Preventive Human Rights Strategies: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Preventive Human Rights Strategies

1st Edition

By Bertrand G. Ramcharan


152 pages

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The prevention of violations of human rights must become the dominant protection strategy of the twenty-first century, nationally, regionally, and globally. This book clearly identifies the need for preventive human rights strategies, maps what exists by way of such strategies at the present time, and offers policy options to deal with the world of the future.

Written by a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the book suggests the future lies in strong national protection systems backed up by regional and international organs and an international criminal justice system. The book explores the future of preventive human rights through a wide range of contemporary issues, including:

  • climate change
  • pandemics
  • mass migration
  • global poverty and pervasive inequality
  • inter-state conflicts
  • terrorism, including WMD terrorism
  • gross violations of human rights
  • the financial and economic crisis


We are already in a quite different world in the 21st century, and human rights thinking will need to evolve to meet its needs. This important and contemporary volume calls for the modification of current preventive human rights strategies, and is essential reading for all those concerned with the future of international relations and human rights.


'A stunningly original book. The first book ever on preventive human rights strategies. If followed world-wide it can shield millions people from arbitrary execution, torture, and ill-treatment.' - Ambassador Tefera Shiawl, Previously Chief of the Early-Warning Unit, OCHA and Chief Executive Officer, Horn of Africa Stand-by Peacekeeping Operation

'This book is a major break-through in the human rights literature. The human rights call to action until now has been for promotion and protection. Henceforth it will be for promotion , prevention and protection. The chapter on national protection systems should be implemented by every country. It is of the greatest importance.' - Professor Evance Kalula, Director, Centre for Law and Development, University of Cape Town.

'This book brings together in a superb and original way the preventive human rights strategies in existence today. The chapter on strategies for the prevention of torture should be compulsory reading for everyone interested in eliminating this criminal practice from the world.' - Theodoor van Boven,Professor of International Law Emeritus. University of Maastricht. Previously UN Special Rapporteur against Torture; Previously UN Human Rights Director

Table of Contents

1. Threats, Challenges and the Responsibility to Prevent 2. Obligations to Prevent Under International Human Rights Treaties 3. The Preventive Role of National Human Rights Institutions 4. Regional Preventive Strategies 5. Global Preventive Strategies 6. Preventive Human Rights Diplomacy 7. The Preventive Roles of Peacekeepers, Observers, and Human Rights Monitors 8. Preventive Strategies of NGOs 9. The Preventive Role of International Criminal Tribunals and the International Criminal Court 10. Conclusion

About the Author

Bertrand G. Ramcharan is a Barrister-at-Law of Lincoln’s Inn and Senior Fellow at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, CUNY, USA. His publications include Contemporary Human Rights Ideas (2008)

About the Series

Global Institutions

The "Global Institutions Series" is edited by Thomas G. Weiss (The CUNY Graduate Center, New York, USA) and Rorden Wilkinson (University of Sussex, UK).

The Series has two "streams" identified by their covers:

  • Blue covers offer comprehensive, accessible, and informative guides to the history, structure, and activities of key international organizations, and introductions to topics of key importance in contemporary global governance. Recognized experts use a similar structure to address the general purpose and rationale for specific organizations along with historical developments, membership, structure, decision-making procedures, key functions, and an annotated bibliography and guide to electronic sources.
  • Red covers consist of research monographs and edited collections that advance knowledge about one aspect of global governance; they reflect a wide variety of intellectual orientations, theoretical persuasions, and methodological approaches.

Together these streams provide a coherent and complementary portrait of the problems, prospects, and possibilities confronting global institutions today.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General