Giving Teeth to International Human Rights Treaties in Asia: National Human Rights Commissions
Brian Burdekin is currently Visiting Professor at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Sweden and Professorial Visiting Fellow at the University of New South Wales Faculty of Law. He is international advisor to many National Human Rights Commissions in Asia, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe.
From 1995 to 2003, as Special Adviser on National Institutions, Regional Arrangements and Preventive Strategies to the first three United Nations High Commissioners for Human Rights, he conducted over 200 missions to countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America where governments or civil society wanted to create an independent Human Rights Commission. In the past 25 years he has helped to establish such Commissions in over 70 countries and is generally considered to be the leading international expert on the subject.
In the last few decades the international order has changed dramatically--and institutions specifically designed to protect human rights have evolved. New institutions, in particular National Human Rights Commissions, have been created in many Asian countries -- in part to address the substantial inadequacies of judicial systems in redressing violations by the executive government or forces it controls. Governments have increasingly "privatised" or "outsourced" many essential services – but in breach of international law have frequently failed to ensure the private sector is appropriately regulated. In this lecture Professor Burdekin will consider recent developments in protecting human rights in a number of Asia's largest -- and smallest--countries where he has been involved in advising governments and civil society on establishing an effective National Human Rights Commission.