Regional System for Human Rights Protection – An Introduction

In addition to the system of treaties and institutions developed by the United Nations to safeguard human rights at the international level, several regional inter-governmental organizations have established their own frameworks for the protection of human rights within their respective geographic regions.

These regional human rights systems typically are comprised of one or more multilateral legal instruments, a mechanism for monitoring the compliance of state parties with these instruments, and a judicial or quasi-judicial body authorized to resolve individual claims for the violation of rights guaranteed under these instruments.

The oldest and most well-developed regional system for the protection of human rights is the European system.  It was followed by the Inter-American system, which covers the Western Hemisphere, and the emerging pan-African system   While each system has its strengths, weaknesses, and distinguishing characteristics, all of them struggle to provide meaningful redress to the victims of human rights abuses and to compel state parties to comply with their findings and recommendations.

European system

Inter-American system

African system