The Law of International Human Rights Protection

Walter Kalin; Jorg Kunzli
Pub date
Sep 2010
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Human rights are invoked on many occasions. But are they more than lofty values and abstract principles? In providing a concise but comprehensive overview of international human rights protection at the global and regional levels, this book offers an introduction to the ideas, conceptual underpinnings, and doctrine of international human rights law including the sources, legal nature, and scope of application of human rights obligations. The issues of implementation and enforceability at the domestic, regional, and universal level are explored, and the impact of the recently established Human Rights Council is assessed. The substantive guarantees covering economic, social, and cultural as well as civil and political rights based on the case law of UN treaty bodies and relevant regional courts are evaluated. This book shows that human rights are real rights creating legal entitlements for those who are protected by them and imposing legal obligations on those bound by them. It explores the various mechanisms set up by the international community to monitor the implementation of human rights guarantees and to decide individual cases brought to the attention of human rights courts and quasi-judicial bodies at the international level. Its last part contains a detailed exploration of the meanings of human rights guarantees, such as the right to life, the prohibition of torture, non-discrimination, economic rights, and many others.


1. Origins and Universality
2. Notions and Sources
3. The Legal Nature of Human Rights Obligations
4. The Scope of Application of Human Rights
5. Basic Concepts of International Humanitarian Law
6. Basic Principles
7. Treaty Bodies
8. Charter Based Bodies
9. Protection of Human Existence: Right to Life and Subsistence Rights
10. Protection of Human Integrity: Prohibition of Ill-treatment and of Enforced Disappearance
11. Prohibition of Human Identity: Prohibition of Discrimination, and Protection of Minorities
12. Protection of Private Life
13. Protection of the Intellectual and Spiritual Sphere
14. Protection of the Human Person in the Economic Sphere
15. Protection of Persons Deprived of their Liberty and Fair Trial Guarantees
16. Protection of Participation in Political Life
17. Protection During Migration, Forced Displacement, and Flight

About the author: 

Walter Kalin is Professor of Constitutional and International Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Bern, and a former Dean of the Faculty and Head of the Legal Department. Since 2004 he has been Representative of the UN Secretary General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, from 2003-2008 he was a Member of the UN Human Rights Committee, and in 1991-92 was Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in Kuwait under Iraqi Occupation. ; Jorg Kunzli is Assistant Professor of Public International and Constitutional Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Bern.

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