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International and European Human Rights Law

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					International and European
     Human Rights Law


    International human rights
  protection: UN Charter bodies
General comments


 A much broader mandate
 More visible and newsworthy
 Highly politicized
 Selective targeting
Secretary-General


 Since 1 January 2006 - Ban Ki-Moon
 Chief administrative officer with
  powerful moral authority
 SG‟s role in human rights has increased
General Assembly

              Article 10, UN Charter
“The General Assembly may discuss any questions or
   any matters within the scope of the present Charter
  or relating to the powers and functions of any organs
           provided for in the present Charter …”
              Article 13, UN Charter
“The General Assembly shall initiate studies and make
  recommendations for the purpose of: … assisting in
    the realization of human rights and fundamental
   freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex,
                  language, or religion.”
General Assembly

 Representatives of the UN member
  states
 Can be considered as a “universal
  legislator”
 GA
    – Adopts recommendations and declarations
    – Approves treaties
    – Has several subsidiary bodies
Security Council

 Powers under Charter‟s Chapter VI and
  VII
 Its task is to maintain “international
  peace and security”
    – Adopts measures that threaten it
    – HR are an essential element of such peace
      and security
   SC measures are binding (Chapter VII)
Economic and Social Council
(ECOSOC)
                Article 55, UN Charter
ECOSOC “shall promote: ... “universal respect for, and
      observance of, human rights and fundamental
   freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex,
                  language, or religion.”
                Article 62, UN Charter
ECOSOC “may make recommendations for the purpose
  of promoting respect for, and observance of, human
        rights and fundamental freedoms for all.”

  ECOSOC has several subsidiary organs,
  which activities concern HR
UN High Commissioner of
Human Rights (UNHCHR)

 Currently - Navanethem Pillay (South
  Africa)
 Principal UN institution on HR
 With the rank of Under-Secretary-
  General
 Appointed by SG, approved by GA
UNHCHR, functions
   Promoting and protecting HR
    – Incl. international cooperation, advisory services
      and technical and financial assistance
   Reaction to situations challenging HR
    – Incl. active role in removing obstacles to the full
      realizations of HR, preventing the continuation of
      HR violations, engaging in dialogue with
      governments
   Coordinating HR-related activities
    – Incl. acting as a centre of UN HR programme,
      making it more efficient and effective, assisting
      other UN organs by performing delegated tasks
      and putting forward recommendations
UNHCHR, activities
   Acts on its own initiative or as assigned by
    other UN institutions
   Reports to GA (annually)
   Submits reports on specific HR issues or
    situations
   Early warning and activating other UN organs
   Field presences deployed around the world
   Organising the HR component of UN
    missions
Human Rights Council

 Created under GA Resolution 60/251 of
  15 March 2006
 Replaces the former Human Rights
  Commission
 Subsidiary organ of GA
 Status will be reviewed within 5 yrs
HRC, cont‟d
   Meetings
    – 3 sessions annually for up to 10 weeks
    – In Geneva
    – First meeting on 19 June 2006
   Membership
    –   47 members
    –   Elected directly by GA
    –   Duration of the term 3 years
    –   Representatives of states
    –   Possibility of suspension
    –   Based on equitable geographical distribution
HRC membership by region
HRC

   Advisory Committee
    – Replaces the Sub-Commission on the
      Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
      (until 1999 – Sub-Commission on
      Prevention of Discrimination and Protection
      of Minorities)
    – Acts as the „think tank‟ to HRC
      • Members are HR experts
HRC, functions

 Promote universal HR protection and make
  recommendations
 Promptly address situations of violations of human
  rights, incl. gross and systematic violations, making
  recommendations
 Drafting HR declarations and conventions
HRC,
Universal Periodic Review I
   Periodical review of the fulfilment of all HR obligation
    of all countries
    – All UN member states will be reviewed within 4 years, 48
      states per year
    – Based on Universal Declaration of Human Rights
   Cooperative mechanism, based on an interactive
    dialogue
    – full involvement of the country and other stakeholders
      concerned
 Fully intergovernmental - states judging states
 Complementing systems already in place
    – treaty-bodies
    – complaint procedures already in place
HRC,
Universal Periodic Review II

   In three stages
    – Reporting
    – Reviewing and
      conclusions/recommendations
    – Follow-up
    The 1503 Procedure
   Created under the ECOSOC Resolution 1503 (XLVIII) (1970)
    – To review and possibly act on communications from individuals and
      NGOs
    – To act upon situations which “reveal a consistent pattern of gross
      and reliably attested violations of human rights and fundamental
      freedoms”
   Confidential
   Admissible communications
    – Not manifestly politically motivated, language is not abusive
    – Gives factual description of the alleged violations
    – Authors are either direct victims of the violations or any persons or
      organizations acting in good faith and claiming to have direct and
      reliable knowledge of the violations
    – Not exclusively based on reports disseminated by mass media
    – Not under consideration in any other international procedure
    – Domestic remedies exhausted
    The 1503 Procedure
       Procedure
    1.    Working Group on Communications sorts through the
          communications received
    2.    Working Group on Situations decides whether to submit
          the report compiled to HRC and make recommendations
    3.    HRC decides one of the following
    –     To discontinue the examination of the situation
    –     To keep the situation under review and request more
          information from the state
    –     To keep the situation under review and appoint an expert
          to monitor the situation and report back to the Council
    –     To recommend OHCHR to provide technical cooperation,
          capacity-building assistance or advisory services to the
          state
    –     To refer the matter to the public consideration under the
          1235 procedure
   Disadvantages
    – Little political impact because of its confidentiality
    – Long and complex procedure
   Advantages
    – Educational process for developing states
    – Highlights problems which otherwise would be
      ignored by international community
    – Places increasing pressure on governments, since
      governments are sensitive to criticism on HR
      matters
    – It will be easier to take a next step and put the
      issue into public consideration
The 1235 Procedure

 Created under the ECOSOC Resolution
  1235 (XLII) (1967)
 Public
 Communications from governments and
  NGOs or matter taken up by HRC itself
The 1235 Procedure, results
 Assigning „advisory service‟ to the country
 Adopting resolution demanding more detailed
  information from the government and other
  concerned institutions to be submitted to it by
  next session
 Adopting resolution condemning the
  government and demanding specific
  measures.
 Appointing itself or asking the SG to appoint a
  Special Rapporteur, other individual or group
  to examine the situation and compile a report
   Disadvantages
    – Lack of co-operation from governments
    – Highly politicized, which result in some HR
      violators slipping through
   Advantages
    – the effect of „naming and shaming‟
    – NGOs get the opportunity to lobby
    – The chairperson can issue a public statement
      irrespective of what HRC decides
Special Procedures

   Entities
Working groups, rapporteurs or special rapporteurs, special
  representatives, independent experts, delegations
   Special Procedure by country mandate
    (9)
Burundi, Cambodia, North-Korea, Haiti, Liberia, Myanmar,
  Occupied Palestinian territories, Somalia and Sudan
   Special Procedure by thematic mandate
                        At the moment 29


     The mandates are under review by HRC
Special Procedures, activities
   Protective
    – Incl. collecting information, conducting visits,
      receiving and forwarding complaints, urgent
      appeals to governments
   Promotional activities
    – Incl. reporting on HR violations
   Analysing activities
    – Incl. identifying typical patterns of HR violations,
      locating and analysing the sources of HR
      violations, formulating policy and/or
      recommendations