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Human Rights: Mechanisms and Implementation


Human rights in a nutshell Monitoring mechanisms The European system National implementation Discussions

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									Human Rights: Mechanisms and
            My own background
•   Deputy director at the Norwegian institute
•   County judge
•   Author of the Norwegian Plan of Action
•   Head of National Human Rights Institution
•   Partner at Bull & Co law company
•   Founding partner of ILPI
•   Researcher at the University of Oslo
        Overview over the lecture
•   Human rights in a nutshell
•   Monitoring mechanisms
•   The European system
•   National implementation
•   Discussions
     Definition of human rights?
• “Human rights are fundamental rights and
  freedoms protecting the individual against
  abuse of power by the state authorities”
• Theoretical or positivistic approach?
• Law, philosophy, history, politics
• Sources of law: conventions and jurisprudence
• Positivism
        The international level
• Experiences 1918-1939
• End of World War II
• Need for
  – Peace
  – Democracy
  – Equality
• Some elements in the UN Charter
• More in the UN Declaration 1948
                             UDHR in short
•   Equality of dignity and the rights of all
•   Personal rights
•   Relationships between people
•   Public freedoms and political rights
•   Economical, social and cultural rights
•   The international order
•   But
     – declaration
     – by some states
     – based on western experiences?
• Now:
     –   basis for binding conventions,
     –   part of the UN package,
     –   customary international law,
     –   protected in almost all national law systems
           More UN documents
•   ICCPR 1966: Civil and political rights
•   ICESCR 1966: Economical-social-cultural
•   CERD: Racial discrimination
•   CEDAW: Equality men and women
•   CRC: Rights of the child
•   CPT: Torture and maltreatment
•   Etc etc etc
         Regional mechanisms
• Comes in addition to the global standards: the
  state is bound to fulfill the maximum
• Regions:
  – Americas
  – Africa
  – Europe
  – Middle East?
  – Asia?
• Variations
         The European system
• Based on the Council of Europe
• Established in 1949 by 10 states: UK, Ireland,
  Be-Ne-Lux, France, Denmark, Sweden,
  Finland, Norway
• Why:
  – UN too slow and general
  – Afraid of the Soviet Union
  – Too many wars
        The European conventions
•   The CoE Charter
•   The convention on human rights (c & p)
•   The convention on social rights
•   The convention on torture
•   The framework convention on minorities
•   Biotechnology, children, terrorism, internet
    etc etc etc
        The European Convention
•   Reference to UDHR
•   Basically the same as ICCPR
•   Less open for derogations
•   Civil and political rights
•   Revised through protocols
•   Ratified by 47 European countries
•   Monitored through ECtHR
     European human rights bodies
•   The Committee of Ministers
•   The Parliamentary Assembly
•   The Congress of Local & Regional Authorities
•   The Conference of INGOs
•   The European Court of Human Rights
•   The Commissioner of Human Rights
•   The Secretary General
                 Some figures
•   47 states
•   200.000 regions
•   400 INGOs
•   800 million individuals
•   318 parliamentarians
•   2000 staff
•   200.000.000 Euro
                              EU vs CoE

European Union (EU)                Council of Europe (CoE)
27 Member States                   47 Member States
Mandate: “Trade”                   Mandate: “Constitution”
Higher delegation of sovereignty   Cooperation more than decisions
European Court of Justice          European Court of Human Rights
European Council                   Council of Europe
European Parliament                Parliamentary Assembly
European Commission                (European Commission of Human Rights)
Brussels (Belgium)                 Strasbourg (France)
• Including new democracies
    – Portugal, Greece, Spain
    – Turkey
    – Post Soviet states
•   New legislation
•   Solid democracies
•   Harmonizing
•   Moving in the right direction
       National implementation
• All depends on
  • The interests of the state
  • The resources of the state
  • The common ground?
• Obligation in result, not in means!
• A dialogue between
  • national experiences and
  • international standards
         Laws and other means
• Laws
  – Incorporation, transformation, inspiration
• Information and education
  – Risk groups, professionals, teachers, students etc
• Budgets
• National bodies
  – Courts, ombudsmen, NHRI
• Ngos, media etc
      Implementation in Norway
• A long history of
  • democracy, rule of law and human rights
  • resources, good administration, transparency
  • peace, dialogue, equality
• A mix of
  • market and state
  • individual and collective
  • rights and obligations
            Political challenges
•   Terrorism
•   Environmental collapse
•   Financial crisis
•   Culture/religion
•   Discrimination
•   State sovereignty overrides human rights?
•   UN is too slow?
•   The West has double standards?
•   Other problems to be solved first?
•   Universality?

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