Sess 1_What are HR_19.3.2013 (1)

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What are human rights?
Department of European, International and
Comparative Law, University of Vienna
Associate Professor
at the Department of European,
International and Comparative Law of the
PhD in public international law on the land rights of indigenous
peoples in Latin America (2004)
Habilitation on the international law of treaties (2012)
Election analyst and legal expert
and assessment missions
2011; Uzbekistan (2009); Estonia (2011)
Technical assistance projects
What are human rights?
What are human rights?
subjective rights
empower human beings
shape their lives in accordance with
sum of civil, political, economic, social, cultural and
collective rights
laid down in international and regional
rights instruments
only universally recognised value system
under present
international law comprising elements of liberalism, democracy,
popular participation, social justice, the rule of law and good
When were human rights
“invented”? What for?
When were human rights invented? What
Contemporary concept
: intended to protect
individuals from the abuse of power by governments
shift from objective rules and duties to
subjective rights
took place in the
late Middle ages
Age of enlightenment/French Revolution:
recognized rights of individuals within their
When were human rights invented? What
for? (2): Pre-WW II
Period from
French Revolution to WW II: dark age
for human rights
Casualities of war
Need for minority protection
When were human rights invented? What
League of Nations: Minority protection & mandate
Atrocities of WW II:
showed need for international protection of
: human rights as a matter of international concern
(Preamble, Art 1, 55, 56); HR promotion!
Universal Declaration of HR
What is the status of the
individual in international human
rights law?
What is the status of the individual in
international human rights law? – „rights“
: duty bearer‘s obligation
Being the (right-less) beneficiary of someone else‘s
: right holders have a special title
Having a „right“
Are human rights standards
Would the statement that human rights are not
valid in Asia as Asian Values are incompatible
with them be true?
Human rights and Asian values
Principle of inalienable rights
based on the
dignity of human
beings: universally valid
, as well as certain minimum standards
recognized by international customary and treaty law
1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights
rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated
Principle of
universality vs. regional differences
; Asian values
What is the legal status of human rights?
Are they binding?
How can one use them?
What is the legal status of human rights?
Are they binding? On whom?
How can one use them?
Sources of international human rights law
international law, international human rights treaties
duty bearers
Subjective rights
What do you understand by the statement that
states have to
the rights of individuals?
: obligation to refrain from intervention
: obligation to take legislative, administrative,
judicial and practical measures necessary to ensure
that the rights in question are implemented to the
greatest extent possible
: obligation to avoid human rights violations by
In Bohu a child in a private school was battered in
class by the teacher because of misbehaviour. This
kind of punishment is not illegal in Beorgistan.
You want to help the family of this child who opposes
Is it a problem that the author of the treatment was not
a civil servant but a teacher employed by the school?
Bohu: the battered child
Battering children as
degrading and inhumane
rights violation by
vs. State obligation to
State obligation to establish an
adequate legal
Do international human rights instruments
apply to non citizens?
Do international human rights instruments
apply to non citizens?
„Each state party undertakes to respect
and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and
subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in this
Possible exceptions as regards political rights
Art 25 CCPR: „Every citizen…“
Ill treatment of prisoners
Scope of human rights obligations of States
national law – international human
Relationship: national – international
human rights law
Primarily responsible
Effective remedy at the national level
Exhaustion of local remedies
is condition for admissibility
on the international level
implement international human rights
(legislative, other measures)
into national law is positive but
Last week the Bohu Students Press could not be
published due to a prohibition of the Minister of the
Can they directly bring a complaint with an
Right to freedom of expression; necessary
exhaustion of domestic remedies
Prohibition to publish journal: a violation of the right to
freedom of expression?
What forms of reparation could you
imagine for the following situations?
What forms of reparation could you think of?
Mrs De Vale was expropriated by the City of Bohu.
B. Juksic was ill-treated by the police in Bohu and his
Forms of reparation (1)
for pecuniary and non pecuniary damages
(legal aid, psychological, social measures)
(truth commission, criminal persecution of
Forms of reparation (2)
: restitutio in integrum if possible;
financial compensation;

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