international conventions, they are relinquishing
some part of their sovereignty to the international community . States cannot violate
the rights of their citizens and get away with it. Even though there is no strong
enforcement mechanism in the international sphere, actions like naming and shaming,
economic sanctions and sometimes prosecuting heads of states are taken, when there
is violation of Human Rights.
Rights played the main role in the decolonization process. The right to self determination
was recognized as fundamental right and states were allowed to be free from their
colonists. In 1974 after UN security council imposed sanction on Rhodesia because
the state was violating the people of Zimbabwe’s right to self-determination.
Rights have a crucial role with regards to states’ relationship and states’ relationship
with international organization. When states enter in to bilateral or multilateral
agreements, it needs to be in compliance with fundamental human rights. Article
53 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties states that , a treaty is void if, at the time
of its conclusion, it conflicts with a peremptory norm of general international
law. Any agreement entered that violates Jus cognes is void. Hence, states can’t
sign a treaty with other state or international organization agreeing to start a
slave trade or violate other people’s right to self-determination. This is an evidence of how human rights is fundamental
in International law.
and General principle of their Interpretation.
(sometimes called agreements, conventions, exchanges of notes or protocols) between
States – or sometimes between States and international organizations are one of
the sources of international law . They are binding on the signatories because of
the customary international law, pacta sunt servanda. Treaties regulate both private
and public international law. The most fundamental rule in interpretation of treaty
is found on the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Article 31(1): “A treaty shall be interpreted
in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning given to the terms of the
treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose.”
In the matter of treaty interpretation, good faith demands the compliance of the
following requirements: • if the treaty is clear, the meaning should not change
under the pretext of respecting the spirit; • the used terms in the treaty must
be assigned to their ordinary, natural meaning, and they should be interpreted taking
into account the object and purpose of the treaty; • to a term it will be assigned
a special meaning if it is established that it was the intention of the parties.1 When there are unclear or obscure terms in a treaty , article
32 of the convention states that , Recourse may be had to supplementary means
of interpretation, including the preparatory work of the treaty and the circumstances
of its conclusion, in order to confirm the meaning resulting from the application
of article 31.
UN and Human Rights.
The United Nations plays
a central role in reducing international tensions, preventing conflicts and putting
an end to fighting already under way. It deals with our environment, outer space,
and the sea-bed. It has helped wipe out many diseases and expand food production.
It cares for and protects refugees, expands literacy and responds quickly to natural
disasters. It also protects and promotes rights of individuals by setting a global
standard for human rights.2
The UN Charter contains
specific articles on human rights. One of the principal purposes of the organization,
according to Article 1, paragraph 3 of the Charter, is international co-operation
to promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all
without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion. In this task, the General
Assembly was given the power to initiate studies and make recommendations to governments
(Article 13). Article 55 of the Charter states that, The United Nations shall promote
universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms
for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion . According to
article 62 paragraph 3 One of the tasks of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
is to make recommendations for the purpose of promoting respect for, and observance
of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. This general authority was supplemented
with the specific requirement that the Economic and Social Council should set up
a commission for the promotion of human rights, Article 68. Finally, Article 76
states that one of the basic objectives of the Trusteeship System is to encourage
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as
to race, sex, language or religion.
Article 103 of the UN Charter is the supremacy clause by stating
that the obligations of
UN Member States under the Charter prevail, in the event of a conflict, over their
obligations under any other international agreement. The meaning of this provision
is not very clear and has been subject to many debate. This is when we resort to
general rules of treaty interpretation as stated on article 31 and 32 o the Vienna
Convention on the Law of Treaties.
Anghel, 2000, p. 1185), ref in Jana MAFTE Varvara Licu?a COMAN2 Vol. 8, no
2/2012 Interpretation of Treaties