Donnelly CH 10- The Priority of National Action
Course CodePolitical Science 3388E
ProfessorJames S Quinn
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Donnelly Chapter 10
The Priority of National Action
International action and the creation of authoritative international HR
norms, has had an important, but subsidiary role to the fate of HR. The
fate of HR- their implementation, abridgement, protection, violation,
enforcement, denial, or enjoyment- is largely a matter of national, not
1. The Limits of Multilateral Action
Multilateral actions are largely restricted to promotional activities,
rooted primarily with information gathering and with limited monitoring
powers. Complaint systems have very limited coverage and in the end
do not (except for in Europe) lead to enforceable judgments against
A. International Reporting Procedures
Reporting procedures are at the heart of multilateral implementation
systems and are “essentially on self-criticism and good faith efforts”
(Crawford) – obvious limitations with this.
Committees cannot always ensure hat the required reports are even
submitted. States need not respond to particular questions during their
public hearings or respond to the committee in a manner that is
adequate. There are no formal follow-up procedures other than review
of the next scheduled report.
The International HR obligations of states are implemented through, if
at all, national action.
•Reporting doesn’t provide a strong system for international
monitoring: no organized system exists for acquiring
•Supervisory Committee can only exert subtle pressures of
•Mandatory periodic reporting, if a state is serious about its
practices, is an opportunity to review national practices.
•Periodic reporting can provide an opportunity for national
improvement in information gather and processing to serve as
the basis for policy reform
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