Human Rights Pillar: transparency, visibility, accountability

Transparency, visibility (public awareness) and accountability are essential to the credibility and effectiveness of the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms.

If the Council is to remain a credible institution, it is important not only that it fulfills its mandate to promote and protect human rights, but that the wider public, around the world, sees that it is able to do so. It is also important for individuals around the world to be armed with knowledge of commitments made and actions taken by their governments at international level in order to hold them to account.

In both regards the role of the media is vital: both to help break the ‘Geneva bubble’ and to hold members of the Council accountable for the positions they take and the votes they cast.

Notwithstanding this importance, a 2014 Universal Rights Group (URG) media survey showed that international press coverage of the work of the Human Rights Council is fairly limited, especially in comparison to other key UN bodies/entities such as the Security Council or the WHO. Our research found that most media coverage focused on prominent global crises, like Syria, Iraq and Gaza, while important thematic issues of potential public interest were largely – if not entirely – overlooked.

FROM URG PILOT MEDIA SURVEY 2014

FROM URG PILOT MEDIA SURVEY 2014

In order to address this situation, to strengthen media interest in and knowledge about the Council and its work, the URG has launched a new project aimed at increasing the level and scope of media interest in the Council at national and international levels, and by engaging with and providing opportunities and capacity building for journalists. The project will also monitor global media trends vis-à-vis the Council, to better understand public perceptions of the UN’s human rights pillar.

As part of this effort, URG will organise regular press visits to the Council. It will also launch an annual global media survey to understand how the Council is perceived by people around the world. This builds on the aforementioned pilot project, undertaken in 2014. 


Image: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein speaks during the thirtyfirst regular opening of session of the Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland, February 29, 2016, UN Photo/Pierre Albouy, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Selection of press articles on HRC published by journalists following URG capacity-building programme

Mohamed Junayd, “No justice for Maldives journalists,” Maldives Independent, 2nd November 2016

Mohamed Junayd, “Does the Maldives practice what it preaches globally on human rights?,” Maldives Independent, 4th October 2016

L’ONU vote pour la création d’une commission d’enquête indépendante sur le Burundi,” Radio Publique Africaine (Burundi), 3rd October 2016

Darío Mizrahi (Argentina), “El Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU, atravesado por el retorno de la guerra fría,”  infobae, 2nd October 2016

Darío Mizrahi (Argentina), “Argentina ante la ONU: “Las Islas Malvinas se encuentran ilegítimamente ocupadas por el Reino Unido”,”infobae, 1st October 2016

Willa Frej (USA), “U.N. Fails To Agree On Independent Inquiry Of Human Rights Abuses In Yemen,” The Huffington Post, 30th September 2016

Robert Mugabe (Rwanda), “UN council passes rough resolution on Burundi,” Great Lakes Voice, 30th September 2016

Darío Mizrahi (Argentina), “Dura condena de la ONU a Bashar al Assad, Hezbollah y el Estado Islámico por las violaciones a los derechos humanos en Siria,” infobae, 30th September 2016

Darío Mizrahi (Argentina), “Oscar Cabello, vicecanciller de Paraguay: “Estamos muy preocupados por la situación de los derechos humanos en Venezuela”,” infobae, 29th September 2016

Darío Mizrahi (Argentina), “Paraguay ante la ONU: “Compartimos preocupaciones sobre las graves y repetidas denuncias de represión en Venezuela”,” infobae, 29th September 2016

Robert Mugabe (Rwanda), “UN Council passes Safety of Journalists Resolution,” Great Lakes Voice, 29th September 2016

Darío Mizrahi (Argentina), “Paraguay planteará ante la ONU la preocupación por los derechos humanos en Venezuela,” infobae, 28th September 2016

Darío Mizrahi (Argentina), “Una jueza del Tribunal Supremo de Venezuela dijo que es “imposible” hacer el referendo antes de febrero de 2017,” infobae, 26th September 2016

Judie Kaberia, “UN body adopts resolution in protest of Internet shutdown,” Capital FM (Kenya), 4th July 2016

Emine Kart, “Turkey among initiators of significant UN resolution on Internet and human rights,” Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), 2nd July 2016

Judie Kaberia, “UN rights body appoints expert to probe LGBT abuses,” Capital FM (Kenya), 1st July 2016

“Глава представительства Беларуси при ООН в Женеве: Ничто, навязанное нам извне, не будет приниматься нашим государством,”  BelaPAN (Belarus), 1st July 2016

Совет ООН по правам человека одобрил продление мандата спецдокладчика по Беларуси,”  BelaPAN (Belarus), 1st July 2016

“В Совете по правам человека ООН началось голосование по резолюции о Беларуси,” BelaPAN (Belarus), 1st July 2016

“Дипломат ЕС: Снятие санкций вовсе не означает, что Евросоюз перестала беспокоить ситуация с правами человека в Беларуси,” BelaPAN (Belarus), 30th June 2016

Rafael Targino, “ONU aprova resolução que cria ‘especialista’ para monitorar violência contra pessoas LGBT,” operamundi (Brazil), 30th June 2016

“Из-за ситуации в соседних странах в Европе начали смотреть на Беларусь по-другому, считает глава женевского офиса Фонда домов прав человека,” BelaPAN (Belarus), 29th June 2016

“В проекте резолюции СПЧ по Беларуси предлагается еще на год продлить мандат спецдокладчика по ситуации с правами человека в стране,” BelaPAN (Belarus), 27th June 2016

Daniella Sánchez Russo, “Cárceles: ¿un sistema fallido?” El Espectador (Colombia), 8th April 2016

Juan Pittaluga, “Uruguay impulsa en Naciones Unidas medidas contra la tortura, con informes sobre tratos inhumanos en el país como antecedente,” Busqueda (Uruguay), 31st March 2016

Emine Kart, “Turkey leads resolution in favor of peaceful protest in Geneva,” Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), 31st March 2016

Shiran Illanperuma, “UN report highlights caste-based discrimination in Sri Lanka,” Daily FT (Sri Lanka), 25th March 2016

Emine Kart, “Syria considerations confine calls for accountability in Geneva bubble,” Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), 25th March 2016

Daniella Sánchez Russo, “La amenaza paramilitar,” El Espectador (Colombia), 25th March 2016

Najla Kalai, “Le CDH vote pour la résolution sur les effets négatifs du non-rapatriment des fonds d’origine illicite,” Agence Tunis Afrique Presse (Tunisia), 24th March 2016

Emine Kart, “Possible shift of freedom, security balance grips UN human rights body,” Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), 24th March 2016