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The Contemporary Significance of International Human Rights Law

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 June 2009


Judge Buergenthal argues that the increased acceptance by states of international human rights obligations proclaimed in UN and regional treaties, reinforced by the jurisprudence of international and regional tribunals, accounts for the substantial progress that has been made in the protection of human rights throughout the world. The resultant political significance of international human rights law and the international community's growing expectation of compliance with that law explain why states engaging in large-scale human rights violations increasingly risk serious political and economic consequences for such practices. A state's continuing non-compliance with its international human rights obligations tends also to lead to the gradual loss by its government of the national and international legitimacy it needs in order to govern, which may in time contribute to its fall.

Copyright © Foundation of the Leiden Journal of International Law 2009

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