International treaties also impose
minimum standards in relation to human rights. For example, in the
Council of Europe there are conventions or directives on the prevention
of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and on data protection.
In the United Nations (UN) there are others on the rights of the
child, discrimination, torture and refugees. These treaties do not
usually allow the right of individual complaint but impose a duty
on a government to report on its human rights record. In some cases
they can involve spot checks.
The International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights is another important UN treaty which is binding
on the UK. It is modelled on the ECHR but is more wide-ranging.
The UK government has to report on its record under this treaty
every five years and the United Nations Human Rights Committee most
recently examined the UK's record in 2000. Unfortunately the government
has refused to allow the right of individual petition, to allow
complaints about breaches of the Covenant to be made directly to