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JUR 5710 Institutions and Procedures

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  1. JUR 5710 Institutions and Procedures UN Charter and human rights bodies Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  2. Historical background in international law • Traditionally a law among nations • The treatment of individuals within the jurisdiction of the State • Exceptions: • Aliens • Diplomats • International humanitarian law • Slaves • Minorities • Workers Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  3. Introduction • Charter of the United Nations (1945) • Article 1 “The Purposes of the United Nations are: • To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace; • To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace; • To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and • To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends. Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  4. UN Charter (1) • Principal organs, Art. 7: • a General Assembly • a Security Council • an Economic and Social Council • a Trusteeship Council • an International Court of Justice • and a Secretariat. • Such subsidiary organs as may be found necessary may be established in accordance with the present Charter. Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  5. UN Charter (2) • General Assembly, Art. 13 • The General Assembly shall initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of: • a. promoting international co-operation in the political field and encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification; • b. promoting international co-operation in the economic, social, cultural, educational, and health fields, and assisting in the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion. • The further responsibilities, functions and powers of the General Assembly with respect to matters mentioned in paragraph 1 (b) above are set forth in Chapters IX and X. Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  6. UN Charter (3) • General Assembly Resolution (15 March 2006), • 60/251 Human Rights Council: • 1. Decides to establish the Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, in replacement of the Commission on Human Rights, as a subsidiary organof the General Assembly; the Assembly shall review the status of the Council within five years (emphasis added); Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  7. UN Charter (4) • The Security Council: • Article 24 • In order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations, its Members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf. Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  8. UN Charter (5) • Economic Social Council: • 54 members elected by the GA for 3-years, Article 61 • One functional Commission: the Commission on the Status of Women • Article 62: • The Economic and Social Council may make or initiate studies and reports with respect to international economic, social, cultural, educational, health, and related matters and may make recommendations with respect to any such matters to the General Assembly to the Members of the United Nations, and to the specialized agencies concerned. • It may make recommendations for the purpose of promoting respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. • It may prepare draft conventions for submission to the General Assembly, with respect to matters falling within its competence. • It may call, in accordance with the rules prescribed by the United Nations, international conferences on matters falling within its competence. Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  9. UN Charter (6) • The International Court of Justice • Article 92 • The International Court of Justice shall be the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It shall function in accordance with the annexed Statute, which is based upon the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice and forms an integral part of the present Charter. Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  10. International Court of Justice (ICJ) • The Statute of the ICJ • Article 34.1 • Only states may be parties in cases before the Court. • Article 38.1: • The Court, whose function is to decide in accordance with international law such disputes as are submitted to it, shall apply: • a. international conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules expressly recognized by the contesting states; • b. international custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as law; • c. the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations; • d. subject to the provisions of Article 59, judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations, as subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law. Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  11. UN Charter (7) • Article 55 • With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote: • a. higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development; • b. solutions of international economic, social, health, and related problems; and international cultural and educational cooperation; and • c. universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion. • Article 56 • All Members pledge themselves to take joint and separate action in co-operation with the Organization for the achievement of the purposes set forth in Article 55 Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  12. High Commissioner for Human Rights (1) • Created by GA Res. 48/141 of 20 December 1993 • The Office of the HCHR and the Centre for Human Rights was merged in 1997 into the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) • The OHCHR has the principal responsibility for UN human rights activities, see para. 4 • The OHCHR shall , para.3: • (a) Function within the framework of the [UN Charter], the [UDHR], other international • instruments of human rights and international law, including the obligations, within this framework, to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and domestic jurisdiction of States and to promote the universal respect for and observance of all human rights, in the recognition that, in the framework of the purposes and principles of the Charter, the promotion and protection of all human rights is a legitimate concern of the international community; • (b) Be guided by the recognition that all human rights - civil, cultural, economic, political and social - are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and that, …, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms; • (c) Recognize the importance of promoting a balanced and sustainable development for all people and of ensuring realization of the right to development, as established in the Declaration on the Right to Development; Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  13. High Commissioner for Human Rights (2) • GA Res. 48/141 para 2, • Decides that the High Commissioner for Human Rights shall : • (a) Be a person of high moral standing and personal integrity and • shall possess expertise, including in the field of human rights, and the • general knowledge and understanding of diverse cultures necessary for • impartial, objective, non-selective and effective performance of the duties of • the High Commissioner; • (b) Be appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and • approved by the General Assembly, with due regard to geographical rotation, • and have a fixed term of four years with a possibility of one renewal for • another fixed term of four years; Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  14. Human Rights Council (1) • GA Res 60/251 Human Rights Council: • 47 member States should be contributing to the protection and promotion of human rights (paras. 7-9) • Universal periodic review (para.5(e)) • Para 6: • System of special procedures –country and thematic • Complaint procedure (earlier 1503 procedure) • Expert advice –Human Rights Council Advisory Committee -18 experts Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  15. Human Rights Council (2) • Universal periodic review: • Starts in 2008 • All states reviewed • Intergovernmental process • Based on a state report, prepared with the involvement of stakeholders (NHRIs and NGOs) at national level • Based on: • UN Charter • UDHR • Human rights instruments to which the State is a party • Voluntary pledges • Applicable international humanitarian law • Objective: to improve the human rights situation on the ground Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  16. Human Rights Council (3) • Special procedures: • Specific countries (10) and thematic (28) • Individual (Special Rapporteur, Special Representative of the Secretary-General) or • Working Group (5 members from different regions) • Personal capacity • Activities: Country visits, responding to individual complaints, public reporting… Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  17. Human Rights Council (4) • Complaint procedure: • Two working groups (on Communications and on Situaions) to address • consistent patterns of gross and reliably attested violations of human rights • Confidential procedure • Manifestly ill-founded and anonymous communications are screened out Maria Lundberg, NCHR

  18. Human Rights Council (5) • Complaint procedure cont.: • Inadmissible if: • Manifestly political motivations and not consistent with applicable instruments • No factual description • Abusive language • Not victim – group or individual • Exclusively based on information from mass-media • Already dealt with by: • Special procedure • Treaty body • Regional complaint procedure • Exhaustion of domestic remedies (may include a quasi-judicial procedure of a National Human Rights Institution) Maria Lundberg, NCHR