Regional human rights mechanisms play an important role in monitoring government compliance with human rights obligations and in providing a place for individuals and groups to hold governments accountable when a government fails to protect and promote human rights. Regional human rights mechanisms have been established under treaty agreements between governments in the major regions of the world, including the Americas, Europe, and Africa. The Advocates works with volunteers and with partner organizations to submit information to regional bodies on a variety of human rights issues. The Advocates holds Observer Status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) oversees a group of legally binding conventions that guarantee certain human rights related to work, especially: “freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor; the effective abolition of child labor; and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.”
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The ICC is based on a treaty ratified by 100 countries.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights together interpret and enforce the American Convention on Human Rights and the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man. The Commission investigates individual complaints, conducts independent monitoring, and refers cases to the Inter-American Court. The Court rules on cases involving violations of the Convention brought by governments or by the Commission and offers advisory opinions on the correct interpretation of regional human rights treaties.
The European Court of Human Rights enforces the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects rights, such as the right to life, freedom from torture, the right to vote, and freedom of expression. Individuals and countries bring complaints before the Court, which then passes judgment. The judgments of the Court are binding and typically involve compensation for the victim of the violation.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Court on Human and People’s Rights together oversee implementation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Commission receives regular reports on human rights conditions from governments that are signatories to the Charter. The Court adjudicates allegations of human rights violations brought by the Commission, governments, and individuals.
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