This chapter considers the experiences of practitioners who work inside and around the international human rights legal system. Those insider views—many of them from lawyers who have one foot in academia and another in the practical efforts of nongovernmental organizations and international legal bodies—point to many similar findings. They see a system in which legal obligations and membership have expanded much faster than the capacity to yield practical improvements in human rights. According to many of these practitioners, the legal system has been extremely successful at declaring universal values, yet has fallen quite short in practical implementation. The chapter discusses some good news regarding the impact of international treaties and legal customs on constitutions, national law, and domestic politics, as well as some barriers to a more effective human rights legal system; for example, insider politics and underused or ineffective complaints mechanisms.
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