11. How to evaluate the implementation of human rights obligations in practice?

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How to evaluate the implementation of human rights obligations in practice?

Concluding Observations (see question: “What are Concluding Observations?”) to the State Reports and General Comments (see question: “What are General Comments?”) explain how states are supposed to realise their obligations. Taken together, they provide a guideline for the implementation of particular human rights.

General Comments propose suitable measures for the implementation of a human right and provide information on the core elements of particular human rights and overarching human rights principles.

Human right core elements evaluate qualitatively the fulfillment of a human right. When it comes to the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights these elements are usually: availability, accessibility (geographically and physically), affordability, and quality.

Furthermore, states have to follow human rights principles while implementing their human rights obligations. These priviples  are recurrent for all human rights:

  • Do not exclude or patronize certain groups of people or individuals in the implementation process. (equality of chances and non-discrimination)
  • Give everyone the possibility to articulate their point of view in political discourse and to participate in social and economic processes. (participation and empowerment)
  • States have to act transparently and be accountable for their actions. (transparency and accountability)

Further Reading

Reading Tip

Deutsche Geschellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (2013): Promising Practices - On a human rights-based approach in German development cooperation. GIZ, 26 p.

Deutsche Geschellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (2011): National Human Rights Institutions. GIZ, 10 p.