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Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels.


1. In the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the promotion and protection of human rights as referred to in the present Declaration, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to benefit from an effective remedy and to be protected in the event of the violation of those rights.

2. To this end, everyone whose rights or freedoms are allegedly violated has the right, either in person or through legally authorized representation, to complain to and have that complaint promptly reviewed in a public hearing before an independent, impartial and competent judicial or other authority established by law and to obtain from such an authority a decision, in accordance with law, providing redress, including any compensation due, where there has been a violation of that personþs rights or freedoms, as well as enforcement of the eventual decision and award, all without undue delay.

3. To the same end, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, inter alia:

(a) To complain about the policies and actions of individual officials and governmental bodies with regard to violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, by petition or other appropriate means, to competent domestic judicial, administrative or legislative authorities or any other competent authority provided for by the legal system of the State, which should render their decision on the complaint without undue delay;(b) To attend public hearings, proceedings and trials so as to form an opinion on their compliance with national law and applicable international obligations and commitments;(c) To offer and provide professionally qualified legal assistance or other relevant advice and assistance in defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.

4. To the same end, and in accordance with applicable international instruments and procedures, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to unhindered access to and communication with international bodies with general or special competence to receive and consider communications on matters of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

5. The State shall conduct a prompt and impartial investigation or ensure that an inquiry takes place whenever there is reasonable ground to believe that a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms has occurred in any territory under its jurisdiction.

No one shall participate, by act or by failure to act where required, in violating human rights and fundamental freedoms and no one shall be subjected to punishment or adverse action of any kind for refusing to do so.

Even though the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Geneva Conventions and other international humanitarian and human rights law have been flouted, these instruments are genuine landmarks and provide a basis for action. Clearly, what is lacking are the mechanisms and the will for enforcement.

Protecting children requires much broader participation in the monitoring and reporting of human rights abuses. In order to enforce humanitarian and human rights law, there must be a determined effort to prosecute offenders. The international community must attach particular importance to responding effectively to every occasion when those involved in armed conflict trample on children's rights. Any purported "mitigating circumstances" through which Governments or their opponents seek to justify infringements of children's rights in times of armed conflict must be seen by the international community for what they are: reprehensible and intolerable.

Within the United Nations, the principal responsibility for monitoring human rights violations rests with the Commission on Human Rights. It can receive information from any source and take an active role in gathering data. When a country ratifies the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it must review its national laws to ensure that they are in line with the provisions of the Convention. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, composed of ten experts serving in their individual capacities, monitors constantly the implementation of the Convention by communicating with all States Parties on their progress and problems in promoting children's rights.

All international bodies working in conflict zones should establish procedures for prompt, confidential and objective reporting of violations that come to their attention. Civil society organizations should actively disseminate humanitarian and human rights law and engage in advocacy, reporting and monitoring of infringements of children's rights.

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