International human rights law began in response to the horrors of war, particularly the Second World War, although the Geneva Conventions began earlier. The establishment of the United Nations gave international legitimacy to human rights, particularly because many nations signed the Charter of the United Nations, which explicitly mentions human rights (Preamble, Chapter I). Since the founding of the United Nations, it has adopted numerous treaties and resolutions committing signatories to respect human rights. It had also set up courts to prosecute persons suspected of gross violations of human rights. In addition, several other organizations have emerged and have been established by various treaties. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, for example, ensures that signatories to the American Convention on Human Rights respect this treaty. The European Convention on Human Rights obliges members of the Council of Europe to respect the human rights obligations set out therein. The Convention explicitly mentions the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and calls on all signatories to respect the fundamental principles of the document. Both the European and American Human Rights Conventions have international tribunals before which complaints of human rights violations can be brought. In addition, several African countries have signed the African Charter on Human and Peoples` Rights.
Many countries have ratified United Nations international human rights instruments. Thus, many human rights instruments, tribunals and declarations have been established since the Second World War, some of which inspired early human rights proclamations such as the Universal Declaration. Human rights remain an increasingly important international law. Human rights are a cross-cutting issue in all United Nations policies and programmes in the key areas of peace and security, development, humanitarian assistance and economic and social affairs. As a result, virtually all United Nations bodies and specialized agencies are involved to some extent in the protection of human rights. Some examples are the right to development, which is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals; the right to food, defended by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, labour rights defined and protected by the International Labour Organization, gender equality proclaimed by UN Women, the rights of children, indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities. In order to promote gender equality worldwide, women`s rights are specifically protected by the 1979 United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The Council of Europe adopted the declaration “Making equality between women and men a reality” in 2009. The adoption of this declaration marks 20 years after the adoption of another declaration on equality between women and men. The goal of the 2009 Declaration is to bridge the gap between gender equality in factual and legal terms. It calls upon Member States to address the structural causes of power imbalances between women and men, to ensure women`s economic independence and empowerment, to eliminate entrenched stereotypes, to eliminate violations of women`s dignity and human rights through effective measures to prevent and combat gender-based violence, and mainstreaming a gender perspective in governance.
Most major human rights treaties have a monitoring body to review the implementation of the treaty by ratifying countries. Persons whose rights have been violated may lodge complaints directly with the human rights treaty monitoring committees. One of the great achievements of the United Nations is the creation of a comprehensive body of human rights – a universal, internationally protected code that all nations can subscribe to and strive to achieve. The United Nations has established a wide range of internationally recognized rights, including civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. It had also established mechanisms to promote and protect those rights and to assist States in fulfilling their responsibilities. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is generally regarded as the basis of international human rights law. The UDHR, adopted in 1948, has inspired a large number of legally binding international human rights treaties. It continues to inspire us all, whether in addressing injustices, in times of conflict, in societies suffering from oppression and in our efforts to enjoy human rights universally. It represents the universal recognition that fundamental rights and freedoms are inherent in all human beings, inalienable and equally applicable to all, and that each of us is born free and equal in dignity and rights. Regardless of nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, skin colour, religion, language or other status, the international community pledged on 10 December 1948 to uphold dignity and justice for us all. Let`s say I`m driving in my car and I run into a red light. If I want to turn right, and that`s for sure in this situation, then in most states I can continue without fear of punishment.
But what if I do it where it`s not legal or safe? Then it is possible that a police officer will give me a ticket. Is the police officer and the court system supporting the contravention an external tax for me? Yes, but at the end of the day, traffic laws were made by people like me and can be changed by me and others working together. Thus, the law that governs how I behave when I want to turn right at a red light is a human invention to solve a human problem. 2 www.un.org/en/globalissues/briefingpapers/humanrights/quotes.shtml Europe has a well-established system of human rights protection within the Council of Europe, the cornerstone of which is the European Convention on Human Rights, based in Strasbourg. International human rights law sets out the obligations of Governments to act or refrain from certain actions in order to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals or groups. Complaints against a State are submitted to a commission or committee in a so-called quasi-judicial procedure. The Board of Supervisors then takes a decision and States are expected to comply, even if there is no enforcement procedure.