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  United Nations Standards: The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), in its Article 2 (3a), imposes a duty on each Party to ensure an effective remedy to any person whose rights or freedoms are violated, whether or not by persons acting in an official capacity. Further, as far as the definition of Torture is involved, the Human Rights Committee in its General Comment No 20 on art 7 of the ICCPR stated that: “It is the duty of the State party to afford everyone protection through legislative and other measures as may be necessary against the acts prohibited by article 7, whether inflicted by people acting in their official capacity, outside their official capacity or in a private capacity.” The Human Rights Committee, in Hopu and Bessert v France , found that France was responsible of interfering with the right to family and privacy because of the construction of a hotel by a private business on an ancient burial ground of a local community from Tahiti. The Committee stated that: “The construction of [the] hotel complex … did interfere with the right to family and privacy. The State party has not shown that …[it] duly took into account the importance of the burial grounds for the authors, when it decided to lease the site for the building of [the] hotel complex .” The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination requires the State to bring to an end racial discrimination by any persons, group or organization ; The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW): Under Article 2 (e) States undertake “all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women by any person, organization or enterprise”. The CEDAW supervising Commission further stated that: “Discrimination under the Convention is not restricted to action by or on behalf of Governments … Under general international law and specific human rights Covenants, States may also be responsible for private acts if they fail to act with due diligence to prevent violations of rights or to investigate and punish acts of violence and for providing compensation. ( …)” Article 4(c) of the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women obliges states to “[E]xercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and in accordance with national legislation, punish acts of violence against women whether those acts are perpetrated by the State or by private persons”. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) requires states to ensure that children are protected from acts committed in the private sphere . Council of Europe Standards: Article 2, 3, 8 and 14 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms establish a positive obligation on the State (including through legislative means) . In X and Y v. The Netherlands , the European Court agreed that the European Convention entailed positive as well as negative obligations on the part of the State, meaning that it is required from international law to mandate that States provide remedies for violations of human rights by private individuals . Article 17 of the Convention also contains wording implying that breaches of the Convention can be conducted by private organs . Acts committed by non-state actors and persons acting in a private capacity can amount to torture. For instance, the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights on Article 3 of the ECHR has accepted that the obligation not to return a person extends to instances where the individual may be subjected to torture by non-state actors . In cases involving non-state actors in relation to violations of Article 8 the Court stated that in such cases ‘it need only be ascertained whether the national authorities took the necessary steps to ensure effective protection of the applicants’ right to respect for their and family as guaranteed by Article 8’ Further, the obligation of the state to take action to protect against private acts of discrimination which affect the enjoyment of Convention rights could embrace matters like membership of private associations or the right to be freed from privately imposed discriminatory fetters, like restrictive covenants on property rights. Other regional Standards: In Yanomami v Brazil , the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found Brazil in breach of the right to life and the right to health because of the failure to prevent settlement by those who moved en mass to occupy certain areas in the Brazilian Amazon, which were occupied by various indigenous groups including the Yanomami and which resulted in the introduction of new diseases to the indigenous groups, causing them serious harm, including death. Humanitarian law: As far as International Humanitarian Law is involved, it is worth mentioning that common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions, imposes on insurgent groups the obligation to protect prisoners and to respect prohibitions relating to attacks on civilians, hostage-taking, terrorist attacks, or the use of starvation as a mode of combat. Further, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16 November 2000 also places an obligation on armed groups, including rebel forces, to prevent children from participating in armed conflict. It also prohibits the recruitment of children into armed groups. Human Rights Protection in Domestic Law: It is primarily the responsibility of the State to secure the enjoyment of human rights for all persons within their jurisdiction . The principle that a person who has suffered a human rights violation must first exhaust his or her domestic remedies can be found in most international human rights treaties. International mechanisms or missions are not substitutes for domestic implementation of human rights, but should be seen as tools to assist the domestic authorities to develop a sufficient protection of human rights in their territories. If a victim of a human rights violation wants to bring an individual case before an international body, he or she must first have tried to obtain a remedy from the national authorities. It must be shown that the State was given an opportunity to remedy the case itself before resorting to an international body. This reflects the fact that States are not considered to have violated their human rights obligations if they provide genuine and effective remedies for the victims of actions of non state officials. The international bodies do recognise, however, that in many countries, remedies may be non-existent or illusory. They have therefore developed rules about the characteristics which remedies should have, the way in which the remedies have to be exhausted, and special circumstances where it might not be necessary to exhaust them.

i)                For further readings see: Clapham, A. (1993a) "The "Drittwirkung" of the Convention" in Macdonald, R. St. J et al. eds., The European System for the Protection of Human Rights (The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers); Clapham, A. (1995) "The Privatisation of Human Rights" in European Human Rights Law Review, 20; Rodley, N. (1993) "Can Armed Opposition Groups Violate Human Rights?" in Mahoney, K. E. and Mahoney P. eds., Human Rights in the Twenty-first Century (Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers); Clapham, A. (1993b) Human Rights in the Private Sphere (Oxford: Clarendon Press).ii)              See Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its forty-eighth session (6.5-26.7. 1996); A / 51 / 10, at 128.iii)             See United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Teheran (U.S. v. Iran), Judgment of May 24, 1980, I.C.J. Rep. (1980).iv)             Velasquez Rodriguez case, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Decisions and Judgments (ser.c) No. 4 (1988). See also Godinez Cruz case, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Decisions and Judgments (ser.c) No. 5 (1989). v)               U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/60/D/549/             Report of the Human Rights Committee Vol. 11, U.N. Doc. A/52/40, 70–83.vii)            Art. 2 of the International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 60 U.N.T.S.195 viii)           General Comment No. 19, Violence against women, 30 January 1992, U.N. Doc. A/47/38 para 9.ix)             i.e. it obligates states to protect children from child abuse, child labour and violence.x)               See: Costello-Roberts v UK, judgment of 25 March 1993, 19 EHRR 112: applies to private school; A v UK, judgment of 23 September 1998 27 EHRR 611: effective protection of the law; Z and Others v UK, judgment of 10 May 2001, 34 EHRR 97 (See also E v UK, judgment of 26 November 2002: failure to protect children from a known risk of sexual abuse); X & Y v Netherlands [1985] 8 EHRR 235; Osman v UK [1998] 29 EHRR.xi)             X and Y v. The Netherlands, 91 European Court of Human Rights (ser. A) at 8 (1985),xii)            See also D. v UK, ECtHR, Judgment 2 May 1997.xiii)           Article 17 states: « Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the Convention.xiv)           See: Application no. 250 / 57, Kommunistishe Partei Deutschland v. Federal Republic of Germany,Yearbook 1 (1955-57), p.223. xv)            See: HLR v France ((1997) III Eur Ct HR 745; (1998) 26 EHRR 29) where the European Court held that: “Owing to the absolute character of the right guaranteed, the Court does not rule out the possibility that Article 3 of the Convention may also apply where the danger emanates from persons or groups of persons who are not public officials. However, it must be shown that the risk is real and that the authorities of the receiving State are not able to obviate the risk by providing appropriate protection.”xvi)           Guerra & Another v Italy, Judgment of 19 February 1998, European Court of Human Rights, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1998–1 No. 64 and López Ostra v Spain, Judgment of 9 December 1994, Publications of the European Court of Human Rights Series A No. 303–C.xvii)          Resolution No. 12/85 Case 7615 reported in Annual Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights 1985.xviii)         For instance, Article 1 of the ECHR states as follows: “The High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section I of this Convention”.

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