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Human Rights: Implementation and Enforcement

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International Development
INTD 200
Karen Mc Allister

Human Rights: Implementation and Enforcement - UN + international community outstanding @setting international HR standards - H: enforcement of these HR standards is another matter - Still horror stories all around world in respect to HR - What can be done? How do we enforce these standards that have been set by the UN? - 1 obligation when nats ratify HR treaty/vote for HR declaration = implement it @home - Prob: s/nats did pass implementation of legislation + set up HR commissions = phony - HR Commission would never disagree w/gov in power/didn’t have full independence - 1993: UN GA passed ‘Paris Principles’  set standards for HR instits @nat level  Must be independent, promo HR, ability to receive complaints… - 1 matter of ensuring enforcement of HR: make sure ratified nats implement @home - In addit: there are enforcement measures put in place internationally  H: don’t have powers internationally that national bodies do  Ex: Canada, if s/one breaks law can be brought to court, prosecuted… - Internationally, judgements can be made my UN bodies H: not enforceable  Can embarrass/shame a nat H: can’t enforce them in same way as nat courts  Except for: International Criminal Court - UN Enforcement Measures either charter-based/treaty-based - Charter-based instits for enforcement: instits which flow fr/charter of UN  Based on articles in UN charter which allow them to set up enforcement measures for HR  Principle charter-based instits: General + Specific  General instits: rd  GA, 3 Committee of GA (deals w/HR)  S/times Security Council takes up HR issues  Secretary General can set up special reps to look into certain flagrant HR abuses  Can refer matters to UN HR Council  More specific, special bodies that deal w/HR  Main: UNHR Council (formerly UN Commission on HR)  Sub-committee: Sub-Committee for the Promo + Protection of HR  Made up of experts, not poli reps of nats  Council can appoint special repertoires + mechanisms to deal w/certain HR abuses  Commission on HR – largest body dealing specifically w/HR @UN set up 1946  1 job: draft UNDHR  1 great accomplishment  Existed until 2006 when it was replaced by UNHR Council (attempt @reform)  Commission had 53 appointed members 3 year terms by ECOSOC  Attempt to represent 5 regions of world  Met for 6 weeks ea/year in spring, highly attended, all UN nats attend, NGOs  Commission became dysfunc over time, bogged down by E/W conflict  Ex: China + massacre @Tiananmen Square  Things that worked well under the commission:  1503 Resolutions (1970) allowed private individs to make direct complaints (communications) to UN Commission on HR  Appoint special rapporteurs (thematic/country) on arbitrary executions, torture, religious intolerance, sale of children, children in armed conflict…  Once appointed, could go anywhere to investigate complaints w/respect to issue they were assigned  Rapporteurs would make reports to Commission + Commission would pass resolutions that may support rapporteur’s report  Condemn nats for their HR abuses H: couldn’t be enforced  Country specific when there was certain prob, many complaints fr/1 nat  2006 as result of reform package, UNHR Council replaced commission  Made council smaller (53 to 47), appointed for 3 yrs, limit 2 terms  Elected by secret ballot in GA  Any nat that wished to be on HR Council had to sign written commitment would take steps ratify all major HR Conventions + coop UN w/visits of rapporteurs  Meets 3 times/yr  Universal Periodic Review: e/member of UN had to come up for review before a committee of HR Council e/3 to 4 years  E/1 under review, whether they have ratified the conventions/not - Treaty-based enforcement bodies: set up under individ HR treaties  All major specific HR treaties provide for a committee  All state parties must come before specific committee on periodic basis where their record is reviewed in respect to provisions of that partic convention  Ex: Canada before Committee Against Torture, condemned Cda for deciding recently
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