The UN Human Rights Treaty System in the 21 Century

Editor: Anne Bayefsky
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.

Table of contents

Preface. Contributors. Introduction; A.F. Bayefsky. I: An Analysis and Evaluation of the System of State Reporting. 1. An Analysis and Evaluation of the System of State Reporting; J. Connors. 2. State Reporting and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; C. Shalev. 3. State Reporting and the Committee on the Rights of the Child; J. Karp. 4. State Reporting and the Role of Non-Governmental Organizations; L. Theytaz-Bergman. 5. State Reporting: an NGO Perspective; R. Brett. II: Fact-finding as Part of Effective Implementation. 6. Human Rights Fact-Finding; J. Fitzpatrick. 7. The Role of a Human Rights Field Presence; I. Martin. 8. Fact-Finding in the Inter-American System; D.W. Cassel, jr. 9. Fact-finding as Part of Effective Implementation: the Strasbourg Experience; A. Drzemczewski. III: An Effective Individual Complaint Mechanism in an International Human Rights Context. 10. An Effective Complaints Procedure in the Context of International Human Rights Law; A. Byrnes. 11. Commentary on Complaint Processes by Human Rights and Torture Committee Members; (a) The Human Rights Committee; D. Kretzmer; (b) The Committee Against Torture; P. Burns. 12. Reflections on the Effectiveness of the European System for the Protection of Human Rights; M. O'Boyle. IV: Defining the Role of Non-governmental Organizations. 13. Defining the Role of Non-Governmental Organizations with Regard to the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies; A. Clapham. 14. Women's Human Rights NGOs and the Treaty Bodies: Some Case Studies in Using the Treaty Bodies to Protect the Human Rights of Women; A.M. Miller. 15. The NGO Role: Implementation, Expanding Protection and Monitoring the Monitors; S. Grant. 16. Defining the Role of Non-Governmental Organizations: Splendid Isolation or Better Use of NGO Expertise? M. Thomson. 17. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Non-Governmental Organizations; V. Dandan. V: Follow-up of Treaty Body Conclusions by the Treaty Bodies and the United Nations Mechanisms Beyond. 18. Follow-Up Mechanisms Before UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies and the UN Mechanisms Beyond; M.G. Schmidt. 19. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: A Link Between Decisions of Expert Monitoring Bodies and Enforcement by Political Bodies; M. Nowak. 20. The Effects of Final Decisions of the Supervisory Organs Under the European Convention on Human Rights; L.F. Zwaak. 21. Follow-Up in the ILO Context; J. Hodges. 22. Follow-Up of Treaty Body Conclusions by the Treaty Bodies and the UN Mechanisms Beyond; B.G. Ramcharan. VI: The Future of the Human Rights Treaty System: Forging Recommendations. 23. The Future of the Human Rights Treaty System: Forging Recommendations; E. Evatt. 24. A Court and Two Consolidated Treaty Bodies; T. Buergenthal. VII: The Role of National Courts: A Canadian Example. 25. Enforcing International Human Rights Law: The Treaty System in the 21st Century; Rt. Hon. A. Lamer. VIII: Conference Outcomes: Discussion and Recommendations. 26. Discussion; A. Bayefsky. 27. Conclusions and Recommendations; A. Bayefsky. Appendices. Index.

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