Role of Treaty Instruments in promoting Human Right Laws

Written by Saptaparni Raha

There are seven major universal treaty instruments for promoting the human rights laws. Like, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 (ICCPR); The International Covenant on Economic, social and cultural rights, 966 (ICSER); The Convention on the rights of the child, 1989 (CRC); The convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide,1948; The International convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination (1965); The convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (1984); The convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against woman (CEDAW).

ICCPR: General assembly adopted the competence of the committee to receive and consider communication from individuals in 1966 and came into force on 23rd March 1976. It established an expert committee which has the authority to review reports from the state parties and to adopt general comments on the meaning of the provisions of the covenant. It ensures to have all the individuals the civil and political rights within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction irrespective of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion national or social origin, property, birth or other status .

But recently in Khulbhushan Jadhav case Pakisthan has violated international treaties and obligations which is signatory to the Vienna convention and ICCPR  as he was denied to choose his own lawyer.

ICESR: This convention was adopted by United Nation General Assembly in 1966 and entered into force on 3rd Jan 1976. This convention ensure to protect every individuals economic social and cultural rights. This convention protects:

  • The right to work including right to gain one’s living by work chosen or accepted
  • Right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, clothing and housing and continuous improvement of living standards. Here if a person evicted from his house his social right will be violated.
  • Right to education

India is the recent examples of violating this convention. Doctors are forcibly being evicted from their house due to this corona virus pandemic. People living in their community suspected them that they are the victim of that virus as they are doing the treatment of COVID 19 patients. Though they are not affected from that virus.

CRC: This convention has been adopted by UN General Assembly in the year of 1989 and entered into force in on 1990. It protects the rights of a children like, it is prevented a children from their marriage below 18 years old, from recruiting them in a armed conflict group below the age of 18 years and it also protects children from being recruited themselves as a child labour. There are more like

  • The child’s right to life and maximum survival and development
  • The child’s right to registration at birth, to a name, a nationality and to the extent possible to know and be cared for by his or her parents
  • The child’s right to protection against all forms of violence and abuse etc .

But according to ILO worldwide 218 million children serving as labour and among them almost 73 million of them are working in a hazardous condition . According to NCRB data almost 39827 cases are reported under POCSO Act. According to UNICEF almost 65000 children has been released from armed forces group. According to World Health Organisation almost 25 million unsafe abortion has been occurred worldwide  between the year of 2010 to 2014 and still its prevailing. That is how the rights of children are violating in each year and violates the convention of child rights.

ICERD: This convention was adopted by United Nation General Assembly on 21 December 1965 and came into force on 4th Jan 1969 for the purpose of prevention of any discrimination based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin for violating the basic human rights. It includes the civil rights like right to freedom of movement and residence, right to leave any country right to nationality etc.

Recently an incident happens that Northeasters with Mongoloid features are in target in the name of Covid-19. People suspecting them as Chinese national and allegedly make a complaint against them that they are responsible for the spreading of corona-virus. And this is how the convention of ICERD  are violated deliberately .

The International convention of prevention and punishment of crimes of genocide:  From the year of 1951 after coming into force of this convention prevents not only  all the state parties but other countries even to violate this convention.

But recently the Rohingya issue is known as high profile genocide of recent years who lives in North western Mayanmar. Because there majority population is Buddhist and Rohingyas are Muslim. So they thought Rohingyas as are illegal immigrants and terrorists from Bangladesh. So for that so far almost 3000 or more than that  people has been killed and at least 270,000 are being displaced.

CEDAW: To eliminate all forms of discrimination against woman UN General Assembly came up with this convention on 3rd September 1981 and it had almost 168 state parties at that time. This discrimination includes the restriction, distinction on the basis of sex of the rights which they are enjoyed irrespective of their marital status, society, workplace everywhere. But still this convention is violated in every moment. There are many places where they cannot get proper education and get pressurised for marriage in early age from family and society. In workplace place even they are facing discrimination on the basis of their sex . They are getting exploited physically and mentally by male employer. Though after a clear violation of this convention in Vishakha case Supreme Court has lead down certain guidelines which aftermath effect was The Sexual Harassment of Workplace (prevention , prohibition and redresal) Act, 2013. But it has not yet stop the harassment of women in the workplace.

The Convention against Torture and other cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984): This convention prevents torture which means severe pain or suffering whether it is mental or physical which is intentionally done by some person upon someone. This convention requires that each state party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction. It can happen in any place like in your own home or workplace. This convention even violating now a days not by the state parties. It mainly happens in case of bonded labour or slavery where workers are the main target of cruelty, torture, inhuman or any other degrading treatment. Presently there are estimated 40.3 million people are victims of modern slavery system.

Regional Human Rights Treaty Instrument:  Two main regional human rights treaty instruments are African charter on human and people’s right and European convention on Human Rights .

African Charter on human and people’s right :   This convention was adopted in the year of 1981 which begins the new era in the field of human rights in Africa. It was inspired by Universal declaration of human rights. African charter on human and people’s right are responsible for the creation of African commission on Human and people’s right which will ensure their protection in Africa. This human rights system recognised following rights as follows:

  • The right to freedom from discrimination on any ground in the enjoyment of the rights and freedom
  • The right to equality before laws
  • The right to respect for one’s life and personal dignity etc.

Africa has its traumatic history of human rights violation since last five centuries. Its history dates back many abuses and traumatic life conditions. Court attempts to fulfill its dream but at last it turns into disappointment. The African human rights forum shall not be viewed as a forum for offering individual justice to victims of human rights violations. The court can act neither as a forum of first instance nor as the mandatory for all cases.

European Convention on Human Rights: It was adopted in Europe in the year of 1950 and came into force on 3rd September 1953. It creates the European court of Human rights to maintain the human rights of all its contracting states. The rights guaranteed as follows:

  • Right to life
  • Prohibition of torture , inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • Prohibition of slavery , servitude and forced labour etc.

But this court does not have an ability to deal with major human rights problem. It does not follow any statutory laws rather it changes and evolves on a basis of case by case based on strict interpretation. It does not follow the convention properly, and that is the reason for its failure.

That is how all treaty instruments which has been enforced for promoting the human rights law rather we can say that has the basic obligation to  enforce it, is violating. So every state party should make a proper surveillance centre to monitor the deliberate violation of the human rights.[i]

 

 

 

 

To read other Article (Biological Weapon and Biowarfare) written by same Author, click here

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