Human Rights and the Denunciation of Treaties and Withdrawal from International Organisations
Polish Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 33 (2013), pp. 95-127
39 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2014
Date Written: July 28, 2014
In recent years the international community has witnessed the denunciation of human rights treaties by a number of States, and increasingly voluble voices can be heard urging withdrawal from the European Convention of Human Rights and the European Union. What provision does international law make for dealing with such eventualities? The focus of this article is on the interaction between the law of treaties and human rights, with special attention paid to a distinctive category of treaties. Its purpose is to consider, firstly, the legal problems attached to actual and purported denunciations of, or withdrawals from, human rights treaties; and secondly, the termination of membership in international organisations with a commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights. In many instances provision is made for a lawful withdrawal so long as certain conditions are met and stipulated requirements complied with. But a prominent question remains: Do States have a unilateral right, under international law, to extricate themselves from such obligations in the absence of explicit permission to do so? The conclusion reached, in light of the special nature of human rights treaties and frameworks, is that absent a clear implication to the contrary, withdrawal is legally impermissible.
Keywords: human rights, international law, denunciation of treaties, VCLT, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation