Reforming the UN Human Rights Council: a call for new leadership

by Peter Splinter, Executive-in-Residence with the Global Fellowship Initiative of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The UN Human Rights Council falls seriously short in its mandate to ensure effective enjoyment by all of all human rights. It needs real reform—not another reform process. With the close of the UN Human Rights Council’s 36th session—the third consecutive session without  substantive engagement by the US—an air of unease continues to hang over the body. The US threat to withdraw from …

Are States racing to the top in the third cycle of UPR? A view from the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission

by Lorna McGregor Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

9th October, London  The third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) began in April of this year and will continue until 2021. At the end of the second cycle, the then President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Choi Kyong-lim, delivered a video message calling on member States to ‘ensure that the third cycle is one of follow-up and implementation’. Earlier this …

Report on the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council

by the URG team Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, URG Human Rights Council Reports

Quick summary  The 36th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC36) was held from Monday 11th September to Friday 29th September 2017. On 11th September, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, H.E. Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al- Hussein, presented an oral update on the global human rights situation. A number of high level dignitaries delivered statements during the session, including inter alia, H.E. Mr …

What are the world’s human rights priorities in 2017 and what to look out for in 2018?

by the URG team Beyond the Council, Blog

Human rights analysis of high level speeches at the General Debate at the UN General Assembly  What are the human rights situations and issues that keep world leaders up at night in 2017? What are the human rights priorities of governments for the next twelve months? The best place to get a sense of both is the general debate of …

Promoting universality of human rights in Geneva: Participation of LDCs/SIDS in the work of the Human Rights Council

by Fatou Camara Houel Blog, By invitation

The commemoration of the fifteenth anniversary of Switzerland’s membership of the United Nations presents an excellent opportunity to recognise the strategic importance of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG). Importantly, the Human Rights Council (HRC), the principal UN intergovernmental body mandated to promote and protect human rights globally, and the OHCHR tasked with its support, are both based at …

The missing human rights chapter in Secretary-General Guterres' strategic priorities

by Dr Bertrand G. Ramcharan Beyond the Council, Blog, By invitation

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has set about the modernisation of some sectors of the United Nations and has been fulsome in his recognition of the interrelatedness of the three sectors of the UN: peace and security, development, and human rights. He has made impassioned statements about the need to protect human rights. But, beyond rhetoric, there has so far been no …

The case of Argentina: the experience of the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances

by Estela B. de Carlotto Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

16 February 2017 In 2015, on the occasion of its 35th anniversary, the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances traveled to our country to hold periodic meetings. It held meetings with human rights organisations and various State bodies working on the ground to prevent and guarantee justice in each case of enforced disappearances. The expert group concluded that Argentina is …

Indigenous peoples and the environment: challenges and opportunities for the UN human rights system

by Mariana Montoya Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 1 August 2017, the Embassy of Turkey in Colombia, the Fundación el Nogal, and the Universal Rights Group, with the support of Club El Nogal, organised an event to raise awareness of the situation of the rights of indigenous peoples (IPs) in Colombia. This event saw the participation of high-level representatives of the Colombian Government, leaders of indigenous communities, …

Bringing the UN Treaty Body system closer to the people

by Christof Heyns, Professor of Human Rights Law, Univeristy of Pretoria and Member of the UN Human Rights Committee and Willem Gravett, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The ongoing process of strengthening the UN Treaty Body system provides a welcome opportunity to reflect on some of our hidden assumptions. The Treaty Bodies have over time gravitated towards Geneva, and it now appears to be the assumption that this is simply the way things should be done. Notwithstanding, we want to argue that reform of the human rights Treaty …

Human rights as 'part of the cure'

by Peter Sørensen, Ambassador, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the UN, Geneva Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

When UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, addressed the Human Rights Council for the first time earlier this year, he did not mince his words: ‘Disregard for human rights is a disease, and it’s a disease that is spreading.’ He appealed to the Council to be ‘part of the cure,’ especially through being ‘pivotal for prevention – sounding early warnings of crises.’ …