A Geneva Spring? Why civil society needs North-South solidarity

by Louise Arbour and the URG team Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

In the last decade, the international human rights framework has become addicted to norm-setting, devoting far too much effort to refining norms, tools and protocols, and not enough to their actual implementation. There have certainly been some important new normative initiatives, such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. But now the challenge is that the international …

Le Conseil des droits de l’homme: trop de paroles, pas assez d’action?

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

En 2016, le Conseil des droits de l’homme de l’ONU célèbrera son dixième anniversaire. Bien que celui-ci ne sera pas accompagné d’un examen formel de son travail et de son fonctionnement, contrairement au cap des 5 ans d’existence du Conseil, il représente une importante opportunité de faire le point sur l’organe des Nations Unies et sur ses accomplissements et échecs. …

The Human Rights Council at 10: too much talk, too little action?

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

In 2016 the UN Human Rights Council will celebrate its tenth birthday. Although the anniversary—unlike the Council’s five-year mark—will not be accompanied by any formal review of its work and functioning, it represents an important opportunity to take stock of the UN body’s achievements and failures. And what is immediately clear is that although the Council is good at debating …

HRC28 and the Special Procedures: celebrating three steps forward, and avoiding one step back

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

The 28th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC28) saw a number of developments with highly significant implications for the future of the Special Procedures mechanism, the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the UN’s human rights protection system. Some of these developments were undoubtedly positive and in line with the recommendations put forward in the recent  Universal Rights Group-Brookings Institution policy report on Special Procedures . Others, with potential implications …

The JIU report: what’s all the fuss about?

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

Casual observers of the Human Rights Council may have been forgiven, in the run up to the body’s 28th session (2nd to 27th March), for a degree of bafflement at repeated and sometimes quite excitable references to a three letter acronym: JIU. The reason for all the excitement was the publication of a  report by the JIU  (Joint Inspection Unit – the UN system’s independent external oversight …

The Council’s full-day panel debate on climate change should be a springboard for further and deeper action in the run-up to COP21 in Paris

by Professor John H. Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The 28th session of the Human Rights Council marks the end of the initial three-year term of the mandate of the  Independent Expert on human rights and the environment . Over the past year, in my capacity as the Independent Expert, I have focused on identifying, promoting and exchanging views on good practices relating to the use of human rights obligations to inform, support and strengthen environmental policymaking. …

A way forward for the 16/18 process

by Caka A. Awal* Blog, By invitation, In Focus: Human rights and religion

A policy report of Universal Rights Group (URG) on ‘ Combatting Global Religious Intolerance: the Implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 ’ has rightly pointed out the complexities of the issues surrounding freedom of religion or belief and the fight against global religious intolerance. The report provides useful historical insights about the UN’s journey to confront and combat racial and religious intolerance. It is interesting to note that on 25th November 1981 …

Climate change and human rights in 2015: what is the role of the international human rights community in contributing to an effective and just Paris agreement?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group and Kelsey Skaggs Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

At the end of 2015, climate policymakers will meet in Paris for the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention Framework on Climate Change (COP21). There, it is hoped, countries will sign a universal, legally binding agreement to tackle global warming. It is well understood that a new, ambitious accord on climate change is vital for the planet …

UN strategy to combat religious intolerance – is it fit for purpose?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group, Nazila Ghanea and the URG team Blog, In Focus: Human rights and religion

According to a recent report by the  Pew Research Center , violence and discrimination against religious groups by governments, as well as social hostilities by a variety of actors, have reached new heights in all regions except the Americas. This bleak picture is supported by the findings of the latest  report on religious freedom  by the US State Department, which concluded that 2013 saw “the largest displacement …

Challenges and opportunities for the Human Rights Council in 2015

by Ambassador Joachim Ruecker, President of the Human Rights Council Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The work of the Human Rights Council is definitely underestimated. This point immediately struck me when I was elected President of the Council for the year 2015, and international and German media representatives approached me for interviews. “Isn’t the Council a tiger without teeth?” “What can the Council achieve without being able to impose sanctions like the Security Council?” “Looking …