David Weissbrodt, Joan Fitzpatrick, and Frank Newman, International Human Rights—Law, Policy, and Process (3d ed. 2001).
Chapter 5: State Reporting under International
Human Rights Treaties (November 2003)
Section C.1. The Civil and
Political Covenant’s Human Rights Committee
There was an election in 2002 for
nine members of the Civil and Political Covenant’s Human Rights Committee. The Committee now consists of members from the
Members serving until December 31, 2004:
Members serving until December 31, 2006:
Section C.2.d. Emergency Reports: Arbitrary Detention in the
ongoing “war on terrorism” the
The Human Rights Committee General
Comment No. 29 on States of Emergency addresses the issue of derogation in
text is available at http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/gencomm/hrc29.html
In its “war against terror” the
Representatives of Guantánamo bay
detainees also sought relief from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
In March 2003 the Commission requested precautionary measures from
“Where persons find themselves within
the authority and control of a state and where a circumstance of armed conflict
may be involved, their fundamental rights may be determined in part by reference
to international humanitarian law as well as international human rights law.
Where it may be considered that the protections of international humanitarian
law do not apply, however, such persons remain the beneficiaries at least
of the non-derogable protections under international human rights law.
In short, no person under the authority and control of a state, regardless
of his or her circumstances, is devoid of legal protection for his or her
fundamental and non-derogable human rights.”
The Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights has also issued a report on terrorism and human rights that establishes
the human rights and humanitarian law responsibilities of states conducting
a “war on terrorism.” Available at http://www.cidh.org/Terrorism/Eng/toc.htm
- Rights to due process and a fair trial, including the right to be presumed innocent, and the right to a hearing within a reasonable time by a competent and impartial tribunal;
Right to Judicial protection.
Section C.5. The Prospects for Creating Reporting Mechanisms for
Established Treaties: The Refugee Convention
Convention, unlike other international human rights conventions, does not
have a free-standing mechanism to determine accountability for failures to
comply with the obligations it imposes. Accordingly,
the International Council of Voluntary Agencies and the
Archana Pyati, Working Paper No. 1: Reporting (December 2001). Available at http://www.icva.ch/cgi-bin/browse.pl?doc=doc00000484
Vanessa Bedford, Working Paper No. 2: Complaints (December 2001). Available at http://www.icva.ch/cgi-bin/browse.pl?doc=doc00000485
Elizabeth Marsh, Working Paper No. 3: General Comments (December 2001). Available at http://www.icva.ch/cgi-bin/browse.pl?doc=doc00000486
Barbara Miltner, Working Paper No. 4: Investigative Capacity (December 2001).
Available at http://www.icva.ch/cgi-bin/browse.pl?doc=doc00000487
Jennifer G. Pasinosky, Working Paper No. 5: NGO/National Linkages (December 2001).
Available at http://www.icva.ch/cgi-bin/browse.pl?doc=doc00000488
Aiman Mackie, Working Paper No. 6: UN Linkages (December 2001). Available at http://www.icva.ch/cgi-bin/browse.pl?doc=doc00000489
Tracey Glover & Simon Russell, Working Paper No. 7:
Coordination with UNHCR and States (December 2001).
Available at http://www.icva.ch/cgi-bin/browse.pl?doc=doc00000490
Section D.2. The
There have been several recent NGO
reports that shed light on current human rights conditions within
World Report 2003 Report:
“Human rights progress in
Amnesty International Reports
International (USA) and Amnesty International maintain webpages devoted to
human rights in
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and
Female Iranian Lawyer Wins 2003 Noble Prize for Peace
The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize to
Shirin Ebadi, a female lawyer who has worked fought for human rights causes—including
Shirin Ebadi's Biography on the Nobel Foundation Website:
3. The mandate of the Special
Section G. Further Materials
on Cultural Relativism
The Development of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
June 1946, the UN Commission on Human Rights (“the Commission”) was established.
Chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt of the
January1947, the Commission held its first meeting and appointed a Drafting
Committee to prepare a draft of the international bill of rights.
The Drafting Committee was chaired by Mrs. Roosevelt,
who was representing the
Drafting Committee was assisted by John Humphrey, a Canadian international
lawyer. His staff studied all of the
world’s existing constitutions and rights instruments as well as suggestions
from all over the world and tried to construct a set of common core concepts.
Humphrey was particularly impressed by the draft of a Pan American
declaration of human rights then under consideration and by the 1944 Statement
of Essential Human Rights produced by the American Law Institute
(ALI). The ALI’s Statement was based, in part, on consultations with experts from
Arabic, British, Canadian, Chinese, French, pre-Nazi
German, Italian, Indian, Latin American, Polish, Soviet Russian, and Spanish
countries and cultures.
Humphrey’s initial draft contained extensive
annotations to existing rights instruments.
assisting Humphrey’s work was a Committee on the Theoretical Bases of Human
Rights that had been appointed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific,
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It
distributed a questionnaire to diplomats and scholars around the world and
received 70 responses from
Islam had ‘succeeded in overcoming distinction of race and color to an extent
experienced neither before nor since.’ In
the world today . . . ‘[t]he first and
most significant consideration in the framing of any charter of human rights
. . . . is that it must be on
a global scale . . . . Days of closed
systems of divergent civilizations and, therefore, of divergent conceptions
of human rights are gone for good.’”
The main features of the Declaration
were in place by the end of June 1947 and in June 1948, the Commission gave
its final approval to the draft of the Declaration, 12-0, for consideration
by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
In August 1948, ECOSOC was unable to approve
the draft of the Declaration. Instead,
it unanimously voted to forward the draft to the General Assembly’s Third
Committee, which had delegates from every UN member state. After much debate, on
During the General Assembly debate,
the Foreign Minister of Pakistan (then the UN member with the largest Muslim
population) and head of its UN delegation, Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, stated
that the article on religious freedom
the honor of Islam.’ He cited a passage
from the Koran for the proposition that faith could not have an obligatory
character: ‘Let him who chooses to believe,
believe, and him who chooses to disbelieve, disbelieve …’ Islam was a proselytizing
religion that strove to persuade others to change their faith and to alter
their way of living . . . . The freedom
to change beliefs . . . was consistent with the Islamic religion.”
The Declaration was also defended by the Syrian representative
as “the achievement of generations of human beings.”
Statement by the President of the Islamic Republic
of Iran, H.E. Mohammad Khatami, at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the
Divine, New York City, November 13, 2001.
Two months after the attacks
“The eruption of two catastrophic world wars has amply demonstrated that purely materialistic concerns cannot suffice in laying the foundation for human rights. The discourse of human rights is apparently a secular discourse with no eventual connection with a religious outlook. However, for those familiar with the deeper layers of religious reason and understanding, it is clear that the concept of human rights is both ontologically and historically rooted in religious thoughts. We should free human rights from the bounds of diplomatic negotiations and regard it as a discourse for defending human life, dignity, and culture. In doing so we ought to realize its deep religious aspect. Christian, Jewish, Muslim, as well as thinkers from other divine traditions, can collaborate on this important issue.”
Other materials regarding
Islam and Human Rights:
available at www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/cairodeclaration.html (last visited
The Arab Charter on Human Rights
available at www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/arabhrcharter.html (last visited
These materials are also relevant to the issue of cultural relativism covered in chapter 15 of the coursebook.
 Statement of Barbara Comstock, Director of Public Affairs, Department of Justice, on the José Padilla Decision: December 4, 2002: “[The President] has both constitutional and statutory authority to exercise the powers of Commander in Chief, including the power to detain unlawful combatants, and it matters not that Padilla is a United States citizen captured on United States soil.” Available at http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2002/December/02_opa_700.htm (last visited April 4, 2003).
 General Comment No. 29 States of Emergency (Article 4), U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.11 (2001).
any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and
having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories
enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present
Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent
tribunal.” Article 5, Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners
of War, 75 U.N.T.S. 135, entered into force
 Article 118, Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.
 See Coalition of Clergy v. Bush, 310 F.3d 1153 (9th Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 71 U.S.L.W. 3721 (2003).
Statement by Mr. Maurice Copithorne, Special Representative
of the Commission on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic
 This section is based on Mary Ann Glendon, A World Made New—Eleanor Roosevelt And The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights by (2001).
 Glendon at 32.
 Glendon at 45.
 Glendon at 56.
 Glendon at 58.
 Glendon at 73.
 Glendon at 74.
 Glendon at 99.
 Glendon at 141.
 Glendon at 142.
 Glendon at 163.
 Glendon at 168.
 The full text of President Khatami’s statement at an Interfaith Conversation, “Dialogue Among Civilizations,” Press Release, November 12, 2002, is available at http://www.religionsforpeace.org/RforP/PEACEED_MAIN.html (last visited April 19, 2003).