There are several international bodies which also work to promote and protect human rights around the world. Some organisations have been created because of specific international human rights treaties in order that there is a monitor to check how fully different countries are meeting their obligations. These are called United Nations Charter-based bodies. Here is a brief desciption of the major human rights organisations and their powers.
United Nations (UN)
Human Rights Council (HRC)
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
International Coordinating Committee Of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection Of Human Rights (ICC)
UN Treaty Bodies
Treaty bodies are committees of independent experts who monitor the implementation of UN human rights treaties. They consider state reports on progress made to realise human rights under the treaty they monitor and issue authoritative interpretations (usually called General Comments or General Recommendations) on states’ obligations under the treaty. Most treaty bodies can also review and make recommendations on complaints from individuals and groups where they feel that their rights under the treaty have been violated and they have been denied a remedy at the national level.
There are eight treaty bodies, each has responsibility in relation to one of the core UN human rights treaties. They are:
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and its Optional Protocol); Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination(International Convention on the elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination); The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol); Committee Against Torture(Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and its Optional Protocol); Committee on the Rights of the Child (Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols); Committee on Migrant Workers(International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families)Committee on the Right of Persons with Disabilities(International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol).
Council of Europe (COE)
The Council of Europe was founded in 1946 to defend human rights, democracy and the Rule of Law. It now has 47 member states.
COE Commitee of Ministers
Representatives of all COE member states sit on the Committee of Ministers, COEs decision making body. The Committee of Ministers is the guardian of the Council's fundamental values, and monitors member states' compliance with their undertakings, including the implementation of decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.
The European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights was established in 1959, created by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Convention allows people who feel their rights have been violated by a state party (a national government) and who cannot get a remedy at the national level, to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights.
The COE Commissioner for Human Rights
The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent institution to promote the awareness of, and respect for, human rights in all countries of the Council of Europe. The Commissioner engages in dialogue with states to encourage greater respect and protection of human rights, makes thematic recommendations on human rights, raises awareness, and promotes the creation of national human rights institutions. Thomas Hammarberg is the current Commissioner.
COE Treaty Monitoring Bodies
Committees of independent experts monitor the progress of states to realise human rights under particular COE human rights treaties. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)visits places of detention to see how persons deprived of their liberty are treated and, if necessary, to recommend improvements to States. The European Committee on Social Rights (ECSR) reviews progress under the European Social Charter, and can consider collective complaints in respect of those states (not including the UK) which have accepted this. The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities reviews compliance with that treaty, and issues thematic recommendations on the rights it includes. Other bodies exist in relation to other COE human rights treaties.