Traditionally international law and international human rights law is created through ‘hard law’ documents such as treaties. However, there has been an increasing recognition of the role of non-binding ‘soft-law’ documents in the development of international human rights law. These include resolutions adopted by international bodies such as the UN General Assembly and declarations and resolutions of regional bodies. Despite this recognition, however, few have looked in detail at practical examples of how soft-law is used. This four year project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) takes one example of a soft-law document, the Robben Island Guidelines on the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (RIG), adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) in 2002, and examines their use in the international, regional and national systems.
The project team will carry out this research through undertaking visits to a number of African states, interviewing relevant stakeholders and holding seminars.