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Bringing Human

Rights Home
Associate Professor Cindy Galway Buys
Southern Illinois University School of Law

United Nations Universal

Declaration of Human Rights

The General Assembly (GA) of the United

Nations (UN) adopted the Declaration as a nonlegally binding resolution on December 10, 1948
The UN GA called on all member states to
publicize the text of the Declaration and to
educate their citizens about the Declaration
The Declaration proclaims a common standard
of achievement for all peoples and all nations

European Convention for the

Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms

Adopted by the members of the Council of

Europe on November 4, 1950
Based on common European heritage of
political traditions, ideals, freedom and the
rule of law
Intended to take the first steps towards
collective enforcement of certain of the rights
stated in the Universal Declaration

Some Common Rights

Right to life, liberty and security of person

Prohibition of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment
Prohibition of slavery and forced labor
Right to a fair trial
Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion
Freedom of expression
Freedom of association and assembly
Prohibition on discrimination/Right to equal
protection before the law

Evolution of the International

Human Rights System

Norm creation
Institution building

Lithuanian Constitution
Article 135
In implementing its foreign policy, the
Republic of Lithuania shall follow the
universally recognised principles and norms
of international law, shall strive to safeguard
national security and independence as well
as the welfare, basic rights, and freedoms of
its citizens, and shall contribute to the
creation of the international order based on
law and justice.

Lithuanian Constitution
Article 138
International treaties which are ratified by the
Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania shall be
a constituent part of the legal system of the
Republic of Lithuania.

German Constitution
Article 25
The general rules of international law shall be
an integral part of federal law. They shall
take precedence over the laws and directly
create rights and duties for the inhabitants of
the federal territory.

United Kingdom

No constitutional provision addressing

international law
International law is incorporated into
domestic law by statute passed by
Human Rights Act of 1998 was adopted to
give further effect to rights and freedoms
guaranteed under the European Convention
on Human Rights

United States Constitution

Article VI [2]
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United
States which shall be made in Pursuance
thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall
be made, under the Authority of the United
States, shall be the supreme Law of the
Land; and the Judges in every State shall be
bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution
or Laws of any State to Contrary

Vienna Convention on Consular

Relations Article 36: Communication
and contact with nationals of the
sending State
1.b. if he so requests, the competent authorities of the
receiving State shall, without delay, inform the
consular post of the sending State if, within its
consular district, a national of that State is arrested
or committed to prison or to custody pending trial or
is detained in any other manner. Any communication
addressed to the consular post by the person
arrested, in prison, custody or detention shall be
forwarded by the said authorities without delay. The
said authorities shall inform the person concerned
without delay of his rights under this subparagraph;