Council efficiency drive ends with important changes, but also disappointments

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

On Monday 3 December, H.E Mr Vojislav Šuc presided over his last meeting as the twelfth President of the UN Human Rights Council. The purpose of the meeting was twofold. Firstly, to formally elect the next President of the Council and his Bureau. In this regard, the Council elected Senegal’s Permanent Representative, H.E. Mr Coly Seck, as its thirteenth President. …

Crunch time for Human Rights Council efficiency reforms

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

After four years of discussions in and around the Human Rights Council about improving the body’s efficiency, discussions that have culminated, over the past ten months, in intensive Bureau-led negotiations to secure agreement on a meaningful (though still rather modest) set of reform measures; States are now entering the final stretch, with the contours of a deal clearly discernible in …

Time for High Commissioner to publish annual ‘Global state of human rights’ report?

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

Much has been written over recent months, including in Foreign Policy  magazine, OpenGlobalRights and URG Insights , about the multifaceted mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the acute challenges involved in asking one person to fulfil all parts of that mandate, some of which appear to exist in mutual-tension. In particular, these articles argued that the expectation that the High Commissioner …

Latin American civil society gives mixed reception to new UN resolution on the human rights situation in Venezuela

by Mariana Montoya Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Last week (September 27) the Human Rights Council (the ‘Council’) adopted a number of resolutions that are relevant for Latin America [1] . However, one particular decision has taken the attention of human rights activists, professionals, and the media in the region. In a month that Latin America has seen a wave of news concerning the situation in Venezuela and its impact on the Bolivarian Republic’s …

Report on the 39th session of the Human Rights Council

by the URG team Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, URG Human Rights Council Reports

Quick summary The 39th regular session of the Human Rights Council ( HRC39 ) was held from Monday 10th September to Friday 28th September 2018. On 10th September, H.E. Ms Michelle Bachelet, presented her first oral update on the global human rights situation as the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. A number of dignitaries delivered statements during the session, including inter alia, H.E. Mr. Jorge Arreaza, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the …

Human Rights Council Elections: clean slates continue to undermine the Council

by Peter Splinter, Human Rights Consultant and Former Representative of Amnesty International to the United Nations in Geneva Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

On 12 October 2018, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will hold elections for 18 seats on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) for a three-year term starting on 1 January 2019.  All five UN regional groups have clean slates – in which the number of candidates is equal to the number of vacant seats. [1]   These clean slates turn the election into …

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 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, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group 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 …