Human Rights and Law

GOVERNMENT

British, Columbia, Human Rights Tribunal

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal is an independent, quasi-judicial body responsible for “accepting, screening, mediating and adjudicating human rights complaints.” The website provides a database of B.C. Human Rights Decisions and judicial reviews of the decisions.”

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (ICC Chair)

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (ICC Chair) “administers the Canadian Human Rights Act and is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Employment Equity Act,” which are laws that “ensure the principles of equal opportunity and non-discrimination are followed in all areas of federal (Canadian) jurisdiction.”

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) was created by an Act of Parliament in 1977, and its mission is “to provide Canadians with an improved quality of life and an assurance of equal access to the opportunities that exist in our society through the fair-minded and equitable interpretation and enforcement of the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Employment Equity Act.” The website provides a database of decision rulings and cases.

International Court of Justice/Cour Internationale de Justice

The International Court of Justice website provides a database of all the cases (disputes) brought to the court since 1947. Additionally, the website contains publications from the Permanent Court of International Justice (1922 – 1946).

Rule of Law Monitoring (United Nations)

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights published the “Rule-of-Law Tools for Post-Conflict States: Monitoring Legal Systems” as a tool to monitor legal systems in recently emerging conflict states.

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission goal is to promote, defend and advocate internationally recognized human rights norms in a nonpartisan manner, both within and outside of Congress, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments. The Commission focuses on developing congressional strategies to promote, defend and advocate internationally recognized human rights norms reflecting the role and responsibilities of the United States Congress, raising greater awareness of human rights issues among Members of Congress and their staff, as well as the public, providing expert human rights advice to Members of Congress and their staff and advocating on behalf of individuals or groups whose human rights are violated or are in danger of being violated.

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) was established as a “vehicle by which the United Nations could play a more active role in reducing or removing” the obstacles in the flow of trade created by the disparities in national laws governing international trade. Its role is to “further the progressive harmonization and unification of the law of international trade.”

U.S. Government: Immigration Laws, Regulations, and Guides

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its mission is to “protect national security by enforcing our nation’s customs and immigration laws.”

U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor

The U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor tee and its five subcommittees oversee education and workforce programs, from early learning through secondary education, from job training through retirement. The Committee is currently chaired by George Miller (Democrat-California).

U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs

The Committee is responsible for oversight and legislation relating to many areas including but not limited to: foreign assistance; HIV/AIDS in foreign countries; security assistance; the Peace Corps; national security developments affecting foreign policy; strategic planning and agreements; war powers, treaties, executive agreements, and the deployment and use of United States Armed Forces; peacekeeping, peace enforcement, and enforcement of United Nations or other international sanctions; arms control and disarmament issues; the United States Agency for International Development; activities and policies of the State, international law; promotion of democracy. The Committee is currently chaired by Howard L. Berman (Democrat-California).

U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law

The Subcommittee has jurisdiction over Human rights laws and policies; Enforcement and implementation of human rights laws; Judicial proceedings regarding human rights laws; and Judicial and executive branch interpretations of human rights laws. The Subcommittee is chaired by Dick Durbin (Democrat-Illinois).

U.S. Senate Judiciary SubCommittee on Immigration

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security has jurisdiction over immigration, citizenship and refugee laws; oversight of the immigration functions of the Department of Homeland Security (including the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Ombudsman Citizenship and Immigration Services); oversight of the immigration-related functions of the Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement, and the Department of Labor; oversight of international migration, internally displaced persons, and refugee laws and policies; and private immigration relief bills. The Subcommittee is current chaired by Charles E. Schumer (Democrat – New York).

 

NGO

ABA Center for Professional Responsibility

The American Bar Association Center for Professional Responsibility “advances the public interest by promoting and encouraging high ethical conduct and professionalism by lawyers and judges.” It provides “national leadership and guidance to the profession and the judiciary by developing, interpreting and promoting the implementation of polices and standards for the conduct and regulation of lawyers and judges and by producing scholarly and other resources.” This seeks to “assure that lawyers and judges perform their duties in a manner that advances respect for the rule of law, the legal process, the legal profession and the judiciary.”

Asylum Law Organization

This website was founded for the purpose of “using the Internet to help lawyers and other accredited representatives worldwide prepare the best asylum cases they can.” The site contains legal tools (for different countries), case support (with documents) and information for those seeking asylum.

Center for Constitutional Rights

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is “dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” It is a non-profit legal and educational organization “committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.”

Center for Gender and Refugee Studies

The Center for Gender and Refugee Studies (CGRS) at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, is the “nation’s leading organization supporting women asylum-seekers fleeing gender related harm, at both the practice and policy levels.” Its mission is to “protect the basic human rights of refugee women and girls by advancing gender-sensitive asylum laws, helping advocates successfully represent women in need of protection, and preventing these refugees from being forcibly returned to the countries from which they have fled.”

Center for Justice and Accountability

The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) is an “international human rights organizations dedicated to ending torture and other severe human rights abuses around the world and advancing the rights of survivors to seek truth, justice and redress.” CJR “uses litigation to hold perpetrators individually accountable for human rights abuses, develop human rights laws, and advance the rule of law in countries transitioning from periods of abuse.”

Center for Justice and International Law

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) is a non-profit, NGO with “consultative status before the Organization of American States (OAS), the United Nations (UN) and observer status before the African Commission of Human Rights.” CEJIL’s principle objective is to “achieve the full implementation of international human rights norms in the member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) through the use of the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights and other international protection mechanisms.”

European Roma Rights Center

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is an “international public interest law organization engaging in a range of activities aimed at combating anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma.” ERRC’s approach involves “strategic litigation, international advocacy, research and policy development, and training of Romani activists.”
Global Lawyers and Physicians

Global Lawyers and Physicians is a non-profit, NGO that focuses on health and human rights issues. Their mission is to “work at the local, national, and international levels through collaboration and partnerships with individuals, NGOs, IGOs, and governments on issues such as the global implementation of the health-related provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, with a focus on health and human rights, patient rights, and human experimentation.”

International Institute of Humanitarian Law

The International Institute of Humanitarian Law is an Italian independent, non-profit humanitarian organization whose purpose is to “promote international humanitarian law, human rights, refugee law and related issues.” Since its 1970 founding the Institute “has earned an international reputation as a center for excellence in the field of training, research, and the dissemination of all aspects of international humanitarian law.”

National Lawyers Guild, National Immigration Project

The National Immigration Project was originally a committee of the National Lawyers Guild, but it is now a freestanding organization that is a “progressive source of advocacy-oriented legal support on immigrant rights issues.” The National Immigration Project is “one of the few national-level, legal support groups that specializes in defending the rights of immigrants facing incarceration and deportation.”

Refugee Law Center

Refugee Law Center is a non-profit NGO, which is “devoted to strengthening the human rights of refugees and immigrants through legal representation, research, educational initiatives, and policy development.”

 

SOURCE MATERIALS

The African Charter on Human Rights and Peoples’ Rights for Africa

The African (Banjul) Charter on Human and People’s Rights is an international human rights instrument that came into force on October 21, 1986. The Charter establishes the human rights that should be protected and promoted within Africa.

African International Courts and Tribunals

This database provides a centralized source (and reference) to the courts and tribunals in Africa. It contains an overview, recent news, basic documents, selected bibliography, biographies of its judges, and related jurisprudence from Member States for each of the international courts or tribunals substantially touching Africa.

The American Convention on Human Rights

The American Convention on Human Rights is an international human rights instrument that was adopted at the Inter-American Specialized Conference on Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica, on November 22, 1969. The Convention states that the signing American states were “reaffirming their intention to consolidate in this hemisphere, within the framework of democratic intuitions, a system of personal liberty and social justice based on respect for the essential rights of man.”

Center for International and European Law on Immigration and Asylum

The Center for International and European Law on Immigration and Asylum, located at the University of Konstanz, Germany, is a center, which researches law on immigration and asylum.

Center for Migration Law, University of Nijmegen

The Centre for Migration Law at the University of Nijmegen (Netherlands) conducts research that is focused on issues surrounding migration and minority protection.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women’s mandate is for the committee to watch “over the progress for women made in those countries that are the States parties to the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women” (to become a state party, the country ratified or acceded to the Convention and thereby accepted a legal obligation to counteract discrimination against women).

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

This is a link to the United Nation’s International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which entered into force January 4, 1969. This treaty calls for the member states (and the United Nations itself) to “promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex language or religion.”

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a convention that set out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children. The CRC, which came into force on September 2, 1990, establishes that children (all humans under 18 years old) have the right to the human rights declared in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Electronic Immigration Network

Electronic Immigration Network (EIN) is a provider of U.K. immigration and refugee law via the Internet, for asylum seekers and immigrants, students, journalists, judges, academics, parliamentary researchers and all others who have an interest in the field of immigration and asylum.

European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)

CPT is a committee within the Council of Europe, which works to provide “non-judicial preventive machinery to protect detainees” via a system of visits by CPT. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment’s mandate is “the Committee shall, by means of visits, examine the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty with a view to strengthening, if necessary, the protection of such persons from torture and from inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.”

The European Convention on Human Rights

This is a link to “The European Convention on Human Rights,” was established in Rome on November 4, 1950 and has fire protocols; Paris Protocol, signed established on March 20, 1952 and four Strasbourg Protocols, two signed on May 6. 1963, one on September 16, 1963 and the final on January 20, 1966. The Convention lays out the human rights that are to be provided and protected by all the signing nations.

European Country of Origin Information

The European Country of Origin Information Network (ecoi.net) “gathers, structures and process publicly available county of origin information with a focus on the needs of asylum lawyers, refugee counsels and persons deciding on claims for asylum and other forms of international protection.”

European Social Charter for Europe

The European Social Charter was adopted in 1961 and revised in 1996. The Charter guarantees social and economic human rights, and is monitored by the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR).

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed during the Period of Democratic Kampuchea (ECCC) was created jointly by the Cambodian government and the United Nations in 2001, but it operates independently from the United Nations. The ECCC is unique because it invited international participation but the trials are held in Cambodia with a Cambodian staff and judges with foreign personnel. The purpose of the ECCC is to establish a “trial to prosecute the senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge.”

Human Rights Bibliography (HRB), Human Rights Documentation Center

The Human Rights Documentation Center’s Online Catalogue is a database that provides documents (including monographs, periodicals, government publications and gray materials) regarding human rights. The Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa provides the database.

Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School

This program “seeks to give impetus and direction to international human rights work at Harvard Law School.”

Inter-American Human Rights Database, Washington College of Law

The Inter-American Human Rights Database provided by American University, Washington College of Law contains “annual reports, reports on sessions and special reports of the inter-American commission of human rights.”

International Bureau for Children’s Rights (R. Harvey), Children and Armed Conflict: A Guide to International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law, 2003

This is a publication developed during training sessions organized by the International Bureau for Children’s Rights (IBCR) for members of the International Tribunal for Children’s Rights (ITCR) in September 2001 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is designed as a quick reference manual for those involved in researching, promoting and protecting the rights of children affected by armed conflict.

International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights website provides the text to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW). This Convention, which came into force on December 18, 1990, establishes the protection of the rights, specifically the human rights, of migrant workers and their families.

International Constitutional Law

This web page provides the links to over 50 countries Constitutional Documents, and a number of links to country’s information. It is a great resource for finding information on international constitutional law.

International Council on Human Rights Policy, Ends and Means: Human Rights Approaches to Armed Groups, 2000

The International Council on Human Rights’ program “Armed Groups: Approaches to Influencing Their Behavior,” published the report “Ends and Means: Human Rights Approaches to Armed Groups” (under Documents – Report). The report “suggests a framework for analyzing how to encourage armed groups to respect human rights.”

International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principle judicial organ for the U.N., and was established in June of 1945 through the Charter of the United Nations and became functional in April of 1946. Its seat is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (the only U.N principle organ not in New York), and its role is to “settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.”

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

This is a link to the United Nations Treaty on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which is came into force on March 23, 1976 and is monitored by the Human Rights Committee (a body of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights). The ICCPR treaty discusses the requirement of civil and political freedoms.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

This is a link to the United Nation’s International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which came into force on January 3, 1976. The purpose of the treaty was to require member states to work towards the granting of economic, social and cultural rights (such as labor rights, right to health, right to education, etc.)

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is a “U.N. court of law dealing with war crimes that took place during the conflict in the Balkans in the 1990’s.” It was established in 1993, and since then it has “irreversibly changed the landscape of international humanitarian law” by showing that those “suspected of bearing the greatest responsibility for atrocities committed can be called to account, as well as that guild should be individualized, protecting entire communities from being labeled as ‘collectively responsible,’” and the ICTY has shown that an “individual’s senior position can no longer protect them from prosecution.”

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is a United Nations court of law created on November 8, 1994. The ICTR was established for the “prosecution of persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994,” and it is able to “deal with the prosecution of Rwandan citizens responsible for genocide and other violations of international law committed in the territory of neighboring States during the same period.”

International Humanitarian Law (IHL), International Committee of the Red Cross

The International Humanitarian Law – Treaties & Documents, provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a database the contains 100 treaties and other texts from 1856 to present, commentaries on the four Geneva Conventions, and the “current situation regarding signatures, ratifications, accessions and succession as well as the full texts of reservations, declarations and objections.”

International Humanitarian Law and National Implementation Database

The International Humanitarian Law and National Implementation Database provide “documentation and commentaries concerning the implementation of international humanitarian law at the national level.”

International Journal of Refugee Law

This is a link to the International Journal of Refugee Law, which is a “key source material in the field of refugee protection.” It serves as a tool for all “engaged in the protection of refugees and finding solutions to their problems,” and includes information and commentary on the “causes of refugee and related movements, internal displacement, the particular situation of women and refugee children, the human rights dimension, restrictive policies, asylum and determination procedures, populations at risk, and the conditions in different countries.”

International Legal Search Engine – Human Rights & Humanitarian Law

The International Legal Search Engine – Human Rights and Humanitarian Law provides public access to the “international rules binding a specific country.” The database covers over 250 conventions in the field of human rights and humanitarian law in French, English and Spanish.

Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) Case Law

The Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) Case Law provides access to four databases, CCPR (Human Rights Committee under the Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), CAT (Committee Against Torture), CERD (Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) and CEDAW (Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women), for the case law of the United Nations human rights treaty, and there is the database ECHR, which contains the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. Additionally there is the Tribunals database, which contains the case law documenting the “jurisprudence on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR),” the UNCOM database, and a General Comments database.

North Atlantic Treaty (Article 5)

The North Atlantic Treaty’s Article 5 discusses the response of all members to an armed attack against another member nation, in which the member nations will ally themselves and assist in the counter attack, and report the attack to the Security Council.

The Project on International Courts and Tribunals (PICT)

This is the website for “the only internationally based effort to address, with a comprehensive and holistic approach, all existing international courts and tribunals. It couples academic research with concrete action aimed at facilitating the work of international courts and tribunals at developing the lawyering skills of potential actors, in particular, in developing countries and economies-in-transition.”

Protocol of San Salvador to the ACHR for the Americas

The Protocol of San Salvador is an additional protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights, which was signed on November 22, 1969 in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Protocol covers the area of economic, social and cultural rights.

Public International Law & Policy Group, The Drafter’s Handbook 2004

This link provides the Public International Law & Policy Group’s “Incorporating Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms into Peace Agreements and New Constitutions” drafter’s guide. This guide (or template) is “intended to help facilitate the ability of parties to a conflict to reach agreement on the on inclusion of effective human rights provisions into their final agreements and new constitutions.”

UNHCR- Country of Origin and Legal Information Database (REFWORLD)

REFWORLD is a “leading source of information necessary for taking quality decisions on refugee status.” The site contains a “vast collection of reports relating to situations in countries of origin, policy documents and positions, and documents relating to international and national legal framework.”

Rule of Law in Armed Conflict—50 Country Profiles

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflict (RULAC) Project is part of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. RULAC provides a global database, which aims to “report on every State and disputed territory in the world, addressing both the legal norms that apply as well as the extent to which they are respected by the relevant actors.”

Secretary General’s Trust Fund

The Secretary-General’s Trust Fund is used to assist states in the settlement of disputes through the International Court of Justice, a United Nations judicial organ. The purpose of the Trust is to provide financial assistance to “States for expenses incurred in connection with (a) a dispute submitted to the International Court of Justice by way of special agreement or (b) the execution of a judgment of the Court resulting from such special agreement.”

Special Court for Sierra Leone

The United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone established the Special Court for Sierra Leone jointly, and its mandate is to “try those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the territory of Sierra Leone since 30 November 1996.”

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) has the mandate to “prosecute persons responsible for the attack of 14 February 2005 resulting in the death of the former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and in the death or injury of other persons” (22 others died). This tribunal is unique in the fact that it excluded the penalties of death and forced labor, which are applicable under the Lebanese law.

United Nations Administrative Tribunal

The United Nations Administrative Tribunal (UNAT) is the “independent organ competent to hear and pass judgment upon applications alleging non-observation of contracts of employment of staff members of the United Nations Secretariat or of their terms of appointment as well as applications alleging non-observation of the regulations and rules of the UNJSPF (United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund), arising out of decisions by the Fund.” UNAT was established on November 24, 1949, and is composed of seven members.

United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT)

This is a link to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This convention requires member states to prevent torture within their borders and forbids the state to expel, return or extradite a person if there is substantial grounds for believing that person would be subject to torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, upon their return to their home country.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

This is a link to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provided by the United Nations. It was adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948, and it contains 30 articles regarding the protection and promotion of human rights for all.

World Courts

This site provides information and research assistance in the area of international judicial organizations. It contains information on the Permanent Court of International Justice, Central American Court of Justice, International Commissions of Inquiry, International Prize Court and the Economic Court of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

 

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