HUMAN RIGHTS - IGOs, Courts, Authorities, Tribunals, etc


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This is a sample for the HSC Legal Studies Human Rights package by HSC Apps. Just click Download and it's all yours to do what you want with it! Order online from June 7th from Even if you don't buy the package, please give this to your students in case it helps them understand the incredibly complex system of human rights IGOs, courts, authorities and tribunals around the world.

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HUMAN RIGHTS - IGOs, Courts, Authorities, Tribunals, etc

  1. 1. THE ROLES OF:-IntergovernmentalOrganisations-Courts, Tribunals andIndependent StatutoryAuthoritiesIntergovernmental Organisations (IGOs) create Human Rights instrumentse.g. the UN is the world’s largest IGOthe UN created the ICCPR, which 167 member countries have signedSome of these instruments create Courts, Tribunals and/or ‘Independent Statutory Authorities’There’s no such thing as an international ‘IndependentStatutory Authority’ because there’s no such thing asan international statute (only treaties). They justcouldn’t think of the international equivalent name forAN ORGANISATION THAT IS CREATED UNDER THEAUTHORITY OF A TREATY.WE’LL JUST CALL THEM‘INDEPENDENT AUTHORITIES’
  2. 2. THE ROLES OF:-IntergovernmentalOrganisations-Courts, Tribunals andIndependent StatutoryAuthoritiesIt’s unlikely that you’ll get a question specificallyabout Courts OR Tribunals OR ISAsBecause it’s not always clear which ones are which – THE LINES ARE BLURRED!e.g. We know that the High Court in Australia is a court – that’s all it isThe UN Human Rights Committee is SORT OF a court/tribunal, but wasCREATED BY a treaty (the ICCPR) – it’s kind of ALL THREE
  3. 3. IGOInstrument(e.g. Treaty)Court,TribunalorIndependentAuthorityUN Charter ICCPR ICESCR Rome StatuteGeneralAssemblySecurityCouncilInternationalCourt ofJusticeHumanRightsCOMMITTEEHumanRightCOUNCILCommittee onEconomic, Socialand CulturalRightsInternationalCriminal CourtConducts periodicreviews for eachcountry (whetherthey agree or not)to outline areaswhere countriesneed to act onH.R. When theCouncil targetscountries, actionis often taken.NOT REALLY ahuman rights court,but DOES hear casesabout self-determination andhuman rightsviolations acrossbordersNOT MADE todeal with humanrights issues, buthas now enforcedthe Responsibilityto ProtectMonitors compliancewith the ICCPR, butcan also hear petitions(cases) fromindividuals from 112 ofthe signatory countriese.g. Toonen v Australia(1994)Monitors compliance withthe ICESCR but DOES NOThear individualcases/petitionsNOT MADE to deal withhuman rights cases ingeneral, but DOES hearcases of crimes againsthumanity and genocide(which are also humanrights issues)
  4. 4. IGOInstrument(e.g. Treaty)Court,TribunalorIndependentAuthorityCouncil ofEuropeEuropean Conventionon Human RightsEuropean Court ofHuman RightsOrganizationof AmericanStates (OAS)AfricanUnion (AU)ArabLeague ASEANAmerican Conventionon Human RightsInter-AmericanCommission onHuman RightsAfrican Charter onHuman and Peoples’RightsAfrican Court ofJustice andHuman RightsArab Charter ofHuman RightsArab HumanRights CommitteeArticle 14 of theASEAN CharterASEAN Inter-GovernmentalCommission onHuman Rights
  5. 5. THE ROLES OF:-IntergovernmentalOrganisations-Courts, Tribunals andIndependent StatutoryAuthoritiesThe European Court of Human Rights- Oldest H.R. court (since 1959)- Individuals and NGOs are able to bring cases where a membercountry of the Council of Europe has violated the EuropeanConvention on Human Rights- It’s the most successful (in terms of compliance)- Now facing serious problems (new members since the 90s,like Russia and Serbia, which question the authority of theCourt to deal with some cases)- A 70% increase in cases in the last 20 years have led to “fast-track” reforms (changes to finish cases more quickly)
  6. 6. THE ROLES OF:-IntergovernmentalOrganisations-Courts, Tribunals andIndependent StatutoryAuthoritiesThe Inter-American Commission on Human Rights- Widespread non-compliance (or only partial compliance). NoOAS country has made complete compliance with the rulingsof the Commission as part of their domestic law- Frequent challenges to its authority- A lack of funding (the current system is actually in danger ofcollapsing due to the lack of resources and high number ofcases (13 lawyers for 50+ cases)Since 1988, has had to deal with a lot of problems:
  7. 7. THE ROLES OF:-IntergovernmentalOrganisations-Courts, Tribunals andIndependent StatutoryAuthoritiesFor BOTH the European and American organisations…Compliance with payments to victims is pretty good(Europe 70%, Americas 40%+)Effectiveness is still very low(countries are not changing the way they deal with human rights, they just follow theimmediate rulings)
  8. 8. THE ROLES OF:-IntergovernmentalOrganisations-Courts, Tribunals andIndependent StatutoryAuthoritiesThe African Court of Justice and Human Rights- Since 1988 (recently merged with the ACJ)- CHALLENGE: It will be working amongst some of the world’sworst Human Rights violations with many countries that havea history of ignoring the rule of law- They’ve decided that individuals and NGOs will not be able tobring cases against a government (unless the state agrees tothis)
  9. 9. THE ROLES OF:-IntergovernmentalOrganisations-Courts, Tribunals andIndependent StatutoryAuthoritiesThe ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights- Relatively new (since 2009)- Has to fight against ASEAN’s history of “non-interference” in the ‘internal’matters of ASEAN members- Decisions are made by consensus (so countries like Myanmar and VietNamare really able to hold back the Committee)- The fact that Myanmar/Burma is even a member of ASEAN doesn’t give itmuch credibility (given the horrific human rights abuses by its governmentthat continue now)- This Commission has been called a “toothless tiger” by many- At the first meeting of the Commission, the families of massacred Filipinojournalists tried bringing their case – the Commission made the decisionthat IT WON’T HEAR INDIVIDUAL CASES (ASEAN Human RightsCommission Stumbles at First Hurdle (2010))
  10. 10. THE ROLES OF:-IntergovernmentalOrganisations-Courts, Tribunals andIndependent StatutoryAuthoritiesThe ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human RightsThere is now an ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.HRW says it sucks, and for lots of reasons, mainly:1. It’s just a Declaration (non-binding)2. It’s full of ‘weasel words’ that let governmentsget around affording people their human rightsBut the UN has said that it’s better than not havinganything.ASEAN Human Rights Declaration:A step forward or a slide backwards(The Conversation 2012)
  11. 11. THE ROLES OF:-IntergovernmentalOrganisations-Courts, Tribunals andIndependent StatutoryAuthoritiesOVERALL…There has been a lot of focus on the EXISTENCE of these IGOs, Courtsand Authorities (YAY! We’ve GOT a court!)There has not been enough focus on COMPLIANCE and theEFFECTIVENESS of these organisations as a means of change (in termsof respect for human rights) (NO! It’s not working!)IGOs and Courts IN GENERAL have been struggling with:1. The massive number of new cases2. The endemic nature of the abuses (a lot of governments aresystematically abusing human rights)3. The frequent challenges to their authority