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Today, rights are seen within the respect, protect and fulfil framework:
Obligation to respect: do no harm
Obligation to protect: protect me from my rights being violated by others
Obligation to fulfil: Progressively improve my employment of human rights.
Some say there is also the obligation to promote, but others say it is implicitly implied in all the other three.
Obligation to respect: Treating equals unequally is infringement of Human Rights and treating unequals equally is also (e.g. not having enough availability and infrastructure for people with disabilities).
Obligation to protect: If an entity is violating Human Rights, the State has the obligation to intervene, take appropriate measure as conduct due diligence to prevent, investigate, prosecute etc. States are required to ensure companies do not violate human rights in the first place.
Obligation to fulfil: Requires States to adopt legislative, judicial, administrative, educative and other appropriate measures in order to fulfil their legal obligations.
The Structure of the ICCPR is as follows:
The right to self-determination can be found at the forefront in article one. However, states lack agreement on scope of right to self-determination.
Articles 2-5 form one of the most important backbones of ICCPR as it denotes general obligations of states and when they may be able to derogate.
Substantive civil and political rights
The human rights committee
Individual complaints procedure is not part of ICCPR, it is part of an individual protocol which was added later.
Only civil and political rights are negative rights (state is required to lay back), whereas Economic, social and cultural rights are positive (these entail a state’s action for rights such as health care, education etc.).
Derogation and Limitations of ICCPR:
A derogation from HR obligations is distinct from limitations as it can only be invoked by a State in case of national emergency and there is a requirement that emergency must be officially proclaimed. Also, if nations have higher threshold of HRs than the treaty then it has the obligation to maintain the high threshold as UN HR aspires to progress. One cannot use articles as excuse to lower their own standard of HR.
The right to freedom of expression may be limited for the purposes of protecting the overarching right to life in light of hate speech. Limitations cannot be applied in a manner that extinguishes the right. One can only limit a particular right in terms of scope, in the interest of a larger objective, but one cannot extinguish that right.
According to article 18 of the ICCPR, everyone shall have right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (with limitation to hate speech).
When such restrictions are made by states three things are required to be demonstrated by States:
That they are necessary
There must be a legitimate aim (mentioned in corresponding provision)
They are proportionate to the purpose of the legitimate aim (if it weren’t you would be exceeding your right to limit).
In addition to ICCPR there are two additional protocols. They are known as optional protocols as some states bound to ICCPR did not ratify the additional protocols.
IMAGE SOURCE: http://www.caledonianblogs.net/lawclinic/2016/12/14/support-for-human-rights/