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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Ferrajolo, Ornella 2017. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. p. 607.

    BINDER, CHRISTINA 2012. Stability and Change in Times of Fragmentation: The Limits of Pacta Sunt Servanda Revisited. Leiden Journal of International Law, Vol. 25, Issue. 04, p. 909.

    Meehan, Nathan 2009. Human Rights Imprisoned: Institutional Human Rights Non‐Compliance in Council of Europe Member States. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, Vol. 33, Issue. 1, p. 119.

    Karp, Tom 2003. Socially responsible leadership. Foresight, Vol. 5, Issue. 2, p. 15.

    Glen, Carol M. and Murgo, Richard C. 2003. United Nations Human Rights Conventions: Obligations and Compliance. Politics & Policy, Vol. 31, Issue. 4, p. 596.

  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: December 2009

1 - The UN human rights treaty system: A system in crisis?


The evolution of the United Nations treaty system

In 1945, almost for the first time, the United Nations Charter announced the idea of human rights as real rights at the universal level. That required the development of substantive human rights standards, a process commenced with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and substantially extended through the two International Covenants in 1966, the Racial Discrimination Convention in the same year, and a large number of other instruments, general or specific in scope. All this has been in addition to the development of human rights standards and structures at regional level.

The articulation of new universal standards and new treaties has not ceased (although norm fatigue and avoiding the most obvious forms of duplication must, presumably, mean that it will become progressively more selective). But the need for their implementation remains, as much for the older standards and treaties as for the newer. Here the approach adopted at the universal level in 1966 had the following features:

the establishment of specialist bodies charged with the oversight of treaty performance, each concerned with a specific treaty;

regular reporting obligations for states parties, on the assumption that the examination of reports would lead to a dialogue between each state and the relevant treaty body, and to progressive improvements in compliance, associated with limited reliance on state-to-state or individual complaints procedures;

the absence of decision-making powers of a judicial or quasi-judicial character vested in the treaty bodies.

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The Future of UN Human Rights Treaty Monitoring
  • Online ISBN: 9780511522284
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