Global Human Rights Index Proposal

Britain’s Green Party has released a proposal for a UN Global Human Rights Index that would annually evaluate all countries.

Proposed UN Global Human Rights Index

From the executive summary:

The Green Party of England and Wales is proposing that the UN establish a Global Human Rights Index (GloHRI), which would measure and rank each country according to its conformity with international human rights standards.

Using an objective points system, GloHRI would measure every country, based on its compliance with a check-list of agreed human rights norms, such as whether or not it has the death penalty, detention without trial, freedom of the media, the right to protest, equal rights for women and minorities and so on.

This simple, accessible index would enable objective comparisons between the human rights records of different countries, and permit the identification of whether each individual country’s human rights record was, year-on-year, improving or deteriorating.

Published annually, GloHRI would document where each state upholds or violates human rights; providing an incentive for all nations to improve their human rights record and ranking.

Sanremo Handbook on Rules of Engagement

The U.S. Naval War College has posted the November 2009 edition of the Sanremo Handbook on Rules of Engagement, published by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law. The document includes discussion of  land, maritime, air, outer space, and cyberspace military operations. Hat tip to Kelly Vinopal.

Sanremo Handbook on Rules of Engagement

From the Foreward:

The text has been prepared by Commander Alan Cole RN, Major Phillip Drew, Canadian Forces, Captain Rob McLaughlin, RAN and Professor Dennis Mandsager, Captain, JAGC, US Navy (Ret.). The final draft has been reviewed by a team of Council members of the Institute, composed of Brigadier General Erwin Dahinden, Dr. Baldwin de Vidts, Professor Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg, Professor Marie Jacobsson, Dr. Michael Meyer and Professor Michel Veuthey, with the cooperation of Colonel Darren Stewart, Director of the Military Department of the Institute.

There are no other Handbooks of its type in existence; it has been designed so that it can be used by any nation or group of nations without reference to security caveats or restrictions. Of course this was always the intent, to provide a tool that could be used to facilitate and enhance multinational cooperation and mutual understanding while ensuring that military forces are in compliance with national security and policy concerns.

As the political control on the use of force and with that the use of rules of engagement to regulate the conduct of armed forces by individual nations, alliances and coalitions around the world continues to grow, so too the need to be able to train on and understand rules of engagement similarly gains importance. It is essential that a clear understanding exists that whilst rules of engagement are often a mix of military and political policy requirements, these must be bounded by extant international and domestic legal parameters. Such legal constraints may never be exceeded, but are quite often restricted further by the effect of rules of engagement. Too often national or multinational security classifications mean that the publication and sharing of rules of engagement experience and best practice is problematic. The ability for militaries to share their experiences as well as for academics, students and the public to consider the subject is critical in order to promote awareness of the practical implementation of International Humanitarian Law through rules of engagement.

ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights

On October 23rd, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) officially inaugurated the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. The Terms of Reference that are the by-laws for the commission can be found at:

Excerpts from the Terms of Reference:


1.4 To promote human rights within the regional context, bearing in

mind national and regional particularities and mutual respect for

different historical, cultural and religious backgrounds, and taking

into account the balance between rights and responsibilities;


4.2. To develop an ASEAN Human Rights Declaration with a view to

establishing a framework for human rights cooperation through

various ASEAN conventions and other instruments dealing with

human rights;


6.8 The AICHR is the overarching human rights institution in ASEAN

with overall responsibility for the promotion and protection of

human rights in ASEAN.

Additional information available at 


Guide to International Human Rights Mechanisms

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission maintains an online copy of  “Making the Mountain Move: An Activist’s Guide to How International Human Rights Mechanisms Can Work for You.”  This guide provides information on the UN Treaty Based Human Rights bodies, Inter-American Human Rights system, African Union, and the European Court of Human Rights.

Making the Mountain Move: An Activist’s Guide to How International Human Rights Mechanisms Can Work for You.

Protecting Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Immigrants in South Africa

The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) has posted online the 2009 report:  ”Protecting Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Immigrants in South Africa”,%20Asylum%20Seekers%20and%20Immigrants%20in%20South%20Africa.pdf

The CoRMSA site also contains policy briefs, reports, links, and South African legislation on immigration, refugee  and asylum law.

JURISTAS – European Court of Human Rights

JURISTAS provides country specific case studies of litigation at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.  Case studies include Austria, Bulgaria, France , Germany, Greece, Romania, and Turkey. The reports detail litigation by subject and  domestic enforcement of ECHR judgments.

The Strasbourg Court, Democracy and the Human Rights of Individuals and Communities: Patterns of Litigation, State Implementation and Domestic Reform (JURISTRAS)

ILO Database: Use of International Law by Domestic Courts

Free online resource from the International Labour Organization:

Use of International Law by Domestic Courts

From the Web site’s description:

Use of International Law by Domestic Courts contains a compendium of court decisions in which domestic courts have relied on elements of international law to resolve the cases brought before them]. The compendium is composed mainly of cases falling within the province of labour law but also comprises decisions concerning basic human rights more generally. The decisions are presented in the form of summaries underlining how international law was used in each specific case. At the end of each summary, the full text of the decision is available in the original language.

Each decision is classified according to the following four sets of criteria:

country of origin of the decision

main subject on which international law was referred to

role of international law

type of international instruments used in the decision

Whenever the legal system of the countries included in the compendium stipulates how international law is to be incorporated into national law or the authority to be attributed to it, the decisions of the country in question are preceded by an insert citing the relevant provisions.

Decisions can be accessed through three indexes: by country, by subject and according to the role of international law.

And finally, the compendium is complemented by a library that contains: the texts of ILO Conventions and Recommendations, as well as the texts of other international instruments referred to in the compendium; the work and documents of the international supervisory bodies; and a selection of publications.


Online Publication:Human Rights and Climate Change

This month, the Commonwealth Secretariat published a short discussion paper on climate change and human rights. It is available online for free, although registration is required.

Human Rights and Climate Change: An Approach that Puts People in the Forefront of the Debate. July 2009

From the introduction:

A human rights model shifts the paradigm from

one that identifies ‘victims’ (who are most often

perceived as passive) to one acknowledging affected

groups as active stakeholders and critical voices.

Indeed, a rights-based approach frames the terms of

engagement and lays the basis for claims to be made

by ensuring affected populations are given the space

to speak, be heard, take action and influence


Perilous state of free resources: HuriDocs & HuriSearch

The extremely useful HuriSearch human rights search engine has placed the following annoucement on their home page:

As of 1 July, the costs of providing the present HuriSearch on the FAST-Microsoft platform increased with about 500%. Unfortunately, HURIDOCS cannot cover these costs. We are looking for alternative ways to set up a human rights search engine which will also be accessible through this page. 

Hurisearch is maintained by the Human Rights Information and Documentation System (HURIDOCS).

HuriSearch allows one to search for human rights publications and Web sites by language, country and organization. As of this morning (July 15th) the site was still working. It would be a shame to lose this resource since subject searching of international law is always troublesome. 


Iran Law Portal from Pars Times

Pars Times, an Iranian news and information portal, has a page dedicated to legal resorces. It includes links to specific statutes, the constitution, government institutions, bar associations, law faculties, and human rights resources.

Iran Law Portal