The International Protection of Fundamental Human Rights: An Examination of the Role and Effectiveness of International Law in the Elimination of Torture

Naismith, Stanley Hood (1988) The International Protection of Fundamental Human Rights: An Examination of the Role and Effectiveness of International Law in the Elimination of Torture. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study is primarily an examination of the role and effectiveness of international law in the protection of fundamental human rights, with specific reference to the prevention of torture. The basic theme of the study is that fundamental human rights involve the relationship between the state and the individuals over whom it has jurisdiction, so that the protection of such rights is essentially dependent on the restraint of national governments, but that international law is seriously restricted in ensuring the effective protection of human rights because the international legal system is founded on a concept of national sovereignty which rejects any direct intervention by the international community in the domestic affairs of independent states. Accordingly, it is only within the context of national legal systems that the imposition of restraints on governmental action in internal matters can be achieved, with the result that in practice the protection of human rights is ultimately dependent upon the existence and efficient operation of safeguards within the constitutional and legal framework of each sovereign state. The problem is, however, that as a result of a widespread rejection of the liberal view of human rights as inherent rights of the individual and the related notion of limitation of government, many national systems do not have democratic institutions and legal procedures which can ensure control over governmental action, while in other countries the use of emergency measures seriously undermines formal safeguards, and it is precisely this absence or erosion of guarantees which permits the systematic violation of human rights, including the employment of torture. On this basis, it is argued that the protection of human rights should not be dependent an the operation of measures within individual states, but must be secured at the international level. It is recognised, however, that although international procedures have some value, the doctrine of national sovereignty deprives them of any real effectiveness when confronted by systematic violations of human rights, and it is the conclusion of this study that the effective protection of human rights by means of international law can only be achieved through a fundamental reappraisal of international legal concepts and a radical transformation of the international political order which will permit the genuine supervision of national governments by international agencies enjoying guaranteed constitutional status and authority in each sovereign state. (Abstract shortened by ProQuest.).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Law, International law
Date of Award: 1988
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1988-76805
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2020 09:37
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2020 09:37

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