Child
International Convention on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, 1990
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006
These treaties establish SPECIAL COMMITTEES (TREATY BODIES), whose members serve in their personal capacity and which monitor their implementation
WITHIN THE UN
Derive their establishment from provisions contained in the Charter of the United Nations
Human Rights Council
: Inter-governmental body within the United Nations system. It replaced the former Human Rights Commission in 2006). Made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly. Its nature is political and it is responsible for:
- strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms around the globe
- addressing situations of human rights violations (including gross and systematic violations) and make recommendations on them.
- preventing human rights violations through advisory services and technical assistance.
Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council
: a process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. 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 fulfil 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.
Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council
: mechanisms consisting of indipendent experts who work pro bono to address country specific situations or thematic issues that concern all states. Currently: 13 SP on country situations (ex: Iran, Mali), 11 SP on specific rights (freedom of religion), 10 SP on specific groups (violence against women, indigenous people).
HR Council Advisory Committee:
a think tank for the Council , providing expertise in the requested manner
There are ten human rights treaty bodies that monitor implementation of the core international human rights treaties :
Human Rights Committee (CCPR)
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR)
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
Committee against Torture (CAT)
Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT)
Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW)
Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED)
TREATY BASED BODIES
CHARTER BASED BODIES
Derogation from civil and political rights?
ICCPR, Article 4
In time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the States Parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations under international law and do not involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin.
No derogation (never!)
- Right to life
- Prohibition of slavery, torture , cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
- Freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
Derogation from Economic, Social and Cultural Rights?
ICESCR, Article 4
The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize that, in the enjoyment of those rights provided by the State in conformity with the present Covenant, the State may subject such rights only to such limitations as are determined by law only in so far as this may be compatible with the nature of these rights and solely for the purpose of promoting the general welfare in a democratic society.
Human Rights activities in the UN
: UN principal deliberative organ, composed of all member states. Article 13 of the UN Charter provides that the GA
"shall initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of... assisting in the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion
The 3rd Committee of the GA is responsible for social, humanitarian and cultural issues: it discusses HCHR Reports, HR Council's reports and special procedures.
It negotiates and adopts resolutions on human rights issues
: UN 15 members body responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. Its role mainly concerns cases where the violation of human rights is a threat to the international peace.
At the regional level...
Council of Europe (COE)
1950 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR)
- European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
Organization of American States (OAS)
1969 American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR)
- Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
- Inter-AmericanCourt of Human Rights
African Union (AU)
1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AChHPR)
- African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
- African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
- 1975 Helsinki Final Act
- 2000 Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
Council of Europe
International Court of Justice
: it settles legal disputes submitted by states and hand down advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by UN organs and specialized agencies.
INDIVIDUALS CANNOT BRING CASES TO THE COURT
Intergovernmental Organization founded in Strasbourg in 1949, it includes 47 member states, 28 of which are members of the European Union.
The aim of the Council of Europe is – in accordance with the Statute - to achieve a greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realizing the ideals and principles which are their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress.
In 1950 the Council of Europe drafted the
European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR),
which entered into force in 1953. It is an international treaty under which the member States of the Council of Europe promise to secure fundamental civil and political rights, not only to their own citizens but also to everyone within their jurisdiction.
NO OPT OUT
! Ratification of the convention is essential condition to be part of the Council of Europe.
of the ECHR is to
provide a mechanism that determine whether a Convention right has been violated by a given member State.
THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS (ECTHR)
It is an international court set up by the ECHR in 1959. The Court is composed of 47 judges(who sit in their individual capacity), 1 judge for each state party to the ECHR.
It rules on:
An applicant state lodges a complaint
against a respondent state.
Complaints from any person, non-governmental organization or group of individuals claiming to be the
of a violation by one of the High Contracting Parties of the rights set forth in the Convention
Exhaustion of domestic remedies:
Article 35 ECHR. ‘The Court may only deal with the matter after all domestic remedies have been exhausted".
within 6 months after exhaustion of domestic remedies.
No Duplication of procedures
: The Court shall not deal with any application that ‘is substantially the same as a matter that has already been examined by the Court
the AFRICAN UNION (AU)
The African Union (AU) is a union consisting of 54 African states, established in 2001. Aims:
- To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the people of Africa.
- To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States.
- To accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent.
- To encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- To promote peace, security, and stability on the continent.
- To promote and protect human and peoples' rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.
THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE'S RIGHTS
Adopted in 1981 and entered into force in 1986. It is an international human rights instrument created to protect the human rights and basic freedoms of people living on the African Continent.
- juxtaposition of civil/political rights and social and cultural rights
-specific dutiees related to rights
-emphasis on development, decolonization, and racial discrimination
- African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
A quasi-judicial body, established by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Composed of 11 Commisioners (nomiated by States parties), who serve
in their individual capacity
Aim: Promotion and Protection of human rights
-African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Established in 2004 and them merged with the Court of Justice of the AU
- possibility to claim violations of rights protected by other treaties signed by the state party and not only rights protected by the African Charter on HR
-no individual complaints (!), unless the State has explicitly authorized the individuals to do so.
organization of american states (OAS)
Inter-continental organization founded in 1948, for the purposes of regional solidarity and cooperation among its member states. OAS's members are the 35 independent states of the Americas. Headquartered in Washington, D.C.
American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR) , signed in 1969 and entered into force in 1979
Signed by not ratified by the US and Canada.
It establishes two organs:
Composed of 7 commissioners elected
by OAS General Assembly.
oversee HR obligations under the ACHR
MAIN ROLE: examination of individual petitions
denouncing human rights violations.
non-permanent judicial body established by the American Convention on Human Rights. It is based in San Jose, Costa Rica.
NO individual complaints. It Is the Commission that submits the cases brought by individuals.
organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
The world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. 57 member states from Europe, Central Asia, North America
Its roots are in the 1973 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), and it was intended to assist the management of the Post- Cold War transition in Europe.
3 main functions of security: 1)politico-military security; 2)economic and environmental security; 3) human security
Helsinki Final Act, 1975
1. Sovereign equality, respect for the rights inherent in sovereignty
2. Refraining from the threat or use of force
3. Inviolability of frontiers
4.Territorial integrity of States
5.Peaceful settlement of disputes
6.Non-intervention in internal
7.Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief
8.Equal rights and self-determination
9.Cooperation among States
10.Fulfilment in good faith of obligations under international law
The European Union (EU) is a union of 28 independent states based on the European Communities and founded to enhance political, economic and social co-operation. Formerly known as European Community (EC) or European Economic Community (EEC).
CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, 2001
Adopted with the Treaty of Nice of 2001, (became legally binding with the Treaty of Lisbon). It collects rights already recognized in other EU sources.
The Charter differs from the European Convention on Human Rights in 3 principal ways:
- it includes social and political rights, while the ECHR focuses mostly on civil and political rights
-it sets out general limitations to the rights, while the ECHR sets specific limitations for each rights
-it is addressed to the Institutions of the EU first, while the ECHR is directly addressed to States
Council of Europe