Human rights treaties are standard-setting yet these standards are open-textured and evolutionary; therefore interpretative tools must be engaged in order to flesh out the true extent of states’ obligations, particularly as these obligations evolve to reflect rights in the modern world. The human rights treaty bodies embedded in each of the UN human rights treaties are comprised of experts in the field specific to each treaty and represent a unique feature of the core treaties in that they are the primary interpreters of the treaties at the international level. Human rights treaty bodies have contributed a great deal to the development of measurable international human rights obligations. Through the functions confirmed by their respective treaties, treaty bodies have a range of options by way of which they can inform States Parties about the evolving nature of human rights protection. From issuing general comments, to appraising states’ periodic reports or reaching final views on individual communications – what will be referred to collectively throughout this chapter as ‘jurisprudence’ – there is no lack of soft law to be found. Though many states often ignore treaty body jurisprudence, there is unmistakeable evidence that it is creeping into the domestic realm by virtue of increasing reference to this jurisprudence in domestic court opinions and policy debates. The persisting question is whether the use of treaty body jurisprudence at the domestic level refines or distorts the development of universal human rights standards.
|Title of host publication||Tracing the Role of Soft Law in Human Rights|
|Editors||Stephanie Lagoutte, Thomas Gammeltoft Hansen, John Cerone|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|ISBN (Print)||9780198791409, 0198791402|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2016|