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What Are Human Rights? The Legal Framework

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Chapter Summary

A fundamental aspect of human rights is that they protect human dignity and integrity. The international community has developed a number of human rights instruments setting out the various principles and norms. International humanitarian law defines minimum standards of protection in emergency situations where the rule of law has generally collapsed. This chapter explains three types of governmental obligations: to respect human rights, to protect human rights, and to fulfil human right. The United Nations (UN) human rights system works through three different types of mechanisms: treaty based mechanisms, non-treaty-based mechanisms, and specialised agencies of the UN. Regional human rights monitoring mechanisms are in place in Europe, the Americas and Africa and are directly linked with corresponding regional human rights treaties. Human rights may be protected through a constitutional bill of rights or by other laws of the country.

Keywords: bill of rights; human rights monitoring mechanisms; international humanitarian law; United Nations (UN) human rights system



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