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 …

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 …

URG launches global media analysis of HRC visibility and relevance

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

To mark Human Rights Day 2014, the Universal Rights Group has commissioned a global media survey analysing the quantity and content of coverage of the Human Rights Council. Such an analysis of media interest in and opinions on the Council and its mechanisms is a useful means of understanding how the body is seen beyond the cantonal boundaries of Geneva, …

The UPR Mechanism: Delivering Real Change

by Roland Chauville, Executive Director of UPR Info Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism was one of the main innovations introduced by UN member states at the time of the creation of the Human Rights Council in 2006. The first cycle of this global review mechanism saw all 193 UN members have their human rights records reviewed by their peers and receive recommendations for improvement. There was broad …

The 2015 Human Rights Council

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

On October 21st the UN General Assembly held its annual election for seats on the Human Rights Council. A total of fifteen seats were available across the UN’s five regional groups, with the candidates and results shown in the table below (those elected in bold). The new members will start their three-year terms on 1st January 2015. In the African …

UN Human Rights Council – The Case for Hybrid Resolutions

by Subhas Gujadhur and Toby Lamarque Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

When in March 2005 former Secretary General Kofi Annan proposed in his report “In larger Freedom: toward development, security and human rights for all” the creation of the Human Rights Council to address the “credibility deficit” of the Commission on Human Rights, the aim was first and foremost to “create an organ that would be better placed to meet the …