Every United Nations member state is part of the human rights treaty system through the ratification of at least one of the six major human rights treaties, rendering universal participation a reality. For human rights victims, the treaty system is of central importance because international legal standards may offer benefits which political fora may not: the potential to generate remedies, attention, accessiblity.
At the same time, the implementation mechanisms associated with the human rights treaties were designed at a time when the argument that international interest in human rights was an interference in domestic jurisdiction was at its peak. The challenge for the 21st Century is to move the theory of universality of international human rights standards towards effective implementation of human rights obligations.
This book is a major contribution to the effort to focus attention on effective implementation of the human rights treaties. The contributors examine the major implementation shortfalls of the UN human rights treaty system, and offer concrete recommendations as to where future implementations efforts should be placed.
The contributors are in a unique position to formulate and share their insights. They are drawn from among all of the constituencies involved in the human rights treaty system: the treaty bodies themselves, the NGO community, the UN secretariat, regional human rights regimes, UN agencies, UN human rights actors from the Human Rights Commission, the judiciary and academia.
The book also includes, as a unique resource, all of the major documents concerning the UN human rights treaty system: the text of the treaties, the text of all amendments, statistics on individual communications to the treaty bodies, the text of all meetings of the chairpersons of the treaty bodies, reports and commentaries submitted to the UN Human Rights Commission, recent resolutions of the Human Rights Commission and the General Assembly on the human rights treaties, reform proposals by the International Law Association, regional human rights instruments.
In the words of Philip Alston, the author of the UN report on enhancing the long-term effectiveness of the UN human rights treaty system, Professor Bayefsky's work `...has been more systematic and comprehensive, and has continued over a longer period of time, than any other comparable sholarly work on the subject.' (March 2000)
In this volume Professor Bayefsky has collected the views of a range of authors immersed in the contribution and welfare of the UN human rights treaty system in the 21st century. It is necessary text for all those interested in the future of the international protection of human rights.
This unique collection gathers together important instruments dealing with the relationship between business and a range of topics such as labour rights, security issues, environmental protection, anti-corruption, good governance, poverty alleviation and development, which all have important human rights dimensions. The premise for the collection is that business has both the responsibility and the opportunity to respect and support human rights. Selected instruments cover various stages of business involvement with human rights issues, spanning codes of conduct, monitoring, reporting, certification, lables and partnerships for development. Initiatives of institutional investors, social index providers, insurers, and banks are also covered. Websites for each instrument and its issuer are provided in order to facilitate updates and further inquiry into the issuer's activities. The introduction seeks to offer a perspective for examining voluntary initiatives and corporate social responsibility, one of today's most controversial human rights topics.