Human Rights How does the International Community protect Human Rights?
Treaties - History • The earliest treaty we can link to the protection of human rights was the Magna Carta in 1215. • French Revolution – Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (Men are born and remain free and equal in respect of rights) • Abolition of Slavery – various treaties
Since WWII • Page 183 of textbook • The ‘phases’ of human rights are evident in the development of treaties and international laws over time. • Recent Treaties about HR: • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Note: • There are two types: • Declarations: Not legally binding • Conventions: legally binding under international law
CRPD • Designed to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. • Parties are required to: • Promote, protect and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that they enjoy full equality under the law. • Adopted 13 December 2006 • Came into force 3 May 2008. • As of April 2012, 153 signatories and 112 parties
Guiding Principles • Respect for dignity, individual autonomy (including freedom to make own choices) • Non-discrimination • Full and effective participation and inclusion in society • Respect for difference and acceptance of people with disabilities as part of humanity • Equality of opportunity • Accessibility • Equality between women and men • Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities
Reservations • A number of states have some ‘reservations’ about the Convention: • Australia does not consider itself bound to stop forcibly medicating those labeled mentally ill. • Malta interprets the right to health as not implying any right to abortion. • Mauritius does not consider itself bound by the Article 11 obligation to take all necessary measures to protect people with disabilities during natural disasters, armed conflict or humanitarian emergencies. • The Netherlands interprets the right to life in Article 10 within the framework of its domestic laws. • The United Kingdom has reservations relating to the right to education, immigration, service in the armed forces and an aspect of social security law.
Are they successful? • Why wouldn’t a state ratify a treaty? • How are they enforced?
Activity • Choose one of the treaties and find out the information listed below:
States • Sign and Ratify the relevant human rights laws and treaties. • Some states do not choose to include themselves. • Some precedents have been set: • 1998 Pinochet’s extradition from the UK for HR abuses whilst he was Chile’s dictator from 1973-1990. (Universal juristiction) • US Alien Tort Claims Act allows US federal courts to try “any civil action by an alien for a tort committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the US.” Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic had case against him.
Global Governance: UN • Their position is clear, and a response to WWII. • UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) • Deploy advisors to signatory states, provide funding for HR projects within peacekeeping missions, investigating and documenting HR situations. • BUT OHCHR lacks enforcement powers. • UN Human Rights Council examines, monitors and publicly reports on HR situations in states and territories.
Global Governance: Int Criminal Trib • Prosecute, hold accountable those responsible for HR violations. • EG International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) invokes the Geneva Convention. • Slobodan Milosevic charged with crimes committed in Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia during Presidency. • Special Court for Sierra Leone, Charles Taylor charged. • Very expensive to operate, costs are over 10% of UN budget.
Global Governance: ICC • Global Jurisdiction • Operates when states are unwilling or unable to prosecute those accused of serious crimes. • Legitimacy and resources required for effective work challenged. • Not all states are party to the ICC.
Inter-Governmental Organisations • European Union’s European Court of Human Rights • Can go beyond national government to this ‘regional’ body. • Court has delivered more than 10,000 judgments which are binding on states concerned.
NGOs – Amnesty International • Campaigns for HR • Membership of over 3 million and operating in over 80 states. • Highlight situations where HR abuses are happening. • Petitions, vigils, awareness-raising.
Writing Practice • Construct a paragraph evaluating how successful global actors have been in their responses to human rights abuses around the world.