The Role of International Organizations in Advancing International Law

The Role of International Organizations in Advancing International Law


International laws can be described as the principles and rules that govern and regulate the conduct of nations and international organizations and how they relate to other states, multinational companies, and other minority groups. These laws are drafted and implemented in participation by the nations under the treaty. International organizations are formed by the willing nations through the signing of an internationally recognized agreement. The member nations in these international organizations can enjoy some privileges and immunities as governed in the document of an agreement signed.  The international organizations are mandated to make some decisions on behalf of the member states as constituted in their agreement (Abbott, Kenneth, & Snidal 5). These states are therefore expected to fully comply with these decisions. All the member states under an international agreement can access the international court of justice for interpretation of some contentious issues either internally or internationally. In any international law, there are some general principles that guides in the interpretation of any treaty signed in the international organizations.

The international organizations such as the United Nations, European Union, African Union and other internationally recognized unions play a key role in advanced by the international law among the member states. Other recognized civil societies as well as non-governmental organizations have a key role to play in ensuring that the international law reaches all the target nations (Schermers, Henry, & Blokker 15-18). The aims of these international laws are to ensure good governance among the member growth, conflict resolution in case of any misunderstanding involving the member states, justice and good services to the citizens in the member states.

The international organizations have several departments and agencies that specifically focus on addressing one issue. The major issues to be addressed are related to economic and business matters, health, members of the citizens of the member states, environmental protection and sustainability issues, human welfare issues and other issues included in the treaty document signed.

This paper will therefore analyze the role played by the international organization in ensuring the advancement of the international law.  This will involve research on how the international law can be used to address the conflicts arising from the treaty signed with some multi -lateral obligations, the united nation as an advisory body in dealing with complex and unusual tasks among the member nations, and also discuss the role played by the international organizations in advancing an international law that addresses the needs and the rights of the minority in the society and the indigenous people. However, the discussion will not be limited to the above-mentioned roles, but all other relevant involvement of the international organization towards advancement of the international law will be addressed.

Advancing the international law on Democracy

The international community and other non-governmental organizations have taken an initiative to ensure that the national government (Gregory 328) has enforced the international law on the right to democratic governance.  The formation of the United Nations was governed by the principle of sovereignty and equality in ideas from the diverse nations.  It has ensured that all the member nations are treated equally and their matters dealt with in a democratic way. The UN was involved in monitoring elections and referenda in the new independent nations after colonialism. This was to ensure the fairness and democracy in the process adopting new leadership and rule of law.

The UN Security Council has been using the Chapter viii powers vested in it in the treaty signed by the member states to deal with the problems of the humanitarian catastrophes arising from the civil related conflicts. In case of failure to address the problem, the Security Council could impose the solutions to the conflicting sides in order to ensure liberal democracy is upheld (Gregory 328).  Several agencies, organizations and commissions have been formed to coordinate the implementation and advancement of democracy and other human rights international laws. The ICCPR Human Rights Committee, the European and Anti- American Commissions on Human Rights, the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Organization of American States (AOS), the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OCSE) and finally the United Nations General Assembly (Rubenstein & Leonard 850) are among them.  Currently, international communities such as the United Nations and the nongovernmental organizations are investing a lot of money to ensure the electoral processes in the nations around the world are closely monitored and crafted. This monitoring advances the international law of justice, democracy and good governance.

The international communities have on several occasions intervened on coups that have occurred on some elected governments.  In 1994, the international community responded to the military coup in Haiti to restore the government of Jean Bertrand Aristide.  The same principle was applied in the restoration of the government of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in Sierra Leone during the 1998 coup.  The international community is therefore committed in protection of the democratic governments against the military coups (Fox, 329). The international communities have also played a key role in bringing the reconciliations in the developing nations after the cold war. The nations that have benefited from rebuilding include: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cambodia, Angola, Bosnia, and Sierra Leone. In response to this, the United Nations have established National Electoral Assistance Division to assist in solving the electoral related conflicts and malpractices in more than seventy African nations. These communities and non-governmental organizations are therefore determined to ensure that all elections are done in a more democratic and fair manner.

In ensuring the advancement of the international law related to democracy, the international community and the non-governmental organization has taken several steps.  They have enhanced the free and fair multi party elections as well as protection of the human rights in the member states.  This has been done by asserting choice, transparency and pluralism principles as the pillars of democracy. They have also embarked on prevention of the internal conflicts related to military coups. The United Nations Secretariat proposed proper ways of dealing with the conflicts to bring a long lasting piece instead of applying accommodation that brings about temporal resolution (Fox 330).

Democracy law has also been enforced through implementation of issues not related to democracy in a democratic way.  Protections of environment, dealing with corruption among the officials, and promotions of rights that protect the indigenous people have been a major concern of the international community. Implementations of the laws governing these issues have been done in a very participative way in the formulation and implementation of these strategies. The member states ensured transparency in decision making as well as continuous flow of information.

Advancing the Rights of indigenous people

The human rights have been extended by the creation of law that protects the rights of the indigenous people as well as the minority in any country. The international organizations such the united nations have ensured that this law is implemented fully both internationally or by national governments of the member states. The objective of this law is to ensure that every person enjoys equal human rights. Some of the international organizations and non-governmental organizations that have embraced the adoption of this law include the United Nations, International Labor Organization (ILO), UNESCO, World Bank, OSCE, OAS and the Council of Europe (Alfredsson 113).

Article 1 of the Universal Human Rights (UDHR) has clearly stipulated by the equal protection law, equal hearing in the courts as well as equal access to all public services. In addition to this, it has also protection against racial discrimination, any form of discrimination in employment and access to quality education. The articles 1 and 55 of the UN charter contain declarations by the member states against any form of discrimination.

Indigenous and minority protection law has been included in most of the human rights law documents. These laws have been put forward to protect religion, education and the language of these groups. This ensures there is no autonomy and monopoly from the majority groups. The no 169 of the ILO conventions protects the right to own and individually manage land by the minority population. The Civil and Political rights as well as the Human rights committees ensured the protection of the cultural activities and the living styles of the indigenous and minority groups in the society.

The international organizations have ensured that the law and policies that protects the indigenous and minority groups against any form of discrimination have been advanced and implemented (Anaya, 32). They have achieved this by formulating the rules and policies that protect these groups, setting up the guideline to be followed in the implementation of these groups as well the involving the human rights agencies to closely monitor their implementation.

Advancing the International health law

The international communities and non -governmental organizations have played a key role in ensuring the advancement and implementation of the international law that ensures global health for all citizens of the member states.  This was after realizing that the adequate global health could only be achieved by enacting the international laws and principles to be followed by the respective national governments. The United Nations international law’s main goal was to provide support, show guidance and coordinate the health laws in the respective state nations (368). The international body under the United Nations that has been mandated to lead to the member states, mostly the developing nations to build the health law capacity is the World Health Organization (WHO). This Organization has come up with the procedures, strategies, and rules that are to be followed by the member nations to ensure the promotion of the global health law. The implementation of the global health jurisprudence has encountered many obstacles because of the diversity among the member states. The WHO therefore being the world health watchdog has tried to ensure there is proper coordination relating the law and health.

The international health law came into being in 1891. The objectives of this law according to Fidler and David (1085) were to protect the member nations from infectious diseases originating from the some vulnerable regions, to coordinate and harmonize the public health measures undertaken by the national governments of the member nations. Such measures include imposing quarantine, which could have otherwise affected the trade among the affected nations, to establish the surveillance programs internationally for some diseases and finally the creation of the International Health Organizations such as WHO. The WHO was mandated to ensure all the people in the United Nations member states access the highest and the quality health services. The constitution of the international health organization compels the member states to sign an agreement to ensure provision of the health services that meets the standards set by these organizations.

In addition, the world health association formulated some harmonized guidelines to ensure there is no confusion in dealing with some major health issues. The regulation dealing with sanitation and quarantine has been harmonized to ensure no state takes monopoly in deciding when to impose quarantine and to whom. To ensure clarity in naming diseases, the nomenclature of diseases, death causes and other health practices have been harmonized. The procedures to be followed during the disease diagnosis have been set to be followed internationally. Purity and safety standards as well as other pharmaceutical and other health related products are met internationally. Finally, the standards have been set to ensure similarity in advertisement and labeling of health and other pharmaceutical products. The international organizations therefore ensure that the national governments to give the citizens of the member states highest quality of health care duly follow these standards.

According to health policy by WHO, the international United Nations are committed to ensure “health for all in the 21st century”. The world health organization plans to achieve this by coming out with the international guidelines that will be followed during the promotion and protection of health. They also ensure close monitoring and implementation of this policy among the member states. Finally, they ensure that the national governments of the member states adhere to the international health laws when providing health services. In addition to health matters, this policy also incorporates the awareness to the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the implementation of human rights, protection of environment and trade protection.

The international organization and other non-governmental organizations therefore have played a key role in advancement of international health law. The formulation of international health policies and standards to be followed, ensuring the national governments is adhering to these standards as well provision of quality health services. Formation of international health organization to ensure implementation and monitoring set health policies is a clear indication of the International Organization’s commitment to ensure advancement of the international health law.

Advancement of the nutritional rights

According to Kent (1), every citizen in the world has a right to adequate nutrition. However, individual national governments have failed to ensure that their citizens enjoy this right. The international community has therefore taken the responsibility to ensure every citizen in the member states enjoy this right. The right to adequate nutrition was included in the international laws, according to the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights formulated in1948. Apart from the right to adequate nutrition, the 1990, UNICEF and UN Centre for Human Rights brochure states the need for protection of the children’s need under the Children’s Rights Need International Protection act.  The international community ensures the implementation of these rights by generally stepping in to implement in case the national government fails. In addition, the international communities are obligated to impose laws on the respective states to respond to the requests. They can also assist through the contribution of relief food for vulnerable countries.

In the effort to ensure an advancement of this international law governing adequate nutrition to children and all people, the international communities have come up with several international organizations (IGOs). These IGOs focus mostly on right in the international law. Examples of these IGOs incorporated in the international community to advance the law include: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) under the United Nations, The World Food Program (WFP), World Food Council (WFC), and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), United Nationals Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization. The board that constitutes of the member states leads these IGOs.  To ensure the proper coordination and implementation of this right, the international communities have given a mandate to an Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) and Sub Committee on Nutrition (SCN). In addition to the above named committee, the coordination and implementation work has been vested in the donor agencies. Examples of these donor agencies according to Kent (362) include the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The global plan has been put in place in order to guide the implementation of this fundamental international law. FAO has developed a great interest by ensuring that the food producers maximize their potential to produce enough food that can feed her citizens and donate as a relief to the famine prone nations.  These IGOs also work conjunction with the national government or sometimes pressurizes them to solve multi nutritional related problems of their people. In case of the government’s inability to solve it, the IGOs are directly involved. Therefore, the international Organizations have played a key role in advancement of food and nutrition international law by directly involving in implementation, making legislations to compel the national governments to implement them.

Advancing the International Trade laws

The international organizations have taken a step to regulate trade involving different nations as well as solving the conflicts arising from the international trade. They have done this by setting up some international standards that govern the quality of the commodities to be sold in any market. In addition to these standards, the international organizations have set up the guidelines and procedures that are to be followed by the trade partners before commencement of any trading activities involving the two partners. The trading partners are required by the international organizations, law to sign some treaty that will bind and protect them against monopoly and manipulation (Raustiala, Kal, & Slaughter 543).

The member states of the international organizations have come up of some organizations that monitors and implements the policies that govern trade. General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and World Trade Organization (WTO) are the major international bodies mandated to oversee the trading activities in an international trade. In addition to these international bodies, the regional bodies that ensure the trading activities follow the set standards and guidelines govern the regional trade. The liberal trade law was formulated to ensure the government does not interfere with the free flow of trade across the national boundaries (Trebilcock, Michael, Howse, & Eliason 1089).

The international economic law protects against discrimination among nations. The international trade laws have regulated the imposing of the unwarranted tariffs and taxes, trading commodities.

The international organizations and the non-governmental organizations have ensured the advancement of the international trade laws. The creation of the international trade organizations to monitor and regulate the trading activities involving national government, setting the guidelines that govern this trade as well as ensuring the treaties signed by the trading partners are followed. Finally, they have set standards that any commodity involved in multinational trade must meet.


According to the study above, the international organization has played a key role in advancing the international laws. The most notable laws advanced are the human rights protection law, global health law, protection of indigenous and minorities’ group law, international trade law, democracy law and the international nutrition law. They have achieved by setting up the international bodies that ensure this law are followed and set standards that are internationally recognized and applicable.















Works cited


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George Kent. The Roles of international organizations in advancing nutrition rights. Food Policy (1994): 19(4) 357-366. print

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