Agree or disagree with the following statement: Regional human rights commissions and courts provide a more effective mechanism for holding human rights offenders accountable than United Nations treaty-based or charter-based bodies.
Manuel B. Flores
Human Rights in Conflict in the International System
Agree or disagree with the following statement: Regional humanrights commissions and courts provide a more effective mechanism for holding human rights offenders accountable than United Nations treaty-based or charter-based bodies.
There are many questions one can part from to approach a rational comparison between universal and regional system, such as: what are the advantages and disadvantages of a regional rather than a universal system? What are themain institutional structures and processes of the regional arrangements in Europe, the Americas and Africa? How do those regional arrangements compare to the UN system? Nevertheless, and following the approach of Steiner, I will not attempt a detailed analysis of these systems. Rather, I will try to indentify the key characteristics and features of one and another system and I will try to exposewhat impact these have on the protection of human rights. In the comparison, I will focus primarily on the European Convention, due to the brevity of this essay as well as because the European Convention is the most developed and effective of the regional system.
The UN Human Rights System:
The United Nations has created a global structure for protecting, monitoring and enforcing human rights intwo different approaches. One, Charter-based organs; these include those organs whose creation is directly mandated by the UN Charter, such as the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council; and those which have been authorized by one of those bodies, such as the Sub-Commission or the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and the Commission on the Status of Women. Two, treaty-based organs,such as the Human Rights Committees formed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
These organs that compose the UN System of human rights protection comprise three main components: first, it establishes international standards through its Charter, legally binding treaties, non-binding declarations, agreements, and documents; second, it mandates special Rapporteursand experts, and groups, such as working groups, committees and treaty bodies, to work in various manners for the promotion and protection of Human Rights; third, it offers technical assistance through the Voluntary Fund for advisory services and technical assistance in the fields of human rights ( UNHRS).
The type of protection provided by the United Nations on issues of human rights is based oneither Charter-based or Treaty-based mechanisms (Steiner p 737). Those mechanisms based on the UN charter include: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the Commission on Human Rights; and the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is one of the first international documents to be based on the idea that rights areguaranteed to each human being. Until then, most previous international declarations and treaties were based on the idea of positivism, whereby rights are only recognized once they have been set forth in national legislation. Like the UN itself, the UDHR was written with the aid of establishing world peace by promoting human rights. Even though the United Nations sponsored universalism, the UDHRbrought together 58 distinct geographic, cultural and political backgrounds in the formation of one universal document.
On its part, the Commission on Human Rights is the charter-based body that most directly deals with the area of human rights. It is assisted by the Sub-Commission on the promotion and protection of human rights, individual experts, representatives, and special Rapporteurs. In...