In a ‘broken system,’ can the UN human rights machinery tilt the balance to help reverse rising inequalities?

by Amalia Ordóñez Vahí, Researcher, URG Inequality and social rights

‘We are going backwards, inequalities are skyrocketing, climate change is burning and pounding our planet, and the number of people living in severe poverty has risen, for the first time in a generation. […] The system is broken.’ These were the sombre words chosen by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, to open the Sixth Intersessional Meeting of the …

Opportunities and challenges for the Council in 2024

by H.E. OMAR ZNIBER 18TH PRESIDENT OF THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE KINGDOM OF MOROCCO TO THE UN OFFICE AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS IN GENEVA By invitation, Human rights institutions and mechanisms

My priorities as the 18th President of the Human Rights Council I am deeply honoured and humbled to have been elected by members of the Human Rights Council as the Council’s 18th President. Ever since its establishment in 2006, Morocco has been a staunch and active supporter of the Council. I am likewise a firm believer in the Council’s crucial …

Human Rights Defenders Protection Act of 2024: US bill signals positive steps in the protection of Human Rights Defenders worldwide

by Tom Bicko Ooko Environmental human rights defenders

On Wednesday 31 January 2024, United States Senator Ben Cardin and Representative James McGovern introduced the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act of 2024, a bill that seeks to protect Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) facing retaliation globally for defending human rights and democracy. Notably, Senator Cardin was also the author of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which established one of …

The end of the beginning: General Assembly recognition of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group R2E, Thematic human rights issues

This article was originally published on Open Global Rights on February 1, 2024. The original article is accessible here . The UN Human Rights Council’s recognition of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment is a political declaration that paves the way to establishing its legal meaning. In October 2021, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) passed a …

A New Year’s resolution for 2024: Getting serious about Council efficiency, and placing it within the context of a wider self-assessment of the body’s role and impact

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group, Amalia Ordóñez Vahí, Researcher, URG and Lola Sanchez Arcos, Researcher, URG Human rights institutions and mechanisms

In December 2022, upon his election as President of the Human Rights Council, H.E. Václav Bálek outlined his ‘3P’ priorities : ‘prevention, participation, and progress in efficiency.’ He acknowledged the increase in the Council’s workloads over recent years and the strain this had placed on the Council’s capacity to effectively fulfil its mandate. To address the situation, Bálek appointed  H.E. Maira Mariela Macdonal …

2023 at the UN Human Rights Council: A year in review

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Human Rights Council reports, yourHRC BORRAR

As 2023 draws to a close, and as thoughts turn to family, holidays and, for some of us, mince pies, Santa Claus, and a glass of sherry or two (well, at least one of those anyway), it is worth reflecting on the year just ending. What were the key political currents that shaped events at the Council? What did the …

What were the main human rights commitments pledged at the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

by Amalia Ordóñez Vahí, Researcher, URG Human rights institutions and mechanisms

An independent analysis of the Push for Pledges campaign of the Human Rights 75 Initiative December 2023 marks the 75th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, an anniversary that the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights has been commemorating throughout the year, culminating in a two-day high-level event held on 11 and 12 December 2023. …

CARICOM SIDS lead historic resolution securing technical assistance and capacity-building for the region and demonstrating the value of the Council’s item 10

by Sasha D. T. Dixon, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to The United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva By invitation, Human rights institutions and mechanisms, Item 10

On 12 October 2023, the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) made history at the Human Rights Council. Not only did they present for adoption their first joint initiative at the Council since its establishment, but they also presented the first item 10 resolution (A/HRC/RES/54/33) that seeks the establishment of a regional office of the Office of …

2023 Human Rights Council elections: Will the 2024 membership be ‘stronger’ or ‘weaker’ than in 2023, and how might it affect voting at the Council?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group and Amalia Ordóñez Vahí, Researcher, URG Human Rights Council membership, Human rights institutions and mechanisms

On 10 October 2023, the UN General Assembly (GA) convened in New York to elect new members of the Human Rights Council for the term 2024-2026. Albania, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Dominican Republic, France, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Malawi, and the Netherlands were duly elected. As soon as the votes were cast and the new members announced, …

Report on the 54th session of the Human Rights Council

by Geneva Human Rights Council reports, Regular session

Quick summary The 54th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC54) was held from Monday 11th September to Friday 13th October 2023. On 11 September, the High Commissioner Volker Türk opened HRC54 by presenting a global update on the situation of human rights in the world. In his intervention, the High Commissioner focused on the links between development and …