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, 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 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 …

High Commissioner Bachelet charts a new course

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

The new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, marked the start of her tenure on 10th September with an inaugural address to the Human Rights Council (at the start of its 39th session). As with all inaugural speeches by new High Commissioners, the statement was closely watched by States, NGOs and the media for clues as to Ms Bachelet’s …

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

by Olivier de Frouville, Member UN Human Rights Committee Blog, By invitation

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 …

Is the Human Rights Council finally becoming efficient?

by Felix Luginbuhl, Universal Rights Group Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The 38th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC38) in June saw the largest drop in the number of adopted resolutions since the body’s establishment in 2006. This came against a backdrop of almost uninterrupted growth in the Council’s output over the past decade. Beyond providing an interesting talking point for Council delegates, the decrease (from 35 texts adopted one …

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

by Marc Limon 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 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 …

Twenty-five years later, how much do national human rights institutions matter?

by Steven L. B. Jensen, Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights Beyond the Council, Blog, By invitation, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms

An expanding range of literature examines the effectiveness of national human rights institutions, and 25 years after the Paris Principles, a recent study draws out some of the common findings. This year – 2018 – marks the 25th anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s adoption in December 1993 of the Paris Principles. These principles defined the mandate for National Human …

Supreme Court of Spain: UN Treaty Body individual decisions are legally binding

by Dr. Koldo Casla Beyond the Council, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The Spanish Supreme Court has established that the views expressed by UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies in individual complaints are binding on the State. The Court ordered Spain to pay €600,000 in compensation to Ángela González for the responsibility of its authorities in relation to the death of her daughter. Her daughter was murdered by her father in an unsupervised …

Igniting the flame: How the anti-slavery campaign launched a human rights movement

by Laura Riches, Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog

In his final address to the Human Rights Council, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein highlighted a growing sense of weariness within the international human rights community; a growing fear that the UN’s human rights pillar is being marginalized. Given the global state of affairs, from rising nationalism, xenophobia, and racial and religious intolerance to clampdowns on civil …