Human Rights Origins
Modern human rights have evolved since the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Groundbreaking document from the United Nations General Assembly, it set out fundamental human rights to be universally protected.
Two Covenants, One Body
The International Bill of Human Rights consists of the Universal Declaration, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, both adopted in 1966.
Enforcement and Challenges
Enforcement of global human rights laws is challenging due to sovereignty principles. The UN has committees for oversight, but relies heavily on state cooperation and lacks stringent enforcement mechanisms.
Regional Protection Mechanisms
Aside from the UN, regional systems like the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court, and the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights play crucial roles in enforcement.
Rights Beyond Borders
The principle of 'extraterritorial obligation' holds states accountable for human rights abuses beyond their borders, a concept gaining ground in international law but with limited precedent.
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, adopted in 2011, acknowledge that corporations have human rights responsibilities, influencing global supply chains and trade agreements.
Emerging Digital Rights
The digital era introduces new human rights challenges, such as privacy and freedom of expression online. The UN declared internet access a human right in 2016, recognizing its essential role in the modern world.