At a global level, the international human rights law is the body entrusted in keeping and promoting these statutes internationally, regionally and even nationally. The United Nations (UN) through the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council is the only universally recognized entity that exerts jurisdiction on human rights issues. Countries adhere to international law by consenting to at least partially acquiescent to international law or jurisdiction according to the 1920 Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice. This and subsequent statutes comprise the various international treaties, declarations, and guidelines that constitute the international human rights instruments. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948 form the basis of most of these human rights instruments, which have generated various international and regional instruments that guide the international laws on human rights (UNHCHR, 2009) [see Table 1].
Although there is no principal body entrusted with enforcing international human rights, several judicial entities exist including the International Criminal Court (ICC), which presides over war crimes and genocide, the European Court of Human Rights, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that normally work under the guidance of the UN Human Rights Council (OHCHR, 2009). At the state level, 110 countries have set up National Human Rights Commissions to monitor and promote human rights.
In many developed western countries particularly the United States, the notion of human rights has developed over time but can be traced to the influence of British political theorist John Locke who ascribed to the view of natural rights of an individual. The US Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights have thus emphasised the importance of individual and collective rights. .