The concept of international protection of individual rights was expressly recognized in the San Francisco Conference (1945). The United Nations Charter also imposed human rights obligations on all member states, pursuant to which the General Assembly approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). These international documents show the desire of the international community to recognize individuals as partial subjects of international law. Although the Universal Declaration is not a legally binding document, several states have voluntarily included in their national constitutions and domestic legislations most of its provisions.
The Nuremberg trials and the Genocide Convention have uprooted the idea that a government could do its wishes to its citizens within its jurisdiction. Significant progress was made in direct and effective protection for the individual, his status and legal personality, legalising human rights and basic freedoms through the adoption of international and regional conventions and mechanisms for the purpose and allowing the individuals to file claims and complaints in the case these conventions were violated.
Because international human rights law refers to the basic rights owed to individuals by states and consisting of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of a particularly high intensity1, human rights law is unique in international law in its emphasis on the individual. The obligation is owed not to the national government but to the individual who is increasingly granted access to tribunals, domestic, regional and international, for the enforcement of these rights. The international community now has legitimate concern for the treatment of the individual and the latter is no longer under the exclusive domestic jurisdiction.
According to David Little, "Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are considered entitled: the right to life, liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equal treatment before the law, among others. These rights represent entitlements of the individual or groups vis--vis the government as well as responsibilities of the individual and the government authorities. Such rights are ascribed "naturally", which means that they are not earned and cannot be denied on the basis of race, creed, ethnicity or gender."2
International human rights law aims primarily to protect individuals and groups from abusive action by states and state agents.3 International human rights law treats the state as the principal threat to individual freedom and well-being.4 Some acts are so defined that they constitute human rights violations only if they are committed by state agents or in their conspiracy or complicity.5 There are some acts constituting human rights violations result to individual responsibility6 and other acts7 constituting crimes under international law.
Human rights provides a universal paradigm of dignity for the human person. The 1966 International Covenants (1. On civil and political rights, 2. On economic, social and cultural rights 3. On collective rights)8 provided international standards which allow for cultural and religious diversity. The three instruments adopted by the General Assembly on