The UN human rights system

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THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM : HOW TO MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU

THE UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM : HOW TO MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU

The UDHR contains a preamble and 30 articles, which include a general prohibition of discrimination and set forth various types of rights and obligations, including po- litical and civil rights (such as the right to life, liberty and security of person, freedom from slavery and servitude, freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the right to recognition before the law, and the freedoms of thought, conscience, religion, expression, opinion, assembly and association) and economic, social and cultural rights (among them the rights to social security, work, education, and to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being). Although the UDHR is not a legally binding instrument (i.e. it does not create legal obligations for States), it has over time been widely accepted as a universal agree- ment on fundamental human rights norms that duty bearers are expected to re- spect, protect and fulfi l. It therefore carries signifi cant moral weight, and a number of its provisions now constitute customary international law.

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No lo suficientemente radical: por qué Jimmy Carter no cambió la política exterior estadounidense

No lo suficientemente radical: por qué Jimmy Carter no cambió la política exterior estadounidense

Hoping to implement a new foundation for executing foreign policy, Carter criticized the American system of conducting international relations. He militated against the professional form of diplomatic governance rather than merely anecdotal, ad-hoc, bi-lateral or regional US behavior. The highly educated elite fervently and successfully opposed him. Carter could not reconcile the confusion and the inherent contradictions of such divergent constituencies, competing interests and conflicting principles. The reforms he had in mind would remove the close-knit peer-group screening by pre-existing experts who could jeopardize his promise to give power to the people, providing freedom for the world rather than for America's conduct in the world. Pursuing human rights was also a political principle to legitimize his new paradigm for US foreign policy. Ostensibly, the public words aimed to present Carter as the custodian of a fundamental change; the reality was that the message was more about presidential powers and his personal leadership rather than a meaningful transformation of US foreign policy.

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Prólogo

Prólogo

As already mentioned, several human rights –not necessarily basic or fun- damental– get recognized or draw attention as society develops. Access to justice has been recognized as one such right in all jurisdictions and this has several facets and nuances. The right to a hearing and the right to be represented are all facets of justice delivery. Another such right that has come to be recognized is the right of the consumer of goods and services. All of us are consumers at some level, whether it is food or utilities or facilities. We pay for what we get and expect adherence to certain minimum standards by the supplier of goods or services. What if there is a deficiency in the quality of services or goods? Every grievance cannot be dealt with by the formal or conventional justice delivery system of courts and yet the rights of consumers must be enforced. From the adoption of the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection in 1985 till the revised version in 2015 several changes have taken place, including online resolution of disputes. It is the recognition of such rights and mechanisms of grievance redressal that confirms my belief that human rights are dynamic and constantly evolving.

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Reframing the debate on Migration, Development and Human Rights

Reframing the debate on Migration, Development and Human Rights

While the UN ’ s ‘ Universal Declaration on Human Rights ’ stipulates member states ’ commitment to upholding the fundamental rights of humankind, these are currently undermined by the economic and political dynamics of neoliberal globalisation. The discourse of neoliberal globalisation rests on the ideology of the free market, the end of history, representative democracy, and more recently, the war on terrorism. In practice, however, it promotes the interests of large corporations and a single, ex- clusive mode of thought, nullifying all alternatives. Although the prevalent discourse exalts the notion of citizenship and citizen rights and opportunities in a democracy with an open economy and full political participation, the latter is constrained to a limited electoral offer and often curtailed by an exclusionary political system. At the same time, fundamental human rights are systematically undermined and subverted by the doctrine of national security and the demands of a market economy at the service of multinational corporate interests, which turns the vast majority of the population into cheap means of production and objects of consumption. In addition, the so-called welfare state has been dismantled under the sway of mercantilism, and the satisfaction of most basic needs is conditioned by the market, where com- munal goods and public services are offered as new spaces for privatisation. Labour fl exibility, sustained by a massive workforce surplus and the systematic deprivation of labour rights, becomes a mechanism through which to increase competitiveness and extraordinary pro fi ts. All of this, in turn, seriously undermines the social, eco- nomic, political, and environmental fabric, leading to considerable damage. The advancement of structural reform in peripheral countries has led to increasing social debt, a fact that remains unacknowledged by governments and the entrenched powers.

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Rhetoric or substance : the attitude of East Asian states towards human rights treaties, and the possible development of a regional human rights mechanism

Rhetoric or substance : the attitude of East Asian states towards human rights treaties, and the possible development of a regional human rights mechanism

from, inter alia, article 7, even in the event of a public emergency; this could be considered evidence that this article is central to the object and purpose of the treaty, violating the physical integrity of the person. This principle is further elaborated in the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment, signed and ratified by China, which will be discussed below. The Preamble of the ICCPR states that “the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights”. The object and purpose of the ICCPR is therefore the protection of civil and political freedoms, which requires a transparent and impartial criminal justice system; the right to a fair trial could be said to be central to this principle. Some of the major issues concerning China‟s judicial system, running contrary to the ICCPR, are the lack of a presumption of innocence – fundamental to upholding the ideal of a fair trial – the use of torture in criminal and political investigations, an excessive use of judicially sanctioned death penalty, and a lack of judicial independence (Wan 2007: 743). Civil and political rights were up until recently at particular risk during the “strike hard” campaigns (no longer enforced), in which officials attempted to crack down on crime through swift and brutal punishments (Ip, Liu and Ling 2007: 32).

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STATE OF POWER 2015: AN ANNUAL ANTHOLOGY ON GLOBAL POWER AND RESISTANCE

STATE OF POWER 2015: AN ANNUAL ANTHOLOGY ON GLOBAL POWER AND RESISTANCE

Lacklustre developments have also occurred at the regional level where the efforts of the European Un- ion stand out as particularly underwhelming. Important money market reforms (that would protect short- term access to credit) have been abandoned while others have been watered down, such as hedge fund and private equity regulation, credit-rating agency reforms, fund manager bonus caps and the Financial Transaction Tax initiative. Similarly, there has been widespread reluctance to tackle the persistent “too big to fail” issue whereby the future collapse of a large banking institution within an EU member state would threaten the entire economy and force officials to cover bailout with taxpayer funds. As it currently stands, large EU banking firms have either consolidated or increased their domestic market position. It is little wonder, then, that in June 2013 the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning the slow pace and uncertainty surrounding regulatory initiatives, while rebuking the Euro- pean Council and European Commission (executive bodies of the EU) for their lack of commitment to the financial reform process. 9 Despite this, the most recent attempts at European regulatory reform have

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from abroad. There is, in general terms, a (direct and indirect) dialogue or a discussion between equal interlocutors, the rhetoric is sometimes consistent and, in the case of the violations in Oaxaca, the government has changed its mind. But there has not been a similar change in the discussion about military involvement in security tasks. In any case, the government has never attempted to explain the causes of the abuses; rather, it has recurred to broad arguments that recognize the value and the importance of human rights and pledge to investigate, but that fall short of accepting responsibility and providing an explicit reflection on the ways through which further abuses can be prevented. But the ultimate failure of the argumentation test comes in relation to the behavior of the government. In this case, it is not necessary to make the counterfactual experiment proposed in point five of Risse’s argumentation test because in spite of all the rhetoric, the government has not changed its behavior. In relation to the Oaxaca situation, “there is as yet no evidence of a determination on the part of these authorities to carry out effective investigations or to modify procedure and practice to prevent further violations” (Amnesty International, 2007a; also see Ballinas, 2007). 12 Particularly noteworthy is the lack of an effective investigation regarding the 20 or more killings registered during the most violent months of the conflict in Oaxaca. But the contradiction between rhetoric and practice does not emerge only from the fact that previous violations had not been investigated —new violations have occurred—. Tension and broad violence reappeared in Oaxaca as the traditional Guelaguetza festivities, celebrated every summer, approached. On July 16, dissidents clashed with the state police. Preliminary reports suggest that the police recurred to indiscriminate detention of protesters and to brutal beatings (see Editorial, 2007; Vélez Ascencio, 2007b, 2007d, 2007e; Gómez Mena, 2007; IACHR, 2007a). Human Rights Watch received “credible reports that police carried out arbitrary arrests, pulling people from passing cars and buses, and beating those in custody” (Human Rights Watch, 2007b). Similarly, the CCIODH regretted the new wave of “arbitrary detentions, grave injuries, abuses by security forces and lack of dialogue to solve the conflict” (CCIODH, 2007c).

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El marco de la Unión Europea para la promoción de los Derechos Humanos y el apoyo a la democracia

El marco de la Unión Europea para la promoción de los Derechos Humanos y el apoyo a la democracia

There are other reasons as well that explain the necessity of this analysis. First of all most of the literature on the EU human rights and democratization policy evaluate the impact of the EU policy in this field without taking into consideration what and how does the EU aim to promote human rights and democratization. Second, scholars and commentators often focus either on the human rights or in the democratization policy. There is no acknowledgement of the fact that they are considered, as we will show in the analysis of the Strategic framework as a single policy encompassing both dimensions. However, this is another reason for our analysis, the EU does not have a consistent and coherent approach to the promotions of human rights and democracy. Both concepts come together in some policy documents and instruments but not in all. Moreover human rights and democracy are sometimes used interchangeably as if there were the same. Upon adoption of the framework and the Action Plan, Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vicepresident of the European Commission (HR/VP), said:

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La Ley de derechos humanos 1998: la implementación de la Convención europea de derechos humanos en el sistema legal británico

La Ley de derechos humanos 1998: la implementación de la Convención europea de derechos humanos en el sistema legal británico

The HRA has had a relevant impact in the English legal system and has contributed to develop a more constitutionalized political system. Thanks to the HRA, citizens can enforce the rights recognised in ECHR before national courts (although appeals to Strasbourg are still possible as last resource) instead of bringing directly a case to Strasbourg. It allows saving money and time. In addition, the HRA has allowed avoiding conflicts between national and international law and reducing problems of bringing domestic law into line with the ECHR. However, HRA is only the first step in the right direction, provisions such as taking Strasbourg decisions into account (s.2), interpreting domestic law ´as far as possible´ in a compatible way with the ECHR (s.3) or declarations of incompatibility (s.4) show that the HRA does not fully implement the ECHR into the UK legal system. Furthermore, The HRA has not entrenched the Convention Right in the UK legal system 61 .

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HUMAN RIGHTS AND CAPABILITIES

HUMAN RIGHTS AND CAPABILITIES

I have discussed these diagnoses elsewhere (for example Sen, 1999). Contrary to cultural stereotypes, the histories of different countries in the world have shown considerable variations over time as well as between different groups within the same country. When, in the twelfth century, the Jewish philosopher Maimonedes had to flee an intolerant Europe and its Inquisitions to try to safeguard his human right to stick to his own religious beliefs and practice, he sought shelter in Emperor Saladin’s Egypt (via Fez and Palestine), and found an honoured position in the court of this Muslim emperor. Several hundred years later, when, in Agra, the Moghal emperor of India, Akbar, was arguing — and legislating — on the government’s duty to uphold the right to religious freedom of all citizens, the European Inquisitions were still going on, and Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake in Rome, in 1600.

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Asset recovery V. human rights: the European Court of Human Rights an the case of Paulet V. Unitred Kingdom

Asset recovery V. human rights: the European Court of Human Rights an the case of Paulet V. Unitred Kingdom

“Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.

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POVERTY AND HUMAN RIGHTS: BUILDING ON THE CAPABILITY APPROACH

POVERTY AND HUMAN RIGHTS: BUILDING ON THE CAPABILITY APPROACH

The convergence of the two streams is also becoming evident at the operational level. International agencies such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Develop- ment Programme (UNDP), UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and, increasingly, also the World Bank are beginning to consider how human rights concerns can be best incorporated into strategies for development and poverty eradication. Several bilateral donor agencies (especially, Department for International Development (DFID)) and international non-governmental organisations working in the area of poverty eradication and human development are attempting to embrace a human rights approach in their activities. These momentous changes in the orientation of development strategy call for clarification of the conceptual basis of the fusion of the two discourses. This paper makes an attempt in that direction by trying to explore the relationship between poverty and human rights. The central contention of the paper is that Amartya Sen’s capability approach provides a solid conceptual foundation for linking these two hitherto disparate discourses.

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Canadian Federalism, Human Rights and the Protection of Minnorities

Canadian Federalism, Human Rights and the Protection of Minnorities

“Whereas the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick have expressed their Desire to be federally united into One Dominion under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with a Constitution similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom…”

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Human Rights and Social Works

Human Rights and Social Works

In a similar vein, enriching findings for the stronger articulation of peace and social work have come out of a research publication officially launched in May 2018 in Geneva, in the Library of the United Nations. The book entitled Long Walk of Peace: Towards a Culture of Prevention, 2 result of a partnership between UNESCO and the Abat Oliba CEU University (Barcelona, Spain), analyses the value of peace as the first pillar of the United Nations’ work and one of the main objectives of UNESCO. Against the backdrop of Agenda 2030, and particularly SDG 16, it highlights the perspectives of 32 UN entities on the challenges of peacebuilding, and explores how they have perceived and contributed to the peace agenda within their own areas of competence. UNESCO believes that the current reconfiguration of the UN peace agenda provides an opportunity for all UN entities to evaluate their work within a larger framework of peacebuilding and conflict prevention and seeks – through this peace study – to contribute to the ongoing global reflection.

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Torture, Democracy and Human Rights

Torture, Democracy and Human Rights

It   does   not   have   to   be   something   as   extreme   as   torture.   Arrest   is   enough   and,   if   need   be,   the   first   blow   one   receives.   “If   you   talk,”   the   men   with   the   plain,   ordinary   faces   said   to   me,   “then   you   will   be   put   in   the   military   police   prison.   If   you   don't   confess,   then   it's   off   to   Breendonk,   and   you   know   what   that   means”.   I   knew,   and   I   didn't  know.  In  any  case,  I  acted  roughly  like  the  man  who  buys  a  newspaper,  and  spoke  as  planned.  I  would  be   most  pleased  to  avoid  Breendonk,  with  which  I  was  quite  familiar,  and  give  the  evidence  desired  of  me.  Except   that   I   unfortunately   knew   nothing,   or   almost   nothing.   Accomplices?   I   could   name   only   their   aliases.   Hiding   places?   But   one   was   led   to   them   only   at   night,   and   the   exact   addresses   were   never   entrusted   to   us.   For   these   men,   however,   that   was   far   too   familiar   twaddle,   and   it   didn't   pay   them'to   go   into   it.   They   laughed   contemptuously.  And  suddenly  I  felt-­‐the  first  blow.  

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Foreign aid and human rights : the Latin American experience

Foreign aid and human rights : the Latin American experience

turning to the political self-interest variables, distance is positively related to the chances of getting aid for denmark, germany, italy, Japan, norway, sweden and switzerland. in other words, Latin american states that are further away from each of these donors are more likely to receive development assistance. this means that even after we control for population size, south american countries are more likely to make it through the gatekeeping stage of these donors than central american or caribbean states. distance from the donor is not significant for the other oecd members in the study. While the distance between capitols may be relatively similar since we are focused only on the Latin american region, it is still a continuous measure that captures real differences, and also serves to capture any geographic differences between central and south america more finely than a dummy variable for region.

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Gender, citizenship and inequalities

Gender, citizenship and inequalities

Utako played a central role in the formation of Chinese women, founding in Shanghai in 1901 both a school and a publishing house "Society for the Renewal", which published the magazine "The Continent", widely read by the Chinese elite. In the magazine, Utako advocated her educational philosophy, "based on the need of education and employment of women," to improve not only themselves but also the country. (Carpinelli, 2007). The woman question was connected well with that of the re-founding of the Chinese nation, carried out by the nationalists of the first Kuomintang, fighting against the imperial dynasty and the attempt of Western colonization. If "the first steps of empowerment of women in China are connected to the uprisings of the Taiping (1851-1864) against the Empire and Manchu Boxer (1899-1901) against the Western colonizers" (Carpinelli, 2007), is in the nationalist struggle that figures such as Qiu Jin, formed in Japan, under the guidance of Utako Shimoda, became active. Qiu Jin fought at the same time for a Republican China freed from colonialism and for women's emancipation. Qiu Jin, who kept a school for girls, was beheaded in 1907, thirty-one years old, on charges of participating in an insurrectional project. The importance of women’s emancipation to transform China, based on the progressive Western ideas, was also supported by political leaders who fought for the renewal of China and against the imperial power, such as Sun Yat-Sen, the father of the Chinese Republic. The advent of the Republic in 1911 did not mean, however, the realization of women’s rights –as the elite Chinese women had dreamed of, such as the right to vote. Chinese women who fought for the emancipation of women were forced to leave aside their claims in a context in which China was threatened by Western economic colonization through unfair treaties and Japanese expansionism. As the Italian women during the Risorgimento, the Chinese women had to adhere to the national cause carried out by the Kuomintang avanti dal Guomindang 10 , putting aside their claims.

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Public health and the human rights of the elderly

Public health and the human rights of the elderly

By underlying the fact that the need to protect the human rights of the elderly has not yet been recognized by the international community, this paper analyses the discrimination older people may suffer because of age. Health, work and intergenerational transferences are addressed as the three areas where such a discrimination may be perceived; we distinguish vulnerability by reason of age from vulnerability due to other factors, such as gender, race, ethnic minority or socioeconomic status. Discrimination by reason of age is expressed through a number of actions or omissions aimed at treating individuals or collectivities under lower standards only because of age. It is evident that discrimination due to age does not act in isolation but in conjunction with other factors, thus increasing the risk of vulnerability and discrimination. It is the case, for instance, of health, gender and economic inequalities associated to discrimination by reason of age.

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DERECHOS HUMANOS Y PROCESOS CONSTITUYENTES

DERECHOS HUMANOS Y PROCESOS CONSTITUYENTES

The division of powers in the State (see chapter I, section A.2, of the present publication) guarantees the central role of the parliament as the representative of the people and as the legitimate institution capable of enacting legislation. This division also provides for the independence of the judicial power which, as discussed further below, is the ultimate tool for the protection of an individual or groups claiming their constitutional rights and freedoms. Finally, this principle of divided power serves to ensure that each part of the State – the executive, the legislative and the judiciary – confines its actions to its constitutional mandate, thereby limiting the concentration of power that can lead to unchecked and arbitrary action by the State. The division of powers is rarely expressed as such in constitutions, but the way the legislative, the executive and the judiciary are placed within the structure of the State and equipped with competencies ensures the necessary autonomy of the different powers and prevents their concentration. Nevertheless, people in countries in the process of democratic transformation frequently wish to articulate a clear proclamation of the elements of the new political and social order, and may wish to include these principles in the text of the constitution.

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HABITAT III POLICY PAPER 1 – RIGHT TO THE CITY AND CITIES FOR ALL

HABITAT III POLICY PAPER 1 – RIGHT TO THE CITY AND CITIES FOR ALL

Brazil: Brazil’s City Statute (2001) enshrines the right to the city and was inspired by the National Urban Reform Movement, a platform gathering civil society organizations and social movements. The Act expands on Chapter II of the Constitution and establishes the creation of the Ministry of Cities. Brazil is one of the few countries in the world having explicitly adopted the right to the city (together with Ecuador). The objective of the City Statute is to give municipal governments the power to foster the utilization of underused or vacant lots that are important for city development. In this regard, it requires municipal governments to create specific legislation to apply this tool through their master plans. The law also regulates the use of vacant lots in social interest zones (ZEIS 2 and ZEIS 3) and on the perimeter of the urban center. Owners are further subject to a progressive tax, and after a 5-year period, if the site is not developed and occupied, it can be expropriated. Brazil: São Paulo's Participatory council, created by Municipal Decree nº 54.156 of 2013, is an autonomous civil society organization recognized by the municipality as an instance of people’s representation in each district of the city. Its role is to exercise the right to social control and thus monitors public spending and policies. It also represents the needs of diverse areas of the municipality. There is also a council for immigrants.

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