Edited by Willem Grosheide
Chapter 2: Human rights law status report
Cees Flinterman* 1. INTRODUCTION The theme of this chapter is human rights in a divided world. For a long period in the history of international law and international relations human rights were seen as falling almost exclusively within the scope of the sovereign powers of each and every state; the consequence thereof was that states did not have the right to intervene in situations of gross violations of human rights in other states: the principle of non-intervention. How much the world has changed! Over the past 60 years a new strong branch of international law has developed focusing on the protection and promotion of human rights. This is reflected inter alia in a mushrooming of academic human rights centers, in specific masters’ programmes in the field of human rights and maybe most importantly, in a huge number of national and international human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). In this chapter I will focus on the process of universalisation of human rights in which the United Nations (UN) has played a preponderant role. I will then discuss the important issue of the indivisibility of all human rights. The next issue will be a survey of the establishment of a wide variety of monitoring mechanisms aimed at holding states accountable both at international and regional level. The final issue discussed is the growing relevance of human rights in the programs and policies of the UN itself and of various specialized agencies and other UN entities. 2. UNIVERSALIZATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS With hindsight it...
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