Identifying and assessing the implementation of human rights decisions

Debra K Long, Alice Donald, Anne-Katrin Speck

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Assessing the extent to which states have implemented the decisions of supranational human rights bodies is a challenging task. It requires supranational bodies-be they judicial, quasi-judicial or political-to create an evidence-based public record of the status quo of implementation at any point in time and determine whether the measures taken do, in fact, satisfy the requirements of the decision. This, in turn, relies upon states engaging in good faith, victims having a voice, and civil society organizations seizing the opportunity to influence the follow-up process. Using empirical data from interviews in selected states in the African, Inter-American and European regions, and within regional and United Nations bodies, this article argues that in no human rights 'system' are all these expectations met, in part because follow-up work is inadequately resourced. It argues that supranational bodies should proactively seek out diverse sources of information and adopt more transparent and responsive working methods so as to enable 'real time' participation by all interested parties. The article concludes with recommendations for supranational bodies, and state and non-state actors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-148
JournalJournal of Human Rights Practice
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Implementation
  • Human rights
  • Judgment


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