A notable number of decisions of the highest courts in Asia-Pacific countries discuss human rights in relation to local situations. These judicial applications of the international human rights standards provide an important guide for governments in fulfilling human rights state obligation. Aside from resolving issues, these decisions clarify legal provisions, restrict government actions, provide guidelines on how to protect particular rights, and even direct governments to undertake particular tasks that support human rights. They also declare laws as violative of the state obligation under ratified international human rights instruments or of the human rights principles that are considered part of jus cogens or customary norms. Other laws can also be declared indirectly violative of human rights by declaring their violation of constitutional rights that are more or less similar to those of the international human rights standards.

The power of the court to require government subscription to international human rights standards is a pillar in the national mechanisms that protect, promote and realize human rights.

However, there are differing principles in the application of international human rights instruments to domestic issues. Some countries strict require enabling legislations before such international instruments could take effect in the domestic realm. Thus, court decisions may declare some international human rights instruments inapplicable to domestic cases due to lack of enabling laws. Other countries, on the other hand, have constitutional provision that gives ratified international instruments the effect of domestic legislations.

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