Report No. 275
i) State Responsibility
4.21 Human rights law aims at strengthening the obligations of States with regard to the behaviour of private persons and entities. This can be highlighted through the jurisprudence of the UN Human Rights Committee64 (UNHRC) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In a significant augmentation of the efficacy of human rights protections, States have been held responsible by the ECHR for a breach of a positive obligation by failing to protect one private individual against interference by others.65
4.22 The General Comment no. 31 on ICCPR published by the UNHRC emphasises this very State responsibility:
...However, the positive obligations on States Parties to ensure Covenant rights will only be fully discharged if individuals are protected by the State, not just against violations of Covenant rights by its agents, but also against acts committed by private persons or entities that would impair the enjoyment of Covenant rights in so far as they are amenable to application between private persons or entities...66
4.23 The expansion of the scope of positive obligations of States has equipped the monitoring bodies and the courts with the important powers to demand that certain actions be taken by States, that by extension restrict the freedom of action of private persons and entities where rights of other persons or important public interest, even fundamental values are concerned.67
4.24 This can be understood in the context of the need to hold sports federations accountable even while these bodies claim to be autonomous, for the simple, yet a very important, reason that substantial public interest is at stake.