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Advanced Introduction to International Human Rights Law

Dinah L. Shelton

In this landmark text, Dinah Shelton offers an insightful overview of the current state of international human rights law: its norms, institutions and procedures, both global and regional. Providing an invaluable entry point to this complex area of the law, and an insightful reference for seasoned experts, the book will prove a useful resource for professors and practitioners of international law. It will also serve as a stimulating introductory text for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses on human rights.
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Complaint procedures

Dinah L. Shelton


As previous chapters have indicated, a growing number of procedures exist globally and regionally whereby those affected by or concerned about human rights violations may file communications or complaints. At the global level, with the exception of the procedure for gross and systematic violations pursuant to Resolution 1503, access remains optional with States Parties to the various treaties. In contrast, the three regional systems that provide such a mechanism automatically make their States Parties subject to the right of petition. In addition, beginning with Europe, some regional systems have created judicial bodies to supervise State implementation and provide redress. Access to the international procedures depends on the exhaustion of available and effective local remedies within the State alleged to have committed the violation.

Most procedures focus on individuals whose rights have been violated, but several are concerned with broader situations of widespread violations within a country. Both types of procedure aim to secure compliance with international human rights law by the State in question. Different mechanisms address the two types of case, however.

Four of the UN human rights treaty bodies (HRC, CERD, CEDAW, CRC, CED, CMW, CPRD and CAT) may consider individual complaints or communications. The ICESCR also has initiated a collective complaints procedure discussed herein. Article 77 of the Convention on Migrant Workers will allow individual communications that will become operative when ten States Parties have made the necessary declaration under CPMW Article 77.

A few of the UN specialized agencies, most...

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