International human rights law

International human rights law (IHRL) is the body of international law designed to promote human rights on social, regional, and domestic levels. As a form of international law, international human rights law are primarily made up of treaties, agreements between sovereign states intended to have binding legal effect between the parties that have agreed to them; and customary international law. 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.[1]

The relationship between international human rights law and international humanitarian law is disputed among international law scholars. This discussion forms part of a larger discussion on fragmentation of international law.[2] While pluralist scholars conceive international human rights law as being distinct from international humanitarian law, proponents of the constitutionalist approach regard the latter as a subset of the former.[3] In a nutshell, those who favors separate, self-contained regimes emphasize the differences in applicability; international humanitarian law applies only during armed conflict.

a more systemic perspective explains that international humanitarian law represents a function of international human rights law; it includes general norms that apply to everyone at all time as well as specialized norms which apply to certain situations such as armed conflict between both state and military occupation (i.e. IHL) or to certain groups of people including refugees (e.g. the 1951 Refugee Convention), children (the Convention on the Rights of the Child), and prisoners of war (the 1949 Third Geneva Convention).

United Nations system

The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action in 1993, in terms of which the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights was established.

In 2006, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights was replaced with the United Nations Human Rights Council for the enforcement of international human rights law.

International Bill of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a UN General Assembly declaration that does not in form create binding international human rights law. Many legal scholars cite the UDHR as evidence of customary international law.

More broadly, the UDHR has become an authoritative human rights reference. It has provided the basis for subsequent international human rights instruments that form non-binding, but ultimately authoritative international human rights law.

International human rights treaties

Besides the adoption in 1966 of the two wide-ranging Covenants that form part of the International Bill of Human Rights (namely the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), other treaties have been adopted at the international level. These are generally known as human rights instruments. Some of the most significant include the following:

Regional protection and institutions

Regional systems of international human rights law supplement and complement national and international human rights law by protecting and promoting human rights in specific areas of the world. There are three key regional human rights instruments which have established human rights law on a regional basis:

Americas and Europe

The Organisation of American States and the Council of Europe, like the UN, have adopted treaties (albeit with weaker implementation mechanisms) containing catalogues of economic, social and cultural rights, in addition to the aforementioned conventions dealing mostly with civil and political rights:

  • the European Social Charter for Europe of 1961, in force since 1965 (whose complaints mechanism, created in 1995 under an Additional Protocol, has been in force since 1998); and
  • the Protocol of San Salvador to the ACHR for the Americas of 1988, in force since 1999.

Africa

The African Union (AU) is a supranational union consisting of 53 African countries.[9] Established in 2001, the AU's purpose is to help secure Africa's democracy, human rights, and a sustainable economy, in particular by bringing an end to intra-African conflict and creating an effective common market.[10]

The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights is the region's principal human rights instrument. It emerged under the aegis of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) (since replaced by the African Union). The intention to draw up the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights was announced in 1979. The Charter was unanimously approved at the OAU's 1981 Assembly.

Pursuant to Article 63 (whereby it was to "come into force three months after the reception by the Secretary General of the instruments of ratification or adherence of a simple majority" of the OAU's member states), the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights came into effect on 21 October 1986, in honour of which 21 October was declared African Human Rights Day.[11]

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) is a quasi-judicial organ of the African Union, tasked with promoting and protecting human rights and collective (peoples') rights throughout the African continent, as well as with interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, and considering individual complaints of violations of the Charter. The Commission has three broad areas of responsibility:[12]

  1. promoting human and peoples' rights;
  2. protecting human and peoples' rights; and
  3. interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.

In pursuit of these goals, the Commission is mandated to "collect documents, undertake studies and researches on African problems in the field of human and peoples' rights, organise seminars, symposia and conferences, disseminate information, encourage national and local institutions concerned with human and peoples' rights and, should the case arise, give its views or make recommendations to governments."[12][13]

With the creation of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (under a protocol to the Charter which was adopted in 1998 and entered into force in January 2004), the Commission will have the additional task of preparing cases for submission to the Court's jurisdiction.[14] In a July 2004 decision, the AU Assembly resolved that the future Court on Human and Peoples' Rights would be integrated with the African Court of Justice.

The Court of Justice of the African Union is intended to be the "principal judicial organ of the Union."[15][16] Although it has not yet been established, it is intended to take over the duties of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, as well as to act as the supreme court of the African Union, interpreting all necessary laws and treaties. The Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights entered into force in January 2004,[17] but its merging with the Court of Justice has delayed its establishment. The Protocol establishing the Court of Justice will come into force when ratified by fifteen countries.[18]

There are many countries in Africa accused of human rights violations by the international community and NGOs.[19]

Inter-American system

The Organization of American States (OAS) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Its members are the thirty-five independent nation-states of the Americas.

Over the course of the 1990s, with the end of the Cold War, the return to democracy in Latin America, and the thrust toward globalisation, the OAS made major efforts to reinvent itself to fit the new context. Its stated priorities now include the following:[20]

  • strengthening democracy;
  • working for peace;
  • protecting human rights;
  • combating corruption;
  • the rights of indigenous peoples; and
  • promoting sustainable development.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States, also based in Washington, D.C. Along with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in San José, Costa Rica, it is one of the bodies that comprise the inter-American system for the promotion and protection of human rights.[21] The IACHR is a permanent body which meets in regular and special sessions several times a year to examine allegations of human rights violations in the hemisphere. Its human rights duties stem from three documents:[22]

  1. the OAS Charter;
  2. the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man; and
  3. the American Convention on Human Rights.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights was established in 1979 with the purpose of enforcing and interpreting the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights. Its two main functions are therefore adjudicatory and advisory:

  • Under the former, it hears and rules on the specific cases of human rights violations referred to it.
  • Under the latter, it issues opinions on matters of legal interpretation brought to its attention by other OAS bodies or member states.[23]

Many countries in the Americas, including Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela, have been accused of human rights violations.

European system

The Council of Europe, founded in 1949, is the oldest organisation working for European integration. It is an international organisation with legal personality recognised under public international law, and has observer status at the United Nations. The seat of the Council is in Strasbourg in France.

The Council of Europe is responsible for both the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights.[24] These institutions bind the Council's members to a code of human rights which, although strict, is more lenient than that of the UN Charter on human rights.

The Council also promotes the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the European Social Charter.[25] Membership is open to all European states which seek European integration, accept the principle of the rule of law, and are able and willing to guarantee democracy, fundamental human rights and freedoms.[26]

The Council of Europe is separate from the European Union, but the latter is expected to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights. The Council includes all the member states of European Union. The EU also has a separate human rights document, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.[27]

The European Convention on Human Rights has since 1950 defined and guaranteed human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe.[28] All 47 member states of the Council of Europe have signed this Convention, and are therefore under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.[28] In order to prevent torture and inhuman or degrading treatment,[29][30] the Committee for the Prevention of Torture was established.[31]

The Council of Europe also adopted the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings in May 2005, for protection against human trafficking and sexual exploitation, the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse in October 2007, and the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence in May 2011.

The European Court of Human Rights is the only international court with jurisdiction to deal with cases brought by individuals rather than states.[28] In early 2010, the court had a backlog of over 120,000 cases and a multi-year waiting list.[32][33][34] About one out of every twenty cases submitted to the court is considered admissible.[35] In 2007, the court issued 1,503 verdicts. At the current rate of proceedings, it would take 46 years for the backlog to clear.[36]

Monitoring, implementation and enforcement

There is currently no international court to administer international human rights law, but quasi-judicial bodies exist under some UN treaties (like the Human Rights Committee under the ICCPR). The International Criminal Court (ICC) has jurisdiction over the crime of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights enforce regional human rights law.

Although these same international bodies also hold jurisdiction over cases regarding international humanitarian law, it is crucial to recognise, as discussed above, that the two frameworks constitute different legal regimes.[37]

The United Nations human rights bodies do have some quasi-legal enforcement mechanisms. These include the treaty bodies attached to the seven currently active treaties, and the United Nations Human Rights Council complaints procedures, with Universal Periodic Review and United Nations Special Rapporteur (known as the 1235 and 1503 mechanisms respectively).[38]

The enforcement of international human rights law is the responsibility of the nation state; it is the primary responsibility of the State to make the human rights of its citizens a reality.

In practice, many human rights are difficult to enforce legally, due to the absence of consensus on the application of certain rights, the lack of relevant national legislation or of bodies empowered to take legal action to enforce them.[39]

In over 110 countries, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) have been set up to protect, promote or monitor human rights with jurisdiction in a given country.[40] Although not all NHRIs are compliant with the Paris Principles,[41] the number and effect of these institutions is increasing.[42]

The Paris Principles were defined at the first International Workshop on National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Paris from 7 to 9 October 1991, and adopted by UN Human Rights Commission Resolution 1992/54 of 1992 and General Assembly Resolution 48/134 of 1993. The Paris Principles list a number of responsibilities for national human rights institutions.[43]

Universal jurisdiction

Universal jurisdiction is a controversial principle in international law, whereby states claim criminal jurisdiction over people whose alleged crimes were committed outside the boundaries of the prosecuting state, regardless of nationality, country of residence or any other relationship to the prosecuting country. The state backs its claim on the grounds that the crime committed is considered a crime against all, which any state is authorised to punish. The concept of universal jurisdiction is therefore closely linked to the idea that certain international norms are erga omnes, or owed to the entire world community, as well as the concept of jus cogens.

In 1993, Belgium passed a "law of universal jurisdiction" to give its courts jurisdiction over crimes against humanity in other countries. In 1998, Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London following an indictment by Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón under the universal-jurisdiction principle.[44]

The principle is supported by Amnesty International and other human rights organisations, which believe that certain crimes pose a threat to the international community as a whole, and that the community has a moral duty to act.

Others, like Henry Kissinger,[45] argue that "widespread agreement that human rights violations and crimes against humanity must be prosecuted has hindered active consideration of the proper role of international courts. Universal jurisdiction risks creating universal tyranny—that of judges".[46]

See also

References

  1. ^ Human rights, A very short introduction replace this with a better reference later
  2. ^ Koskenniemi, Marti (September 2002). "Fragmentation of International Law? Postmodern Anxieties". Leiden Journal of International Law. 15 (3): 553–579. doi:10.1017/S0922156502000262. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  3. ^ Yun, Seira (2014). "Breaking Imaginary Barriers: Obligations of Armed Non-State Actors Under General Human Rights Law – The Case of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child". Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies. 5 (1–2): 213–257. doi:10.1163/18781527-00501008. SSRN 2556825.
  4. ^ "OHCHR". Web.archive.org. 30 May 2008. Archived from the original on 30 May 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  5. ^ "Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women". United Nations. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  6. ^ "OHCHR". Web.archive.org. 9 March 2008. Archived from the original on 9 March 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Convention on the Rights of the Child". UNICEF. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities". United Nations. 30 March 2007. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  9. ^ "AU Member States". African Union. Archived from the original on 5 January 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  10. ^ "AU in a Nutshell". Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  11. ^ African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.
  12. ^ a b "Mandate of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights". Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  13. ^ Art. 45.
  14. ^ "Protocol to the African Charter on human and peoples' rights on the establishment of an African court on human and peoples' rights". Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  15. ^ Protocol of the Court of Justice of the African Union, Article 2.2.
  16. ^ "Protocol of the Court of Justice of the African Union" (PDF). African Union.
  17. ^ "Open Letter to the Chairman of the African Union (AU) seeking clarifications and assurances that the Establishment of an effective African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights will not be delayed or undermined" (PDF). Amnesty International. 5 August 2004.
  18. ^ "African Court of Justice". African International Courts and Tribunals. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  19. ^ "Human Rights Watch Africa". Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  20. ^ "OAS Key Issues". Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  21. ^ "Directory of OAS Authorities". Organization of American States. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  22. ^ "What is the IACHR?". Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  23. ^ "Inter-American Court on Human Rights homepage". Inter-American Court on Human Rights. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  24. ^ "Gender and reproductive rights home page". Who.int. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  25. ^ "Social Charter". Council of Europe. Retrieved 4 January 2008.
  26. ^ "The Council of Europe in Brief". Archived from the original on 9 January 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2008.
  27. ^ Juncker, Jean-Claude (11 April 2006). "Council of Europe – European Union: "A sole ambition for the European Continent"" (PDF). Council of Europe. Retrieved 4 January 2008.
  28. ^ a b c "Historical Background to the European Court of Human Rights". European Court of Human Rights. Archived from the original on 22 December 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2008.
  29. ^ Article 3 of the Convention.
  30. ^ European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
  31. ^ "About the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture". European Committee for the Prevention of Torture. Retrieved 4 January 2008.
  32. ^ "Virginia Law". Law.virginia.edu. 24 March 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  33. ^ BBC article [1]
  34. ^ "Swiss info article". Swissinfo.ch. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  35. ^ "The Guardian". The Guardian. UK. 16 July 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  36. ^ "Breaking news, Ireland". Breakingnews.ie. 23 January 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  37. ^ The Program for Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research, "Brief Primer on IHL"
  38. ^ OHCHR. "Human Rights Council Complaint Procedure". Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  39. ^ See, REDRESS, Enforcement of Awards for Victims of Torture and Other International Crimes May, 2006
  40. ^ National Human Rights Institutions Forum Archived 15 September 2002 at the Library of Congress Web Archives is the official portal for the National Human Rights Institutions and show a list of 119 institutions that can be found at [2]
  41. ^ "Chart of the Status of National Institutions" (PDF). National Human Rights Institutions Forum. November 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2008. ACCREDITED BY THE INTERNATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS FOR THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
    In accordance with the Paris Principles and the ICC Sub-Committee Rules of Procedure, the following classifications for accreditation are used by the ICC: A: Compliance with the Paris Principles;
    A(R): Accreditation with reserve – granted where insufficient documentation is submitted to confer A status;
    B: Observer Status – Not fully in compliance with the Paris Principles or insufficient information provided to make a determination;
    C: Non-compliant with the Paris Principles.
  42. ^ HURIDOCS has developed extensive methodologies for monitoring and documenting human rights violations, and more resources can be found at Human Rights Tools
  43. ^ "National Human Rights Institutions – Implementing Human Rights", Executive Director Morten Kjærum, The Danish Institute for Human Rights, 2003. ISBN 87-90744-72-1, page 6.
  44. ^ Ball, Gready (2007) p.70
  45. ^ Kissinger has himself been subject to calls for prosecution under universal jurisdiction. See Hitchens, Christopher, and David Rieff. "[3]." Prospect, 28 June 2001 (accessed 11 June 2013); Hitchens, Christopher. The Trial of Henry Kissinger. London: Verso, 2001.
  46. ^ Kissinger, Henry (July–August 2001). "The Pitfall of Universal Jurisdiction". Foreign Affairs. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009.

External links

Anne Bayefsky

Anne Bayefsky is a human rights scholar and activist. She currently directs the Touro College Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and is a barrister and solicitor of the Ontario Bar. Her areas of expertise include international human rights law, equality rights, and constitutional human rights law.

Capital punishment in Bangladesh

Capital punishment in Bangladesh is a legal form of punishment for anyone who is over 16, however in practice will not apply to persons under 18. Crimes that are currently punishable by death in Bangladesh are set out in the Penal Code 1860. These include waging war against Bangladesh, abetting mutiny, giving false evidence upon which an innocent person suffers death, murder, assisted suicide of a child, attempted murder of a child and kidnapping. The Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 provides that "he be hanged by the neck until he is dead." For murder cases, the Appellate Division requires trial courts to weigh aggravating and mitigating factors to determine whether the death penalty is warranted.The Constitution of Bangladesh does not anywhere expressly recognise International Human Rights law, although some articles recognise international human rights. Article 25 of the Constitution recognises the United Nations Charter. Article 47 recognises international humanitarian law and provides that the Constitution will not limit the application of international treaties and the law of war.A person can receive the death penalty if they are found guilty of crimes against women and children. The Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2000 provides that the death penalty can be imposed for murder or attempted murder involving burning, poison, or acid. Causing grievous bodily harm by burning, poison or acid, if the victims eyesight, hearing, face, breasts or reproductive organs are damaged. Therefore, criminals in Bangladesh can be sentenced for death for attempted crimes and causing grievous bodily harm.

A number of offences (crimes not result in death) are punishable by death when committed by armed forces personnel. These offences include, providing aid to the enemy, cowardice and desertion and inducement to such and cowardly use of a flag of truce or any act calculated to imperil Bangladesh.According to the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Bangladesh carried out six executions in 2017.

Cephas Lumina

Cephas Lumina is a Zambian lawyer and human rights expert. From 2008 to 2014 he was the "United Nations Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights", appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council. He was succeeded by the Argentine lawyer Juan Pablo Bohovslavsky.He holds an LLB with Merit (Zambia), an LLM in International Human Rights Law (Essex, United Kingdom), a PhD in International Human Rights Law (Griffith University, Australia), and an Advanced Diploma in International Human Rights (Åbo Akademi University, Finland).

He is an Advocate of the High Court for Zambia and an Extra-Ordinary Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria, and has served as a Visiting Professor at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Lund University in Sweden, a Visiting Lecturer at Makerere University in Uganda and as a consultant to the United Nations, the International Development Law Organization, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, the Human Rights Trust of Southern Africa, Women for Change and the High Court of Tanzania. He has written and lectured on human rights, humanitarian law, commercial law and legal education. He is also a member of the editorial boards of the International Human Rights Law Review and African Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law.

Freedom from discrimination

The right to freedom from discrimination is internationally recognised as a human right and enshrines the principle of egalitarianism. The right to freedom from discrimination is recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and enshrined in international human rights law through its inclusion in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The right to freedom from discrimination is particularly relevant for groups that have been historically discriminated against and "vulnerable" groups. In this respect, the right to freedom from discrimination has been elaborated upon in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Global Rights

Global Rights is an international human rights capacity-building non-governmental organization (NGO). Founded in Washington, D.C., in 1978 with the name International Human Rights Law Group, the organization changed its name to Global Rights: Partners for Justice in 2003 on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. In December 2014 it shut its Washington headquarters and devolved the center of its operations to its country office in Nigeria and Burundi from where the organization continues to work with local activists in Africa to promote and protect the rights of marginalized populations. It provided technical assistance and training to enable local partners to document and expose human rights abuses, conduct community outreach and mobilization, advocate for legal and policy reform, and provide legal and paralegal services.Global Rights amplifies the voices of grassroots activists and organizations, and builds their capacity to address inequalities and human rights violations and bring their struggles to the attention of regional and international institutions such as the United Nations and African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, which develop and enforce human rights standards.The organization's model works and builds impact from the broad base of society upwards, teaching and training coalitions, organizations and individuals with a participatory approach that fosters long-term transparency and sustainable change. Global Rights is distinctive in its grass roots approach that strengthens activists to document and expose human rights abuses, conduct community outreach and mobilization, advocate for legal and policy reform, and provide legal and paralegal services. Their goals is to increase access to justice for poor and marginalized groups, promote women’s rights and gender equality, and advance ethnic and racial equality. They also work through special initiatives for The protection of the Rights of Civilians in Armed Conflicts and natural resources and human rights.Global Rights’ programs address governance failures that exacerbate the disenfranchisement and the violations of the rights of the poor and marginalized, women and victims of discrimination. While the need for action is universal, no one model is uniformly applicable and all programs are customized to local needs and conditions.

Human Price of Freedom and Justice

The Human Price of Freedom and Justice is a joint report by a group of Bahrain's independent human rights NGOs presenting the main key findings from the ongoing effort to document violations occurring in the state of Bahrain during the Bahraini uprising (2011–present). The 87-page report gives background to the situation, then identifies and document all the types of violations that took place, with the aim of putting out recommendations to the Bahraini government, as well as the EU, US, UN OHCHR and the ICC. The report was published on 22 November 2011, 1 day before the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report was published. The report has found that the violations have been widespread and systematic. Finally, the report urged the U.N. to "send an urgent mission to Bahrain to investigate the deaths of at least 4 protesters killed since BICI closed its doors."

International human rights instruments

International human rights instruments are treaties and other international documents relevant to international human rights law and the protection of human rights in general. They can be classified into two categories: declarations, adopted by bodies such as the United Nations General Assembly, which are not legally binding although they may be politically so as soft law; and conventions, which are legally binding instruments concluded under international law. International treaties and even declarations can, over time, obtain the status of customary international law.

International human rights instruments can be divided further into global instruments, to which any state in the world can be a party, and regional instruments, which are restricted to states in a particular region of the world.

Most conventions establish mechanisms to oversee their implementation. In some cases these mechanisms have relatively little power, and are often ignored by member states; in other cases these mechanisms have great political and legal authority, and their decisions are almost always implemented. Examples of the first case include the UN treaty committees, while the best exemplar of the second case is the European Court of Human Rights.

Mechanisms also vary as to the degree of individual access to them. Under some conventions – e.g. the European Convention on Human Rights – individuals or states are permitted, subject to certain conditions, to take individual cases to the enforcement mechanisms; under most, however (e.g. the UN conventions), individual access is contingent on the acceptance of that right by the relevant state party, either by a declaration at the time of ratification or accession, or through ratification of or accession to an optional protocol to the convention. This is part of the evolution of international law over the last several decades. It has moved from a body of laws governing states to recognizing the importance of individuals and their rights within the international legal framework.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are sometimes referred to as the international bill of rights.

International humanitarian law

International humanitarian law (IHL) is the law that regulates the conduct of war (jus in bello). It is that branch of international law which seeks to limit the effects of armed conflict by protecting persons who are not participating in hostilities, and by restricting and regulating the means and methods of warfare available to combatants.

IHL is inspired by considerations of humanity and the mitigation of human suffering. "It comprises a set of rules, established by treaty or custom, that seeks to protect persons and property/objects that are (or may be) affected by armed conflict and limits the rights of parties to a conflict to use methods and means of warfare of their choice". It includes "the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions, as well as subsequent treaties, case law, and customary international law". It defines the conduct and responsibilities of belligerent nations, neutral nations, and individuals engaged in warfare, in relation to each other and to protected persons, usually meaning non-combatants. It is designed to balance humanitarian concerns and military necessity, and subjects warfare to the rule of law by limiting its destructive effect and mitigating human suffering.Serious violations of international humanitarian law are called war crimes. International humanitarian law, jus in bello, regulates the conduct of forces when engaged in war or armed conflict. It is distinct from jus ad bellum which regulates the conduct of engaging in war or armed conflict and includes crimes against peace and of war of aggression. Together the jus in bello and jus ad bellum comprise the two strands of the laws of war governing all aspects of international armed conflicts.

The law is mandatory for nations bound by the appropriate treaties. There are also other customary unwritten rules of war, many of which were explored at the Nuremberg War Trials. By extension, they also define both the permissive rights of these powers as well as prohibitions on their conduct when dealing with irregular forces and non-signatories.

International humanitarian law operates on a strict division between rules applicable in international armed conflict and internal armed conflict. This dichotomy is widely criticized.The relationship between international human rights law and international humanitarian law is disputed among international law scholars. This discussion forms part of a larger discussion on fragmentation of international law. While pluralist scholars conceive international human rights law as being distinct from international humanitarian law, proponents of the constitutionalist approach regard the latter as a subset of the former. In a nutshell, those who favor separate, self-contained regimes emphasize the differences in applicability; international humanitarian law applies only during armed conflict. On the other hand, a more systemic perspective explains that international humanitarian law represents a function of international human rights law; it includes general norms that apply to everyone at all time as well as specialized norms which apply to certain situations such as armed conflict and military occupation (i.e., IHL) or to certain groups of people including refugees (e.g., the 1951 Refugee Convention), children (the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child), and prisoners of war (the 1949 Third Geneva Convention).

Democracies are likely to protect the rights of all individuals within their territorial jurisdiction.

Involuntary treatment

Involuntary treatment (also referred to by proponents as assisted treatment and by critics as forced drugging) refers to medical treatment undertaken without the consent of the person being treated. In almost all circumstances, involuntary treatment refers to psychiatric treatment administered despite an individual's objections. These are typically individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder and are deemed by a court or by two doctors to be a danger to themselves or to others.

Reparation (legal)

In jurisprudence, reparation is replenishment of a previously inflicted loss by the criminal to the victim. Monetary restitution is a common form of reparation.

In the Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, reparation include the following forms: restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition, whereby

Satisfaction should include, where applicable, any or all of the following: ..

(e) Public apology, including acknowledgement of the facts and acceptance of responsibility;

(g) Commemorations and tributes to the victims;

(h) Inclusion of an accurate account of the violations that occurred in international human rights law and international humanitarian law training and in educational material at all levels.

23. Guarantees of non-repetition should include

(e) Providing, on a priority and continued basis, human rights and international humanitarian law education to all sectors of society and training for law enforcement officials as well as military and security forces;

Right to a fair trial

A trial which is observed by trial judge without being partial is a fair trial.

Various rights associated with a fair trial are explicitly proclaimed in Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights, as well as numerous other constitutions and declarations throughout the world. There is no binding international law that defines what is not a fair trial; for example, the right to a jury trial and other important procedures vary from nation to nation./

Right to science and culture

The right to science and culture is one of the economic, social and cultural rights claimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related documents of international human rights law. It recognizes that everyone has a right to participate in culture, to benefit from science and technology, and to protection of authorship.

Right to sexuality

The right to sexuality incorporates the right to express one's sexuality and to be free from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. In specific, it relates to the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientations, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, and the protection of those rights, although it is equally applicable to heterosexuality. The right to sexuality and freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is based on the universality of human rights and the inalienable nature of rights belonging to every person by virtue of being human.

No right to sexuality exists explicitly in international human rights law; rather, it is found in a number of international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Right to social security

The right to social security is recognized as a human right and establishes the right to social security assistance for those unable to work due to sickness, disability, maternity, employment injury, unemployment or old age. Social security systems provided for by states consist of social insurance programs, which provide earned benefits for workers and their families by employment contributions, and/or social assistance programs which provide non-contributory benefits designed to provide minimum levels of social security to persons unable to access social insurance.

Right to work

The right to work is the concept that people have a human right to work, or engage in productive employment, and may not be prevented from doing so. The right to work is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law through its inclusion in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, where the right to work emphasizes economic, social and cultural development.

Spanish 1977 Amnesty Law

The Spanish 1977 Amnesty Law is a law promulgated by the Parliament of Spain in 1977, two years after caudillo Francisco Franco's death. The law freed political prisoners and permitted those exiled to return to Spain, but guaranteed impunity for those who participated in crimes under the Civil War and Francoist Spain. The law is still in force, and has been used as a reason for not investigating and prosecuting Francoist human rights violations.The act institutionalized Spain's "pact of forgetting"—a decision among Spanish parties and political actors, during and after the Spanish transition to democracy, not to address atrocities committed by the Spanish State. The 1977 amnesty has been criticized by scholars for equating "victims and victimizers" and for shielding human rights violators from prosecution and punishment. Spain has argued that perpetrators of crimes against humanity cannot be prosecuted for crimes committed before 1939, but the UN takes the view that Francoist crimes should be investigated. In February 2012 the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights demanded the 1977 Amnesty Law to be repealed on the basis that it violates international human rights law. The Commissioner referred to Spain's obligation to comply with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Under international human rights law, there is no statute of limitations for crimes against humanity. In 2013, a UN working group of experts called upon Spain to repeal the 1977 law.In 2008, Judge Baltasar Garzón briefly began an official inquiry, symbolically indicting Franco for the disappearance of more than 100,000 people. In 2009, Manos Limpias, a far-right syndicate, brought criminal charges against the judge for defying the amnesty law. Garzón was acquitted of the charges of "knowingly acting without jurisdiction" relating to his investigation of Francoist crimes, but was disbarred for 11 years by the Spanish Supreme Court in 2012 on an unrelated charge.

UCLA School of Law

The UCLA School of Law, also referred to as UCLA Law, is one of 12 professional schools at the University of California, Los Angeles. UCLA Law has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 20 law schools in the United States since the late 1990s. Its 17,000 alumni include more judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit than any other law school, as well as leaders in private law practice, government service, the judiciary, entertainment and entertainment law, and public interest law. As part of a renowned public university, the school's mission is to provide an excellent legal education while expanding access to the legal professional to those who otherwise would not be able to pursue a legal degree. The dean of the school is Jennifer L. Mnookin., an evidence scholar who joined the UCLA Law faculty in 2005 and became the school's ninth dean, and third female dean, in 2015.

United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict

The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict was a team established in August 2014 by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) during the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict as an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in the Palestinian territories, particularly the Gaza Strip, in connection with the conflict. Although the West Bank and Fatah are included in the investigation, the focus of the report is on Gaza and Hamas. In February 2015, the chairman of the commission, William Schabas, resigned after it was revealed that he had been a paid consultant for the PLO in 2012. The final report of the Commission was issued on 22 June 2015.

Yogyakarta Principles

The Yogyakarta Principles is a document about human rights in the areas of sexual orientation and gender identity, published as the outcome of an international meeting of human rights groups in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in November 2006. The Principles were supplemented in 2017, expanding to include new grounds of gender expression and sex characteristics, and a number of new principles.

The Principles and the supplement contains a set of precepts intended to apply the standards of international human rights law to address the abuse of human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and intersex people.

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