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Human Right Course
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What are human rights?
The history of human rights
What right do we have?
The protection of Human Rights
Inter-governmental organisations
Non-governmental organisations
The press and media
International criminal courts
Human rights in everyday life
Human Rights
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Did you know

Did you know that there are around 1,100 inter-governmental organisations in the world?

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Inter-governmental organisations also play an important role in the protection of human rights. It is the states that are the members of inter-governmental organisations.

It was the UN that adopted international human rights in 1948. Since then many inter-governmental organisations have worked to protect human rights. These organisations have produced their own human rights documents, all of which are based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) are organisations to which European states belong.

When the UN, Council of Europe or other organisations have produced a human rights convention it means that the states have reached agreement collectively. When a member state violates the contents of a convention it means that this state is not complying with what it and the other states agreed to. Because the states have given up some of their sovereignty by becoming members of the organisation, the other states are entitled to react to such violations. They are supposed to monitor each other to ensure that everything works as it is supposed to.

Once a state has ratified a human rights convention, it is supposed to report regularly (often every second or every fourth year) to the organisation on how the convention is being implemented. If a state violates its obligations, this may be brought up in meetings. Thus a great deal of international pressure can build up on a state that does not respect human rights.



- The Council of Europe has 41 member states, including several former communist countries. It was founded in 1949 to ensure human rights and parliamentary democracy in Europe. The council also works to ensure states are governed by laws, harmonise social legislation and promote European identity and culture. Since 1989, the Council of Europe has particularly focused on human rights and the democratisation of the former Eastern Bloc.

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- The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is an organisation in which the USA, Canada and all the European countries, including the states that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, discuss European security policy, economics and human rights. A total of 55 countries participate in it.

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