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International and Foreign Law Research (E579) Nov. 15, 2006

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1 International and Foreign Law Research (E579) Nov. 15, 2006
Human Rights Research International and Foreign Law Research (E579) Nov. 15, 2006

2 International Human Rights Movement
Concept: each nation has obligation to respect the human rights of its citizens and the other nations citizens AND international community has the right and responsibility to protest if states do not adhere to this obligation. Includes: international agreements, rules, customs, procedures, institutions and domestic law of other countries. Terminology civil and political rights (“civil rights” in the US) social, economic and cultural rights

3 History Traditionally, a state’s treatment of individuals considered a domestic affair (respect state sovereignty). EXCEPTIONS: Slavery Convention of 1926 creation of International Labor Organization (ILO) in 1919 with universal standards for labor and social welfare. Early international law established how each nation should treat nationals of other countries (‘aliens’).

4 International Human Rights Movt.
Post 1945 = following the horrors of the holocaust and WWII (Nuremburg Tribunal) Creation of United Nations (1945) with purpose of promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms. UN Charter Article 1(3) states that one of the purposes of the UN is "[t]o achieve international cooperation 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". UN Charter Articles 55 and 56 set out the basic human rights obligations of the UN and its member states.

5 History, cont’d Well-established by 1960s with growth in United Nations membership. In 1970s - US President Carter decided that international human rights should play important part in US foreign policy. Amnesty International awarded Nobel Prize for Peace (1977)(human rights work for prisoners of conscience) Creation of post of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1994)

6 International Bill of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) e.g., prohibitions on slavery, torture, interference with privacy, protect right to fair trial, marriage, property ownership, political asylum, freedom of religion created UN Human Rights Committee Includes two Optional Protocols International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (1966) e.g., right to social security, employment, education, healthcare

7 United Nations Human Rights Bodies
Commission on Human Rights UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Commission on the Status of Women Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights CHART from the UN

8 Select Major Documents of International Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) Genocide Convention (1948) Convention on the Political Rights of Women (1952) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Woman (1979) Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984) Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)

9 International Human Rights Law
Multilateral Treaties United Nations Charter International Declarations, Resolutions, and Recommendations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN General Assembly 1948) Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious or Linguistic Minorities (UN General Assembly 1992) National Laws, regulations, court and administrative decisions and policy pronouncements

10 Who is bound by the law? states establish legally binding obligations via treaties and other international agreements AND customary international law (widespread practice and sense of legal obligation) Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States (1987) Section 702. Customary International Law of Human Rights A state violates international law if, as a matter of state policy, it practices, encourages, or condones (a) genocide, (b) slavery or slave trade, (c) the murder or causing the disappearance of individuals, (d) torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, (e) prolonged arbitrary detention, (f) systematic racial discrimination, or (g) a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. applicable to states rather than individuals, with exceptions

11 International Courts International Court of Justice (ICJ)(UN) (previously, Permanent Court of International Justice) International Criminal Court (genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity)(2002)(Rome Statute) Court of Justice of the European Union European Court of Human Rights (European Convention on Human Rights) Inter-American Court of Human Rights

12 Regional Organizations
Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) Inter-American Court of Human Rights Council of Europe European Commission on Human Rights European Court of Human Rights African Union (OAU) African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights African Court on Human and People’s Rights

13 Fundamental Human Rights
right of people to self-determination prohibition of slavery genocide crimes against humanity prohibitions of discrimination racial, sexual, religious, torture, refugees, children

14 Starting Points for Human Rights Research
Human Rights Research, (University of Washington Law Library), University of Minnesota Human Rights Library: Human Rights guides, documents, treaties, websites, and search engines (HuriDocs)

15 HR Starting Points, cont’d
ASIL “Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law: Human Rights” (by Marci Hoffman), Project of the American Society of International Law. EISIL, “International Human Rights,” Electronic Information System for International Law (from ASIL),

16 HR Starting Points, cont’d
Treaty Body Database, from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Includes full-text of human rights instruments, ratifications, reservations and status. United Nations Documentation Research Guide: Special Topics: Human Rights,

17 HR Organizations Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Witness, , trains human rights defenders to use video to document abuse and create change. Created in 1992 by Peter Gabriel and Reebok Human Rights Foundation (as a project of Lawyers Committee for Human Rights = Human Rights First)

18 Human Rights at UW Human Rights Education and Research Network, “International Protection of Human Rights” (UW Law Course B596 – Winter 2007) (Professor Stilt) UW Law School in process of developing the “Joan M. Fitzpatrick Fellowship in Human Rights Law” for law students

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