The Framework of State’s Human Rights Obligations: Comparative Analysis of International and European Approaches

One of the most signifi cant and, at the same time, less-developed in Ukrainian legal science trend of modern comparative law is the comparative human rights law. It encompasses a number of important objects of comparison (comparators). Among them are the different approaches to the human rights obligations of a state. For a long time such obligations were differently perceived within the universal and regional (European, inter-American, African) human rights defense systems. The UN human rights treaties monitoring bodies which serve as the most authoritative source of interpretation of human rights provisions consider that a state have a duty to respect, protect and fulfi l (implement) human rights. The «obligation to respect» requires the state’s organs and agents not to commit violations themselves; the «obligation to protect» requires the state to protect the owners of rights against interference by third parties and to punish the perpetrators; the «obligation to implement» calls for specifi c positive measures, including legislative, judicial, administrative or educative measures, to give full realisation and full effect to the right. So formal state obligations for each human right include three obligations of action: to respect, to protect and to fulfi ll (such obligations under relevant circumstances may be considered as obligations of result) and four obligations of process: non-discrimination, adequate progress, participation, effective remedy. Within the UN system the human rights institutions also refer to the concept of «due diligence obligations» which has been fi rstly expressed on the international level by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the landmark case of Velásquez Rodríguez v Honduras (1988). In general it states that a state party may be found responsible for interference by private persons or entities in the enjoyment of human rights if it has failed to exercise due diligence in protecting against such acts. European human rights protection system has for its part opted for a simpler, two-pronged approach, dividing states’ obligations into two categories: negative obligations and positive obligations. While the negative obligations regarding human rights involve not interfering with their enjoyment, the prime characteristic of positive obligations is that they in practice require national authorities to take the necessary measures to safeguard a right, more precisely, to adopt reasonable and suitable measures to protect the rights of the individual. The doctrine of positive
obligations has been developed due to the comprehensive jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. However for some time past universal and European approaches to the concept of human rights obligations of a state began to draw closer and became interrelated. Such tendency promotes better implementation of such obligations at domestic level. As the states shall guarantee human rights within their national legal order in accordance with their international obligations, although they have certain «margin of appreciation» in choosing the relevant means and ways of activities. The results of comparative analysis of the framework of state’s human rights obligations are not only of theoretical but foremost practical value, e. g. they should be considered in course of development of National strategy in the fi eld of human rights.