UN accountability for violations of human rights
This thesis examines compliance with international human rights law in United Nations (UN) operations. It focuses on the provision of emergency humanitarian assistance, and on the assumption of administrative powers by the UN both de Jure (international administrations of territory) and de facto (refugee camps). It is argued that in these operations the UN has the functional capacity to have a direct impact on individuals and on the enjoyment of their fundamental rights. In part using case studies (the provision of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, the UN administrations in Kosovo and East Timor, and refugee camps in Kenya), it is shown that acts in violation of human rights have indeed been committed in the course of these operations. Although the UN is not itself a party to human rights treaties, various arguments are made to justify the applicability of international human rights law to the UN, and to its specialised programmes and agencies. Mechanisms - political, administrative, judicial and semi-judicial - for ensuring the accountability of the UN for violations of human rights are examined. However, existing mechanisms are largely inadequate. They neither offer remedies to the victims of the violations, nor impose sanctions on the perpetrators; their ability to modify future institutional conduct is also limited.