From Rights to Remedies: Structures and Strategies for Implementing International Human Rights Decisions

Too often, the decisions and recommendations of international legal bodies charged with protecting human rights are ignored by states unable or unwilling to implement them.

When the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women ruled against Hungary in the case of A.S. v. Hungary, it took more than three years to ensure that the government implemented the committee’s decision. The struggle of Ms. A.S. to achieve justice—through a maze of domestic courts, executive ministries, and the Hungarian legislature—highlights the challenges involved in ensuring that states live up to their legal obligations.

This report, From Rights to Remedies, explores these challenges by examining how international human rights decisions and recommendations are implemented at the national level. It analyzes the strategies and structures—within the executive branch, legislatures, and domestic courts—that can either promote or thwart implementation. It also looks at the special role that national human rights institutions have to play in the execution process.

By combining analysis with recommendations, model laws, and case studies that span the European, Inter-American, and African systems, as well as the UN treaty bodies, From Rights to Remedies offers both a political and legal roadmap to more effective domestic implementation.