Human Rights Law: An International Perspective

Human Rights Law: An International Perspective

This article on ‘HUMAN RIGHTS LAW: An International Perspective is written by Jayansh, a 2nd year student from Manipal University, Jaipur and an intern at Legal Upanishad.


We all come from different cities, states, and countries and we all have different cultures, the environment around us, but there is a common ground among all of us and that is the law. We all have some rules and regulations that we live by.

Same if we talk about international laws that apply to all over the globe equally, the purpose of these laws is to set a common standard of living and prevent the damage or loss, the people all around the world suffer due to not proper laws and regulations on the domestic level, so in case there is no proper rules and laws at your state and domestic level you can take shelter under these international laws.


International human rights laws are a part of international law and the main aim of this body is to promote human rights on social, regional, and domestic levels. As it is an international body these laws are made up of treaties, agreements between states, customary international laws, these are non-binding and not legally enforceable, these have been considered as a source of political obligation.


The international covenant on economic, social, and cultural rights came to force in 1976, the human rights seek to protect and promote,

  • The right to work in favorable conditions according to the work.
  • The right to social protection includes living with adequate standards of living and it should be according to the highest achievable standards of physical and mental well-being.
  • The right to get an education, and should be able to enjoy the benefits of cultural freedom and scientific progress.

The international covenant on civil and political rights, the first optional protocol was held in 1976 followed by the second one in 1989.
This covenant contains such rights as freedom of movement and equality before the law, the right to a fair trial, and the presumption of innocence, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of opinion and expression, and peaceful assembly, freedom of association, to participate in public affairs and elections and the protection of minority rights, and these rights include certain prohibition.

It includes arbitrary deprivation of life; torture, cruel or some kind of degrading punishment or treatment towards a person.
Slavery and forced labor, arbitrary arrest or detention; arbitrary interference with someone’s privacy, propaganda of war, discrimination; and protecting of racial and religious hatred, these rights provide us with what to do and what not to do.


If we talk about the initial stage of the international human rights law, for many years, there was no international human rights law regime In place, but the international law supported and got involved in any violation of human rights or known as human rights atrocities, and it includes the Atlantic slave trade and colonialism.

The rise of international human rights laws came around the nineteenth century and the first step was to adopt the treaty through which slavery was abolished. The first international legal standards were adopted as an establishment of an international labor organization and it was founded in 1919 as a part of the Versailles treaty, the international labor organization aims to protect the workers in the industrialized world.

After world war one, few attempts were made under the league of nations to establish a human rights system, for example, if we talk about minorities, there was the establishment of a minority committee and the object was to address the complaints from the minority, to deal with persons living in mandate boundaries establishment of mandates commission was done, but all these efforts came to vain due to world war two.

The international human rights movement was provided support when the united nations general assembly adopted the universal declaration of human rights on the 10 of December in 1948, it was drafted as a common standard of achievement for the nation and it’s its citizen. The declaration itself calls out the evil against the foundation of basic civil, political, economical, social, and cultural rights, it has been acknowledged all over the world that everyone should respect and protect these rights.

The international human rights laws construct some obligations which every state needs to follow, by becoming parties to international treaties, the state assumes obligations and duties under international law. If the domestic legal proceedings fail to resolve the matter regarding human rights so there are mechanisms available on the regional and international level to confirm that international human rights are indeed followed and respected.



For resolving a problem what is the main thing to do, the first thing to do to resolve the problem is to report the problem to the matter resolving authorities, the worst thing about that is that there is a large number of people who even don’t know about their rights, so how will they report about the violation of the right if they even don’t know that rights at the first place.


In the situation of the problem reached to the matter resolving authorities, there is no assurance that the matter will be resolved or will be addressed adequately due to the incompetency of the members of the resolving committee.


The special procedure reports provide recommendations to states and general authorities, but because of its non-binding nature, the state doesn’t need to follow the rules stated in that order. This procedure works as an advisory board and the aim of it is to give advice but the aim should be to implicate the given advice because of that this is considered as a large gap in implications of these rules.


In this current scenario addressing the problems is a different matter, but due to lack of proper functioning of the authorities on a domestic and regional level even trivial matters are not resolved.
This is a serious problem for us because you can not take every matter related to the violation of human rights to an international level, this is a kind of mockery out of a well-structured plan,  due to lack of knowledge and practical approach half of the matters vanishes.


1. People should be made aware of their rights, this kind of basic knowledge should be added to the primary knowledge of today’s generation.
2. There is an urgent need to repair the domestic and regional level authorities and more competent members should be added to the resolving matter committee.
3. The current system works as an advisory board, due to its nature most of the violations are overlooked, so the nature of these rules should be binding and legally enforceable.


For human rights to be successful as a concept and law, the main problem lies within its roots, framing rules for something is a whole different chapter but the implication of these rules is where most of the situation fails so more work is needed on the ground level of this situation. Although these rights are rights of a person since his or her birthday and the constitution of India protect these rights as fundamental right and directive principles of state policy in the constitution.

If we talk about the rights under the universal declaration of human rights, these are covered in the Indian constitution but the gap remains in the implementation of the right.
The judiciary of India helped in these situations by the rule of locus standi to allow persons to reach court and advised the government to make these laws more effective.
There is a dire need to alter the rules that are becoming a hurdle ineffective implementation of these human rights laws.