UCL Faculty of Laws


Urgent human rights situations and interim measures of protection

20 November 2015, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

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Event Information

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Professor Joanna Harrington (University of Alberta)


UCL Chadwick B05 Lecture Theatre, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Speaker: Professor Joanna Harrington (University of Alberta)
Admission: Free

About the talk

All international human rights bodies that receive and consider complaints include provisions within their rules to provide for the issuance of requests for what are called “interim”, “provisional” or “precautionary” measures to offer protection in urgent cases of real risk.

In essence, these are requests for a temporary stay of proceedings at the national level while the international proceedings are pending.

Compliance, however, is a problem, with the international human rights bodies having become more assertive since the mid-2000s that their requests for interim measures of protection have legal effect, while a number of democratic States have become more assertive in their refusals to comply.

There is also a sense that some interim measures requests may be issued too readily by at least some international human rights bodies, leading to greater State disregard, which in turn jeopardizes the very purpose of a protection measure for urgent cases where rights are at risk.

Borrowing from reforms undertaken within the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights since 2013, this talk will examine whether greater transparency and improved procedural rigour from the international bodies themselves could instil greater State confidence in both the legality and legitimacy of interim protection requests.