5. International Human Rights Law and Organizations
Since 1948 an elaborate body of international human rights law has developed through state practice, the work of international courts, and multilateral treaty making. Dozens of human rights treaties are now operative within organizations such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the African Union. Some of these treaties have been ratified by more than three-quarters of the world's countries. This section sketches the development of international measures to promote and protect human rights. Efforts to protect human rights through international treaties began in 1919 in the League of Nations and expanded after World War II with treaties such as the Genocide Convention (1948), the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950), and the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (both 1966). The international promotion and protection of human rights complements the legal protection of human rights at the national level.
* 5.1 Historical Overview
* 5.2 United Nations Human Rights Treaties
* 5.3 Other Human Rights Agencies within the United Nations
* 5.4 Regional Systems
* 5.5 The International Criminal Court
* 5.6 Promotion of Human Rights by States
* 5.7 Nongovernmental Human Rights Organizations
* 5.8 The Future of Human Rights Law
5.1 Historical Overview
When a government violates the human rights of its residents the victims may be able to appeal to the country's laws or bill of rights and get a court to order that the violations stop and that the government provide remedies. If suitable national laws and bills of rights are unavailable, however, victims of human rights violations may want help from international law and organizations. Traditionally, international law did not confer rights and protections on individual persons; its concern was exclusively the rights and duties of countries...