Evaluating the Global Human Rights Regime

Project Description:

Prior to 1945, international law primarily focused on the rights and responsibilities of states (Dixon 2007). However, the establishment of the United Nations system and the adoption of The Charter of the United Nations changed the landscape of global human rights. With the emergence of this regime, human rights became an issue that was “no longer recognised as being solely within the domestic jurisdiction of states” (Shaw 2008). The Charter’s Article 55 granted the UN the authority to promote human rights, while Article 56 obligated member-states to collaborate with the UN in order to promote, expand, and strengthen the human rights regime.

Although the adoption of the Charter was a significant turning point in the evolution of contemporary human rights, it is important to recognize that it did not establish the definition of these rights. This was accomplished by the authors of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948.

This photo is part of the public domain in the United States. A copy was downloaded from the Wikimedia Commons = https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eleanor_Roosevelt_and_United_Nations_Universal_Declaration_of_Human_Rights_in_Spanish_09-2456M_original.jpg.
Eleanor Roosevelt holding a Spanish copy of the UDHR (1949)

While it is not legally binding, the language and provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) have been incorporated into over 80 international and regional human rights treaties. The UDHR also directly influenced the provisions of the United Nations’ core human rights instruments, which include nine conventions and nine optional protocols.

However, despite the expansion of international human rights law, gross violations of these standards continue to occur. The widening gap between the ideal and reality has raised important questions about the current state of the global human rights regime and states’ commitment to their international human rights obligations. This project aims to evaluate the current state of the global human rights regime, as well as the willingness of both state and non-state actors “to protect, promote, and fulfill human rights.”

Some of this project’s entries have been written by students enrolled in Drew University’s International Human Rights course.

Most Recent Analyses: