The environment is the new battleground for human rights – we must protect those on the frontline

by Oliver Courtney Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Imagine waking up one morning to be told by a man from the government that new laws mean the street your family has lived on for generations is being sold to developers. Your land is to be ‘converted’ into flats in the name of national economic development; bulldozers will soon be moving in to flatten your house and rip up …

Human rights norms: it’s the implementation, stupid

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

The development of international human rights norms has been one of the great success stories of the UN. The first major achievement was the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly on 10 December 1948 – “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”. Building on this first step, the UN went …

Special Procedures mandate-holders: the new intake

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

After weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations, the member states of the Human Rights Council yesterday moved to appoint 17 new Special Procedure mandate-holders. This was a critical moment for the Special Procedure mechanism, the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the international human rights system, because the mechanism’s effectiveness is heavily reliant on the quality, expertise and reputation of those individuals who …

The emerging law of environmental human rights is clearer than ever before

by Professor John Knox, Independent Expert on human rights and the environment Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues Leave a Comment

On the last day of its 25th session in March 2014, the Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a historic resolution on human rights and the environment. For the first time, the Council explicitly recognised that ‘human rights law sets out certain obligations on states which are relevant to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.’ This …

UN General Assembly Concludes its Review of the Human Rights Treaty Bodies

by Christen Broecker Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes Leave a Comment

The United Nations General Assembly today (9th April) completed a two-year review of a key part of the UN’s human rights architecture: the human rights treaty bodies. The review occurred in the context of and built on ideas generated from a broader effort by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to ‘strengthen’ the treaty bodies. The outcome of the …

LDC-SIDS Trust Fund is key to promoting universalism

by Subhas Gujadhur Blog Leave a Comment

On 27th March 2014, H.E. Ambassador Omar Hilale Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations delivered a cross regional statement on the operationalisation of Human Rights Council resolution 19/26 on ‘The Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund to support the participation of Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States in the work of the Human Rights …

URG welcomes cross-regional statement on strengthening effectiveness of Human Rights Council resolutions

by the URG team Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues Leave a Comment

Improving the effectiveness of Human Rights Council resolutions is one of the Universal Rights Group’s current projects, and in that regard we are pleased to have contributed, through our empirical and qualitative research, policy dialogues, and side events with delegations from all regions and political groups, to the delivery of the following consensus based cross-regional statement led by Norway and …

Building the 'Cooperative Council': Recalling the Universal Spirit of 1946-48

by Professor Susan Waltz Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes Leave a Comment

Many observers are expecting the 25th session of the Human Rights Council, which opened this week, to be a particularly bumpy ride. The combination of latent ill-feeling leftover from the General Assembly’s 2013 decision to only partially accept the Council’s annual report, significant changes to the Council’s composition, and the presence of a number of difficult and sensitive issues on …

Human Rights and the Post 2015 Development Agenda

by Subhas Gujadhur Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues Leave a Comment

Despite the many achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the MDG framework has been deficient in some important respects, not least in terms of how it deals with equity and the protection of human rights (civil and political, as well as economic, social and cultural). This deficiency is important because without human rights, sustainable development cannot be realized. That …

General Assembly

The Emerging Struggle over the Council's Prerogatives

by Marc Limon & Toby Lamarque Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes Leave a Comment

It seemed innocuous enough. In December last year, the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee adopted a short resolution taking note, as per normal practice, of the annual report of the Human Rights Council, but deferring consideration of one particular Council resolution ‘in order to allow time for further consultations thereon’. This additional wording, which was subsequently endorsed by the General …