Human Rights Law vs State Sovereignty

Sovereignty is literally being in power over a certain specific area, a group of people or just among oneself. It gives the sovereign body the right to put into effect their political power and influence. This power includes the legislative, judicial and executive capabilities. State Sovereignty is being in power, being able to exercise the political power you have over a certain state. It involves creating laws, implementing these laws, and imposing justice when there is a breach in these laws.

But this power is only concentrated on the sovereign body of that state, making him the sole bearer of that sovereign power (Matteo, January 2003). The International Human Rights Law This is the universal declaration of human rights, governing all the existing laws, rights and limitations in all the nations involved. This declaration would give rise to general principals, the standards of human rights, concerning all the nations in the world (1998). The Challenge The declaration of the human rights law is a clear statement of challenging previous law being implemented on a certain state.

This is a challenge to the existing state sovereignty, wherein the power that is concentrated on a certain sovereign body may be overruled by an individual’s human rights. Thus, this declaration limits the power of the state, their governance, over the people. Before, they are the ones creating and implementing rules. Now, these rules may or may not be followed. Clearly, the administration of the laws by the state itself is affected by the international human rights, because these rights are made to be affecting all the nations of the world as a whole.

It is like a generalization, wherein your direct target is the whole nation itself. States have laws which differ from other places or other states. Sovereignty is giving them the power to create such laws. But because of the International Human Rights Law, this power is removed. They are not the ones creating these laws. All they can do is oversee and promote the implementation of these laws in their states (George, July 1999). According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, these laws are set as a general criterion of achievement that encompasses all the peoples and nations around the world.

This also means that every person and every part of the society is expected to always remember this Declaration, and spread their learning about these laws to other people. Teaching and educating them means that you respect this set of rules and regulations, and you wish them to also recognize these rules. Thus, you are promoting security within other people by effectively recognizing these rules, knowing their limitations and boundaries (June 1996). Traditional Positivism and the International Human Rights Law

Positivism is the belief that scientific knowledge precedes authentic knowledge. Everything revolves around science, because it is a natural process. Traditional positivism also revolves around science. It is mainly concentrating on the laws which are relatively natural, wherein it is often associated with a scientific ideology. Identifying the validity of laws will depend on its nature (Wennberg, January 2003). The International Human Rights Law changed all that. A law is a complex structured thought that also involves the society, international order, economics, and many other factors.

It can’t continue to remain with the mentality of being natural, of that of the traditional positivists (Hughes, 2003). Everyone is free and open to a social and international order. This is set forth by the human rights and fundamental freedoms in the universal declaration. Along with those rights and freedom, is their responsibility to their community. This is a return agreement that goes with the laws. Everyone should be responsible citizens of the world, wherein they are subjected to limitations to these rights (January 1997). This is with respect to the recognition of the other’s rights, as well as yours.

You are indeed free to do anything you desire, provided that you are not stepping or going beyond the other’s rights. It is a matter of respect between individuals, as it was explained in the Declaration. These limitations are determined by law, in order to gain respect for other’s rights and freedom, wherein they meet the requirements regarding morality, public order and general welfare of the society we are living in. We are the ones responsible in seeing this. To sum it up, the rights of a person ends where the rights of other people begins.


(1998) Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations. (January 1997) Human Rights Emergencies. (June 1996) Fact Sheet No. 2 (Rev. 1), The International Bill of Human Rights. Geneva, Switzerland, The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. GEORGE, S. (July 1999) State sovereignity under threat: Globalising designs of the WTO. Le Monde Diplomatique. HUGHES, G. (2003) Concept of Law. Gale Group MATTEO (January 2003) the future of state sovereignity and statehood. WENNBERG, M. (January 2003) Abstracts from Volume XVI, No. 1. Canadian Journal of Law & Jurisprudence.