RECONCEPTUALIZING HUMAN RIGHTS: Article: An Emerging Norm: The Duty of States to Provide Reparations for Human Rights Violations by Non-State Actors Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2010 UC Hastings College of the Law 
Hastings International and Comparative Law Review

RECONCEPTUALIZING HUMAN RIGHTS: Article: An Emerging Norm: The Duty of States to Provide Reparations for Human Rights Violations by Non-State Actors

Summer, 2010

Hastings International and Comparative Law Review

33 Hastings Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 307

Author

By Cecily Rose*

Excerpt


The objective of international human rights law is not to punish those individuals who are guilty of violations, but rather to protect the victims and to provide for the reparation of damages resulting from the acts of the States responsible. 1

I. Introduction

While victims of human rights violations have a well-established right to appropriate reparation, controversy has continued to surround the corresponding duty to provide those reparations. 2 The legal basis for the right to reparations is articulated in numerous international human rights treaties and has been expanded by regional and international bodies. 3 In addition, the ethical basis for the right to reparations is similarly well-established. 4 In societies transitioning out of periods of political violence and structural injustice, reparations have helped restore the dignity of victims and rebuild civil trust and social solidarity. 5 Yet, despite the clearly defined legal and ethical bases for the right to reparations, disagreement persists on the basic issue of who holds the corresponding duty to provide reparations for victims of gross violations of human rights.

In the instances where States or their agents commit gross human rights violations against those within their territory or jurisdiction, the answer is fairly straightforward: The State itself is responsible for providing reparations. 6 Accordingly, reparations programs have been implemented (to varying degrees) in a series of Latin American States transitioning out of repressive military dictatorships, including Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Guatemala, and El Salvador. 7 In broad strokes, the conflicts ...
 
 
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