LWSO 203 Lecture Notes - United Nations Human Rights Committee, Contract, Parental Leave

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Published on 19 Apr 2013
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International Law
1. Law: a superior governing sovereign body enacting legislation on subject with an
enforcement mechanism
2. International Law: a set of rules designed to regulate states conduct with each other e.g.
treaty rights
International Law does not have the factors of what makes a law. There
are no:
i. governing bodies
ii. no way to impose or enforce the law
most states follow international law. We only hear in the news about states
that do not
3. Customary Law: how states have customarily and traditionally interacted through time
and is now accepted and expected as the appropriate way to interact
It has become customary for states to follow the principles of DHRF
4. International Convections and Treaties:
1 a legally binding agreement deliberately created between two or more subjects of
international law which are recognized as having treaty making capacity
It only binds signatory parties (does not apply to non-signers)
creates a legal binding relationship between parties (deliberately and
consciously entered)
generally followed because it's a voluntary entry and usually beneficial
you cannot be forced or involuntarily enter
2 Ratification Process
a) Non UN states: states one on one draft and sign agreement as states and return to
domestic legislature to create, implement and ratify the agreement (often requires
domestic legislation to be created as well)
b) UN states
i. sign the UN declaration of Human Rights
ii. enter into international treaties for the protection of Human Rights
iii. ratification and implementation of domestic legislation to enforce
5. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The states that entered the treaty will respect and ensure to all individuals the
rights in the covenant through domestic legislation as necessary to give effect to
the rights and provide remedy if they are broken
a) self determination
b) right to life
c) freedom from torture and slavery (economic and sexual)
d) arbitrary arrest and detention
e) a fair, partial trial and presumption of innocence
f) individual liberty (thought, conscience, religion, speech and assembly)
g) Right to nationality, family, privacy, voting and participate in political
process, not to be discriminated against and equality before the law
a) countries agree to report to Human Rights committee about how their state
is doing
b) inter states complaints: the HR committee can hear complaints from states
about one another
c) Optional protocol: individual complaints to the UN HR committee
(optional, not all states have to agree to this; 113 states only)
a) Canada
i. Sandra Lovelace: Marrying in and out provisions of the Indian Act
ii. Waldman: public funding for catholic schools but not Jewish schools is
b) Optional Protocol #2: no death penalty
i. Canada voted yes
ii. USA voted no
signed in 1976 and came into force in 1976 and all but 29 states in the world have
signed. The Vatican, Fiji and UAE are non-signers
Covers: extraditions, deportations, citizenship (dual), trade, military
6. International Convection on Economic and Social Rights
entered in 1966 and enforced in 1976
160 states signed and ratified, 6 have signed but have not ratified e.g. USA
statement of principle that states believe in these rights
a. Take steps individually as a state and through international assistance and
cooperation (economic and technology) to maximize the use of its
available resources to progressively achieve full realization of the rights
b. This rights are:
i. health
ii. education
iii. adequate standard of living
iv. work in just and favourable conditions
v. right to family life (fully paid parental leave)
vi. food (equitable distribution of world food supply)
vii. clothing]
viii. live in peace and security
c. Difficult to enforce because of policy decisions of every state has to take
into account domestic resources
d. Enforcement: reporting requirement (less onerous and criticism received)
International Human Rights
1) Hunan Rights: Introduction
a) Purpose of Human rights law: to limit the actions of the state in relation to the
individual in order to protect fundamental human rights
state to state relationships, not individual human rights
only domestic protection
no international method of enforcing human rights
b) Overlap between International HR law and morality and concepts of freedom and
repetition of ideas of natural law "inherent and inhalable rights"
legal equality and moral equality
human rights are basis of society as a whole (starts with the individual and
flows to rest, rather than the other way around)
c) Universal aspects vs. cultural relativism
d) Historical impetus for protection of HR - WWII
2) Substance of HR at international law
a) 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights
right to life, liberty and security of the person (negative right)
right to name, identity and nationality
right to marry or not to marry
right to religious and spiritual beliefs
right to pursue livelihood
b) all rights in the declaration are negative rights (nobody has to provide them for
c) It has no legal obligations on or between countries
d) The only way for countries to oblige to international law is for them to voluntarily
agree to the legal obligations
e) countries can voluntarily submit reports on their human rights behaviours to the
f) urges states to implement legislation domestically which enforces these beliefs
and between countries