New Institutions for Human Rights Protection

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This book presents a multi-faceted approach to one of the most crucial challenges facing Human Rights institutions today - the implementation gap that exists between human rights norms and their enforcement by States. Comprising contributions from renowned international scholars in the field of human rights, New Institutions for Human Rights Protection examines how the human rights commitments entered into by States might be translated more effectively into protection for individuals in practice and the crucial role that human rights institutions, at both a national and international level, have to play in this endeavor.

Focusing on recent developments in respect to institutions such as the UN Human Rights Council and the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), these essays present a thorough account of the challenges and objectives facing the international community today with respect to human rights. From an account of the origins and aims of the UN Human Rights Council to its potential conflict with the missions of other Treaty bodies and from an observation on the role of institutions in the field of racism and discrimination to the potency of human rights norms and institutions to uphold minority interests, this volume offers original and diverse perspectives on the role of fledgling human rights institutions.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Kevin Boyle

Kevin Boyle is a Professor of Law at the University of Essex with specialization in Human Rights Law. He was Director of the Human Rights Center from 1990 to 2001. From 2001-2002 he spent a year in Geneva with the United Nations as Senior Adviser to Mary Robinson the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.


Kevin Boyle, a professor of history at Ohio State University, is the author of The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 1945-1968. A former associate professor at the University of Massachusetts, he is also the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He lives in Bexley, Ohio.

Author biography courtesy of Henry Holt and Company.

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Boyle:

"I love to read the high-end restaurant reviews in The New York Times, but the restaurant I long to revisit is a fish and chips shop in Stillorgan, Ireland. My family spent a year living just down the road from the shop, and we stopped in so often the crew behind the counter came to know our order by heart. That year's diet probably cut a couple of years off my life expectancy."

"When I settle at my desk to write, I sit on a chair that comes from Detroit's old ballpark, Tiger Stadium. It has ancient wooden slats covered with decades of paint; it's completely uncomfortable; and despite my wife's protests, I'm never giving it up."

"Our family is rounded out by an aging border collie mix we rescued from the Detroit Humane Society 13 years ago. She came to us a terrified puppy, and after years of care and attention -- well, she's a terrified old dog."

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    1. Hometown:
      Bexley, Ohio
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 7, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Detroit, Michigan
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Detroit, 1982; M.A., University of Michigan, 1984; Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1990

Table of Contents

List of Contributors xi

Table of Cases xiii

Table of Legislation xv

Introduction Kevin Boyle 1

1 The United Nations Human Rights Council: Origins, Antecedents, and Prospects Kevin Boyle 11

1 Introduction 11

A Chronology 11

B Overview: Council Compared to Commission 12

C Contexts 14

2 The Commission on Human Rights (1946-2006) 21

A Status, Membership, and Subordinate Bodies of the Commission 21

B Mandate of the Commission 23

C Complaints Machinery 24

D Politicization of the Commission 26

3 The Human Rights Council 28

A Origins 28

B Resolution 60/251 and the Mandate of the Human Rights Council 31

C Institution Building: Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1 33

4 Prospects 44

A 'Neither Mountain nor Molehill' 44

2 The United Nations Human Rights Council, Its Special Procedures, and Its Relationship with the Treaty Bodies: Complementarity or Competition? Sir Nigel Rodley 49

1 Introduction 49

2 Country Work of the Council and Review of Periodic Reports by Treaty Bodies 52

3 Treaty Bodies and Thematic Special Procedures 56

A Purpose of Activities 56

B Working Methods 58

4 Extent of Direct Cooperation 65

5 Conclusion 71

3 Reforming the UN Human Rights Protection Procedures: A Legal Perspective on the Establishment of the Universal Periodic Review Mechanism Nadia Bernaz 75

1 Introduction 75

2 Substantive Legal Aspects of Universal Periodic Review: States' Obligations and Commitments as Applicable Standards 78

A States' Human Rights Obligations: A Much-Questioned Basis of Review 79

B States' Commitments: A Debatable Basis of Review 82

3 Procedural Aspects of UPR and Prospects for the Rationalization of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mechanisms 85

A The Universal Periodic Review as an Old 'New Idea': Overcoming Past Errors 86

B The Universal Periodic Review: A Replacement for the Treaty Bodies Reporting Procedures? 87

4 Conclusion 91

4 The EU Fundamental Rights Agency: Genesis and Potential Olivier De Schutter 93

1 Introduction 93

2 The Context: the Rise of Human Rights in the EU (1998-2003) 94

3 The Birth of the Agency and the Initial Debate (2003-5) 100

A The Relevance of the Paris Principles on National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights 102

B The Relevance of the Community Framework for the Establishment of Agencies 108

4 The Role of the Council of Europe in the Debate on the Fundamental Rights Agency (2003-6) 112

A The Reactions of the Council of Europe to the Proposal to Establish an EU Fundamental Rights Agency 112

B The Reality of the Duplication of Tasks between the EU Fundamental Rights Agency and the Council of Europe Bodies 117

C Third Countries 120

D An Evaluation 123

5 Epilogue 133

5 A Comparative and European Examination of National Institutions in the Field of Racism and Discrimination Isabelle Rorive 137

1 Introduction 137

2 A Glimpse at EU Anti-Discrimination Law 138

3 An Equality Body Model at National Level? 144

A A Broad Range of Practices 144

B Influential Models of Equality Bodies 145

C Single or Multiple Equality Bodies? 151

4 What Do Equality Bodies Do? 155

A EU Requirements 155

B Assistance to Victims and Legal Casework 157

C Surveys, Reports, Recommendations, and Promoting Good Equality Practices 165

D ECRI Guidelines 167

5 Equality Bodies and Independence: A Key Question 169

A Independence from Government 169

B Independence as Neutrality 171

C Effective Independence 171

6 Conclusion 172

6 Minority Rights: Norms and Institutions Gudmundur Alfredsson 175

1 Introduction 175

2 Human Rights and Security Problems 178

3 The Organizations and the Instruments 180

4 Definition of the Beneficiaries 182

5 Individual and Group Rights 186

6 Equal Enjoyment and Non-Discrimination 188

7 Special Measures and Special Rights 189

8 Special Measures in the Field of Political Rights 195

9 National Implementation 197

10 International Monitoring 198

A Monitoring Compliance with Human Rights 199

B Monitoring Compliance with Minority Rights 201

11 Institutional Trends 202

12 Conclusion 205

Index 207

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