Is the US flirting with the Human Rights Council?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group and Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group Blog

Friday 9th November 2018, New York and Geneva Events over the past week hold out the tantalizing possibility that the US, which walked away from the Human Rights Council in June, is now, if not yet fully regretting its decision, at least flirting with the Council and its mechanisms and, more importantly, flirting with the idea of getting back together. …

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 …

'The human rights system is not a Cassandra:' The High Commissioner addresses the Third Committee

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

On 15 October, the newly appointed High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, addressed the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, and then answered questions, concerns, and complaints from member States. The High Commissioner underlined the importance of human rights for the achievement of sustainable development and peace, and in that regard drew States’ attention to the critical …

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

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, 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 …

Report on the 39th session of the Human Rights Council

by the URG team Blog, 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, 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, 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 Beyond the Council, Blog, 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 …

Is Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein really the “prince of Human Rights”?

by Olivier de Frouville, Member UN Human Rights Committee Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jordanian prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, ended his mandate on the 31st August and his successor, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, has just taken office. A large number of recent contributions praising Zeid’s term in office have cropped up and many paid tribute to his action at the head of the UN …