'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 …

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 …

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 …

What future for the High Commissioner for Human Rights? Reimagining the High Commissioner’s role, prerogatives, responsibilities and mandate

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

As Suzanne Nossel argues in her excellent recent article in Foreign Policy magazine (‘ The job of UN human rights chief isn’t what you think ,’ 9 August), the general rejoicing among human rights advocates at the appointment of Michelle Bachelet as the next High Commissioner for Human Rights, should quickly give way to ‘a searching reassessment of the role of the High Commissioner and a commitment to steps that will …

The selection and appointment of the next High Commissioner for Human Rights: Right person, shame about the process

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

In March 2018, a coalition of some 60 NGOs, led by the Universal Rights Group, the UN Association of the UK, and Human Rights House Foundation, sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, encouraging him to enhance the selection procedure for the new High Commissioner for Human Rights. The sponsors of the letter argued that the process used …

The UN Secretary-General’s human rights crisis can be solved

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

There is a crisis in the United Nations human-rights system. Secretary-General António Guterres can lead the way out of it. Indeed, the world continues to look to the UN secretary-general to stand up for the principles of the organisation. One of the highest responsibilities of the incumbent is to help steer a course toward realising UN goals in the areas …

The place of human rights in a reformed United Nations

by Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation

Note: This article is based on a keynote address delivered by H.E. Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, High Commissioner for Human Rights, on Wednesday 30th June 2018, at the opening plenary of the fifth Glion Human Rights Dialogue, hosted by the Government of Switzerland and supported by the Universal Rights Group.  First, let me make a few points about the Secretary General’s ongoing plans for reforming …

Wanted: new High Commissioner for Human Rights

by the URG team Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Civil society calls for a more transparent, inclusive, meritocratic and engaging selection process Later this year the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, is due to appoint a new High Commissioner for Human Rights – the UN’s most senior human rights official. This is a vital moment for the Secretary-General, for the UN and its human rights pillar, and most of all …

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Success Requires a Team Effort

by Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation

A response to David Petrasek’s article in OpenGlobaRights  entitled ‘ Another one bites the dust ’ (8 February 2018) and Marc Limon’s article in URG Insights entitled ‘ Is being the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights an impossible job? ‘ (14 February 2018). David Petrasek’s thoughtful analysis on 12 February and Marc Limon’s equally thoughtful response on 14 February provide the basis for an important inclusive discussion about the selection of the next High Commissioner for Human Rights …