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.’ …

"Human rights are part and parcel of every SDG"

by Michael Møller, UN Under-Secretary General, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

It was there from the beginning. In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s a foundational text for the United Nations. A document that has been translated into more than 500 languages and displayed on countless classroom walls worldwide. Its drafters had the revolutionary – at the time – idea to expand the …

"There exists a harmony that is almost musical between the concepts of development and human rights"

by H.E. Ambassador Maza Martelli, 11th President of the Human Rights Council Beyond the Council, Blog, By invitation, Uncategorized

The convergence between human rights and the 2030 Agenda is a topic of great importance for the entire United Nations system as well as for each individual State, and especially for developing countries. I very much welcome the opportunity that I have been given this morning to express to you my vision not only as President of the Human Rights …

The United Nations should create freedom from corruption as a human right

by Matthew H. Murray* Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Matthew Murray is an international lawyer who was a senior advisor in the Obama Administration on anti-corruption issues from 2012-2017.  He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe, the Middle East and Africa for the U.S. Department of Commerce from 2012-2015 and Senior Advisor on Governance and Rule of Law for the US Agency for International Development from 2016-2017.  The …

Modernising the United Nations human rights system

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

In its weekend edition of 15-16 February 2014, the Financial Times serialised extracts from a recent book: ‘In 100 years: Leading Economists Predict the Future,’ edited by Ignacio Palacios-Huerta and published by MIT Press. In one of the extracts, Nobel Laureate for economics, Robert Shiller, Professor of Economics at Yale University, wrote that the next century carries with important risks …

Time to scrap the world’s remaining blasphemy laws

by Joelle Fiss Blog, By invitation, In Focus: Human rights and religion

Last May, Ireland woke up to the strange news that the Irish police were investigating remarks made by actor Stephen Fry, which, it was alleged, might be considered blasphemous. In a 2015 television interview, Fry had accused God of being a selfish maniac, and asked: ‘why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world which is …

Report on the 35th 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 35th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC35) was held from Tuesday 6th June to Friday 23rd June 2017. On 6th June, 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 dignitaries delivered statements during the session, including inter alia, H.E. Mr Tabaré Vazquez, …

Building on past success and dealing with the challenges: ideas for strengthening technical cooperation at the Human Rights Council

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

The central importance of the Council’s mandate, as set down in GA resolution 60/251, to provide ‘advisory services, technical assistance and capacity-building … in consultation with and with the consent of Member States concerned,’ is, I believe, self-evident. For many developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the task of engaging, in a meaningful …

Climate Vulnerable Forum delegation meeting and thematic debate spotlights impact of climate change on human rights

by Olivia Bebe Press, URG News

14 June 2017  On the margins of the 35th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, a delegation meeting of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) focused on the growing recognition of the impact of climate change on the enjoyment of a wide spectrum of human rights.    The thematic debate, included Ambassadors and other senior officials of the CVF members, and was chaired by H.E. …