Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



For Americans at least, active concern for human rights on the international plane is demonstrated perhaps most conspicuously in the promotion and protection of human rights through the United Nations and its allied agencies--apart, that is, from the promotion and protection of human rights through United States foreign policy and the work of such nongovernmental organizations as Amnesty International. Supplementing this globally-oriented human rights activity, however, are international human rights regimes operating regionally in Western Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East. Concededly, Asia is not yet represented, and only the first three of the represented regions have gone so far as to create enforcement mechanisms within the framework of a human rights charter, as evidenced by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the European Social Charter, the American Convention on Human Rights and the Banjul (African) Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. The Permanent Arab Commission on Human Rights, founded by the Council of the League of Arab States in September 1968 but since then understandably preoccupied by the rights of Palestinian Arabs in and to the Israeli-occupied territories, has yet to bring a proposed Arab Convention on Human Rights to successful conclusion, and so far has tended to function more in terms of the promotion than the protection of human rights. Nevertheless, the regional development of human rights norms, institutions and procedures is likely to grow. Already an important dynamic of international human rights law and policy, it is, in any event, here to stay.