Complaints From Individuals Under the Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Human rights according to the practice of the UN also imply "the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food" (UNESCO, 2004). Therefore, given this example one of the means used by the UN in its attempt to offer the possibility for the respect of this right has been to give "the mandate to the High Commissioner for Human Rights to better define the body of rights related to food. In 2000 a UN Special Rapporteur for Right to Food was appointed and in 2003 an intergovernmental working group was formed to establish guidelines to promote the progressive realization of the right to food" (UNESCO, 2004).

Indeed there are several types of responses that can be given to the breach of human rights throughout the world. Depending on the type of rights being placed under discussion, there can be several mechanisms set in place. Thus, when there is the matter of genocide, which implies the death of a large number of people, the International Criminal Court comes into effect. The right to life is in this case put in question. At the same time though, the right to a decent live to one without political constraints and additional pressures; therefore the ICC in this sense helps protect the innocent and punish the guilty ones, especially state officials who disposed of their power with the aim of causing human prejudices. One relevant example in this sense is the International Criminal Court for Rwanda where former leaders are accused and trialed for crimes against humanity. The action undertaken in their situation can be said to be rather important for the way in which the international criminal works for the protection of the individuals and the respect for human life.

Aside from the general and worldwide mechanisms concerned with the respect for human rights, there are several mechanisms which deal particularly with the respect of certain covenants and rules. In this sense, the United Nations benefits from the expertise and help of "four treaty bodies: The Human Rights Committee (HRC) which considers individual communications relating to States parties to the First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); the Committee Against Torture (CAT) which considers individual communications relating to States parties who have made the necessary declaration under article 22 of the Convention Against Torture (CAT); the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) which considers individual communications relating to States parties who have made the necessary declaration under article 14 of the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), and the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which considers individual communications relating to States parties to the Optional Protocol to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)" (International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, n.d.). This wide complex of mechanisms comes to prove the fact that the most important aspect of the protection of human rights is represented by the UN system, with its numerous programs and regulations.

There commissions are the four important mechanisms of the treaties which allow complaints to be made and which play a major role in establishing the right of an individual to be respected and protected in the society.

Part 3: Cases

There are several cases in which the human rights have been clearly violated and these are often attributed to different countries. Probably one of the most democratic country in the world, Australia is at the same time one of the few democratic countries which does not hold a charter of human rights, nor a bill of rights as expected. This is why there have been many arguments to suggest that in fact the negative record of the Australian state is aimed at being reduced. In this sense, the government is making increased efforts to support both the idea of the protection of human rights, as well as the procedure.

One of the results of this approach was the establishment of a document which points out the steps and the coordination of actions with the aim of reducing the human rights abuses. Thus, according to the document, the Australian government has been faced with the provisions of the "Optional Protocol procedures" related to the Human Rights treaties for more than 13 years. (Hearn, 1999) by 1999 "there have been 29 communications lodged against Australia under the Optional Protocol procedures. [3] the majority of these communications have been lodged with the Human Rights Committee (the Committee), with only three communications lodged with the CERD Committee and two communications lodged under the CAT" (Hearn, 1999).

These mechanisms are especially designed to address the problems of every person who addresses the commissions and thus, the procedure appears to be rather simple. Another reason for which the procedures are not seen as impending the legislative process is the fact that one needs to have an easier and accessible atmosphere in order to choose to address the court or the commission. The basic mechanism for addressing a complaint revolves around the idea that an individual can complain under the form of individual communication. More precisely, "any individual who claims that her or his rights have under the covenant or convention have been violated by a State party to that treaty may bring a communication before the relevant committee, provided that the State has recognized the competence of the committee to receive such complaints. Complaints may also be brought by third parties on behalf of individuals provided they have given their written consent or where they are incapable of giving such consent" (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2007).

The importance for this act is rather significant for the way in which the mechanisms for the protection of human rights are working. In general terms, the individual is not an actor on the international scene. Most often, states interact at the international level and are labeled as being the only actors that are able to engage in processes that include the application of the international law. However, the international doctrine has concluded that there needs to be a situation in which the individual can protect itself from any possible atrocities or breaches of human rights made by their state. Therefore, through the mechanism of petitioning, it is fair to say that any individual has the right to defend its human rights in front of his state. This approach is important because it allows the international bodies to monitor the situation in the countries that have been accused of abuses and may prevent other abuses for being committed.

As part of the human rights debate and concerning the mechanisms used for the protection of human rights, it can be said that one of the most important systems of human rights protection is represented by the European Court for Human Rights which follows the enactment of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court works exclusively on the application of the European Convention which discusses both essential rights such as the right to live and a decent living, up to the right to a fair trial and a proper consideration of all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The caseload of the European Court for Human Rights represents an important example for the way in which individuals can affect the way in which a particular country is being viewed and monitored. Some of the most common cases certain countries had to face along the years included the right to property. More precisely, countries such as Romania have been forced to pay damages and give back numerous houses the former communist regime had taken by abusing the power and refusing people the right to property. At the same time, the state has been accused by the individual who can petition the European forum after having exhausted all the national means, of not allowing him the right to a proper and fair trial. Such cases are rather famous and have offered the European Court important precedents and a strong jurisprudence in this areas so that human rights can be respected in a manner that stresses both the importance of the individual petitioning and the role of the European Court.

Part of the activity of the European Court but at the same time of the mechanisms functioning inside the UN is indeed the procedure related to the communication of the individuals. However, an important aspect of the entire procedure is that fact that the process does not imply particular knowledge in law or other practices.

The aim of the entire procedure is to make human rights protection an action available for every individual. More importantly however, individual complains represent the means of connection between the various…

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