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This chapter outlines the sources of international human rights law that are listed in Article 38(1) Statute of the International Court of Justice: treaties, custom, general principles of law, and, as subsidiary sources, judicial decisions and the writings of jurists. The chapter also considers how so-called 'soft law' instruments such as resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the work of human rights expert bodies may also be regarded as sources of human rights law.


This material was originally published in International Human Rights Law edited by Daniel Moeckli, Sangeeta Shah, and Sandesh Sivakumaran and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. For permission to reuse this material, please visit