The adoption of the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic and Social Rights in 1966 heralded a new international order grounded in human dignity and freedom. They have contributed to the emergence of a common universal language of human rights and offered a protection shield to millions of people worldwide. However, ideals of the UN Charter, of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the Covenants are widely flouted. In calling for a modernized approach to human rights protection, this chapter calls for moving beyond a formal, diplomatic ritualism. The concrete application of the Covenants requires that states adhere to their reporting obligations under the treaties, that the treaty body mechanisms pay more attention in the future to urgent, preventive measures to the poorest and most vulnerable sections of population and that national human rights mechanisms be created in each state with the capacity to effectively promote and protect human rights. In doing so, greater attention must be placed on economic, social, and cultural rights.
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