The Glion Human Rights Dialogue 2017 (‘Glion IV’)
The Glion Human Rights Dialogue is a retreat-style event bringing together around seventy senior policy-makers and other stakeholders in an informal, non-attributable setting designed to promote open, forward-looking and solutions-focused debate. In 2017, the Dialogue took place from Thursday 18th May to Friday 19th May 2017, in Glion, Switzerland.
The Human Rights Council’s mandate to respond to human rights violations, including gross and systematic violations – as set down in operative paragraph 3 of GA resolution 60/251 – is well known. Less well known, but equally important, is the Council’s mandate to work to prevent such violations from happening in the first place. According to (the often forgotten or ignored) paragraph 5f of GA resolution 60/251, the Council shall ‘contribute, through dialogue and cooperation, towards the prevention of human rights violations and respond promptly to human rights emergencies.’
However, despite this clear and explicit mandate and eleven years after the Council’s establishment, member States are yet to put in place an explicit and coherent policy framework (e.g. a strategy, relevant processes, tailored mechanisms) to fulfil this prevention mandate. Indeed, a review of the Council’s responses to situations brought to its attention since 2006, shows that the body’s approach has nearly always been premised on reacting to, monitoring and reporting on violations or, in some cases, offering capacity-building support to the State concerned, rather than seeking to proactively prevent.
The fourth Glion Dialogue (Glion IV) sought to begin a concerted and inclusive effort to address this important element of the Council’s mandate and contribute to an improvement on its delivery. In particular, Glion IV sought to move the international community towards a common understanding of the concept and parameters of ‘prevention,’ and a common vision as to how the Council, in coordination with other relevant parts of the UN system, might turn that concept into a workable, practical policy framework.
The Glion Human Rights Dialogues, hosted by the Governments of Norway and Switzerland, aimed to provide a platform for representatives of States, OHCHR, the wider UN, and other key parts of the human rights system such as Special Procedure mandate-holders, members of Treaty Bodies, NHRIs, NGOs, and human rights defenders, to offer their assessment of the key challenges they face and their vision of how to best overcome them to strengthen the Council and the wider UN human rights system. As always, the outcome of the retreat, and the three policy dialogues held in preparation for the meeting, will be summarised in an informal document presenting some of the key messages, ideas and recommendations, which will seek to encourage and contribute to wider consideration of the issues.
To prepare for Glion IV, the URG organised three policy dialogues:
- What does the prevention mandate of the Human Rights Council, as set down in paragraph 5f, mean in practice? What does it mean from the perspective of people on the ground (e.g. building the capacity of domestic ‘early warners’) and what does it mean for the member and observer States of the Human Rights Council?, hosted by the Permanent Mission of Thailand, Wednesday 17th February.
- How should the Human Rights Council coordinate and cooperate with other relevant parts of the UN in order to strengthen prevention?, hosted by the Permanent Mission of Morocco, Thursday 27th April.
- What are the precise means (i.e. common approach, strategy, mechanisms, tools) through which the Council might effectively fulfil its prevention mandate?, hosted by the Permanent Mission of Mexico, Tuesday 2nd May.