Crunch time for Human Rights Council efficiency reforms

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

After four years of discussions in and around the Human Rights Council about improving the body’s efficiency, discussions that have culminated, over the past ten months, in intensive Bureau-led negotiations to secure agreement on a meaningful (though still rather modest) set of reform measures; States are now entering the final stretch, with the contours of a deal clearly discernible in …

The death of Jamal Khashoggi and the growing prominence of global ‘Magnitsky' laws as a means of securing accountability

by Ben Greenacre, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

What do the Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have in common? Both victims of shocking human rights violations, including torture and, ultimately, extrajudicial killing, their cases have helped to catalyse an important new trend in how the international community addresses serious infractions of international human rights law. In particular, both killings are closely associated …

Special Rapporteur calls on the UN to recognize the universal right to a healthy environment

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Universal Rights Group NYC

Last week, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, David R. Boyd, made a historic push at the UN General Assembly for the human right to a healthy environment to be recognised at the global level. During his landmark address at the GA’s Third Committee, Boyd argued, firstly, that official UN recognition of the human right to a healthy environment would bolster and enhance work already underway …

Time for High Commissioner to publish annual ‘Global state of human rights’ report?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Much has been written over recent months, including in Foreign Policy  magazine, OpenGlobalRights and URG Insights , about the multifaceted mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the acute challenges involved in asking one person to fulfil all parts of that mandate, some of which appear to exist in mutual-tension. In particular, these articles argued that the expectation that the High Commissioner …

Latin American civil society gives mixed reception to new UN resolution on the human rights situation in Venezuela

by Mariana Montoya Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Last week (September 27) the Human Rights Council (the ‘Council’) adopted a number of resolutions that are relevant for Latin America [1] . However, one particular decision has taken the attention of human rights activists, professionals, and the media in the region. In a month that Latin America has seen a wave of news concerning the situation in Venezuela and its impact on the Bolivarian Republic’s …

High Commissioner speaks on human rights, resilience and prevention

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Newly appointed High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, gave a statement at a High-Level Event during the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, marking the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “A Prevention Tool to Achieve Peace and Sustainable Development.” She said: “Human rights are the interlocking elements that build resilient and confident societies – societies …

Report on the 39th 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 39th regular session of the Human Rights Council ( HRC39 ) was held from Monday 10th September to Friday 28th September 2018. On 10th September, H.E. Ms Michelle Bachelet, presented her first oral update on the global human rights situation as the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. A number of dignitaries delivered statements during the session, including inter alia, H.E. Mr. Jorge Arreaza, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the …

Human Rights Council Elections: clean slates continue to undermine the Council

by Peter Splinter, Human Rights Consultant and Former Representative of Amnesty International to the United Nations in Geneva Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

On 12 October 2018, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will hold elections for 18 seats on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) for a three-year term starting on 1 January 2019.  All five UN regional groups have clean slates – in which the number of candidates is equal to the number of vacant seats. [1]   These clean slates turn the election into …

How UN Treaty Bodies can better address corruption and its negative impact on human rights

by Patrick Mutzenberg, Director of the Centre for Civil and Political Rights. Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

It is now widely recognised that corruption negatively affects the enjoyment of civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Corruption not only has a negative impact on the ability of States to implement their treaty-based human rights obligations, but it also directly affects the population of such countries. This concern was raised several times by …

Human Rights Treaty Bodies in the field: The Inter-American Regional System and sessions away from headquarters

by Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, former Assistant Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Following the post from Christof Heyns and Abiola Idowu-Ojo of July 10, 2018 on this site, the present post reviews the inter-American experience with holding sessions away from headquarters, and considers the many advantages, as well as some challenges. Both the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Commission or IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Court) carry out periods …