What future for the High Commissioner for Human Rights? Reimagining the High Commissioner’s role, prerogatives, responsibilities and mandate

by Marc Limon Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

As Suzanne Nossel argues in her excellent recent article in Foreign Policy magazine (‘ The job of UN human rights chief isn’t what you think ,’ 9 August), the general rejoicing among human rights advocates at the appointment of Michelle Bachelet as the next High Commissioner for Human Rights, should quickly give way to ‘a searching reassessment of the role of the High Commissioner and a commitment to steps that will …

The selection and appointment of the next High Commissioner for Human Rights: Right person, shame about the process

by Marc Limon Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

In March 2018, a coalition of some 60 NGOs, led by the Universal Rights Group, the UN Association of the UK, and Human Rights House Foundation, sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, encouraging him to enhance the selection procedure for the new High Commissioner for Human Rights. The sponsors of the letter argued that the process used …

Twenty-five years later, how much do national human rights institutions matter?

by Steven L. B. Jensen, Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights Beyond the Council, Blog, By invitation, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms

An expanding range of literature examines the effectiveness of national human rights institutions, and 25 years after the Paris Principles, a recent study draws out some of the common findings. This year – 2018 – marks the 25th anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s adoption in December 1993 of the Paris Principles. These principles defined the mandate for National Human …

Supreme Court of Spain: UN Treaty Body individual decisions are legally binding

by Dr. Koldo Casla Beyond the Council, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The Spanish Supreme Court has established that the views expressed by UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies in individual complaints are binding on the State. The Court ordered Spain to pay €600,000 in compensation to Ángela González for the responsibility of its authorities in relation to the death of her daughter. Her daughter was murdered by her father in an unsupervised …

Igniting the flame: How the anti-slavery campaign launched a human rights movement

by Laura Riches, Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog

In his final address to the Human Rights Council, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein highlighted a growing sense of weariness within the international human rights community; a growing fear that the UN’s human rights pillar is being marginalized. Given the global state of affairs, from rising nationalism, xenophobia, and racial and religious intolerance to clampdowns on civil …

URG officially opens New York office

by the URG team Blog, News, Press, URG News

On 1st July, Universal Rights Group New York (URG NYC) was formally incorporated, with the primary aims of strengthening URG’s engagement with States, UN officials and NGOs active at UN headquarters, and more effectively covering and analyzing developments in key New York-based UN bodies and organizations, including the General Assembly (especially the Third Committee), the Security Council, the High Level …

Pablo de Greiff joins URG Board of Trustees

by the URG team Blog, News, Press, URG News

The Universal Rights Group is pleased to announce that renowned human rights expert Pablo de Greiff (Colombia) has joined the organisation’s Board of Trustees upon the invitation of the Board. Pablo de Greiff has over 20 years experience in global policy development of country level initiatives to prevent and recover from mass atrocities and human rights violations. His work focuses …

US calls Human Rights Council the “UN’s greatest failure” but recommits to pushing for reforms

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group Blog, News

On July 18, the Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley gave the keynote address at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative American think tank, on the US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council. The full speech and subsequent panel discussion can be found  here . Ambassador Haley characterised the United States as a unique nation, with values of freedom and human dignity embedded in its very foundation. She …

Why the US left the UN Human Rights Council – and why it matters

by Dr. Rosa Freedman Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The US’s announcement that it is  leaving the UN Human Rights Council  should not surprise anyone, since the Trump administration has long made clear its disdain for many parts of the United Nations. But the damage that the decision is likely to cause could nonetheless topple an increasingly wobbly house of cards. When the Human Rights Council was created in 2006, the US (then under the …

Time for a ‘Universal Magnitsky Act’?

by Marc Limon and Mary Grace Carey, Universal Rights Group Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

In 2009, Russian tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison after investigating a $230 million tax fraud involving Russian officials. A subsequent investigation into his case by the Kremlin’s own human rights commission, ordered and endorsed (in July 2011) by the-then Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, found that in order to silence Magnitsky, corrupt officials had accused him of …