State Obligations Under Universal Human Rights Treaties

Obligations Imposed by the International Covenants and Other Universal Human Rights Treaties with Regard to the Implementation of Human Rights by Domestic Courts
  • Johannes van Aggelen


The year 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the two covenants, considered the bedrock of the international human rights treaty system as subsequent treaties generally refine rights contained in the covenants. The history of the drafting of the two covenants was greatly influenced by the Cold War and the different conceptions of the nature and essence of human rights. The initial idea of bringing the two sets of rights together in one document appeared untenable, and the UN General Assembly in early 1952 decided to embark on two covenants, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Civil and political rights could be considered as law to be implemented immediately, while economic, social, and cultural rights are understood in a more flexible way, as expressed in Article 2 (1) ICESCR: “Each State party to the present Covenant undertakes to take steps […] with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized.”


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes van Aggelen
    • 1
  1. 1.International LawBrasiliaBrazil

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