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The Human Rights Regime

Since the conclusion of WWII the international community has been working to establish an international system that facilitates collaboration among states in ways that promote human security and stability. The system is comprised of international laws, treaties, international forums, international and regional organizations, and international and regional task forces. Among other things, this system has been promoting human rights norms and standards across the globe, encouraging states to improve their human rights conduct internationally and domestically.

But the political international keepers of civil rights are not the only players in this field. Complementing this formal system is the civil and private component, a web of international and local nongovernmental organizations, civil society organizations, watchdogs, and the media. Those actors have been the real agents of change, those who actively promote the human rights agenda, helping to empower individuals and groups across the world in regards to their rights and how to claim them. Beyond pushing the global human rights agenda, those actors are the most prominent monitoring instrument for state human rights conduct. Based on their wide and pervasive spread, those actors are the ones exposed to human rights violations and report or in some cases even act to stop or change them.

The human rights regime describes this elaborate system of states collaboration and civil and private inspection that is the principle source of steady and gradual improvement in human rights conditions of individuals around the world. The importance of the human rights regime is in creating legitimacy to discuss human rights and to have standardize expectations of what it means. It is the principal reason why it is legitimate for us to expect improvement of human rights across the globe regardless of regime, religion, and political and economic conditions.

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