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A Practical Guide to Using International Human Rights and Criminal Law Procedures

Connie de la Vega and Alen Mirza

This book is a practical, experience-based guide for advocates seeking remedies for human rights violations through the use of international institutions. Since 1948, when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, mechanisms for addressing human rights violations have multiplied to include UN Charter based bodies, treaty-based organizations including the international criminal court, and regional institutions. Each mechanism has its own admissibility requirements: accreditation, timeliness of claims, and exhaustion of remedies. For practitioners, the maze of rules and institutions can be difficult to navigate. This book offers step-by-step approaches for maximizing the institutions’ intended effect–promotion of human rights at all levels.
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Conclusion

Connie de la Vega and Alen Mirza

Extract

This book provides a practical, experience-based guide for advocates using international institutions to remedy human rights violations. Since 1948, when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, mechanisms for addressing human rights violations have multiplied. These mechanisms, covered in previous chapters, include UN Charter-based bodies, treaty-based organizations, regional institutions, and others. These bodies provide numerous methods for addressing human rights violations, from filing complaints to participating in meetings that result in resolutions and raising awareness about these violations. Each mechanism has its own admissibility requirements, which include accreditation, timeliness of claims, and exhaustion of remedies. For practitioners the maze of rules and institutions can be difficult to navigate. This Conclusion looks to help advocates think strategically about how best to maximize the institution’s intended effect of promoting human rights at all levels based on their specific advocacy goals and objectives. Advocates should note that isolated engagement with international institutions is rarely successful. The most effective use of the procedures outlined in this book is when they are thoughtfully integrated as part of a larger advocacy strategy that engages, when appropriate, governments, other NGOs, both grassroots and global, human rights victims, and the media. As such, advocates should treat these procedures as one tool among many to realize their intended human rights objectives. Furthermore, advocacy will not end at the international or regional level. Advocates should work towards ensuring that decisions in cases or resolutions or other outcome documents are meaningfully enforced or realized at the national level. Lastly, advocates should recognize that human rights are interdependent and interrelated. As noted in the UN Population Fund, ‘the fulfillment of one right often depends, wholly or in part, upon the fulfillment of others. For instance, fulfillment of the right to health may depend, in certain circumstances, on the fulfillment of the right to development, to education or to information’. Advocates, particularly those dedicated to a particular thematic concern, should think broadly about the various human rights standards impacted by the issues they pursue and the possible venues that would benefit from of their perspective.

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