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 …

Human Rights Council appoints seven new Special Procedures Mandate-Holders

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

The Council today moved to appoint seven new Special Procedures mandate-holders, including for the new mandate of Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities (created in June 2014). These mandate-holders should have been appointed in September, during the 27th session, but the Council decided (as already happened earlier in 2014 with another batch of new mandate-holders) to postpone their …

The Secretary-General’s Budget Outline and the human rights pillar: responding to a “global scandal”

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

Next month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will release his Budget Outline for the biennium 2016-2017. This will provide a preliminary estimate of the resources required for each of the fourteen parts of the UN’s regular budget. The Budget Outline is a crucial moment in the long process that will eventually end with the General Assembly’s adoption of the programme budget …

Failing To Protect: Systemic weaknesses within the UN human rights machinery

by Dr. Rosa Freedman Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

On 20th March 2014 the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) attempted to hold a minute of silence in the UN Human Rights Council’s chamber in memory of Cao Shunli. Ms Cao was arrested on 14th September 2013 as she attempted to board a flight to Geneva. A human rights defender in China, Ms Cao was en route to the …

Health of the Special Procedure system moves to the centre of the Council’s agenda

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

For the first time since the Council’s five-year review in 2011, the 26th session of the Human Rights Council that ended on 27th June saw the health and impact of the Special Procedures mechanism move to the centre of the political stage. States could not resist continuing to add new Special Procedure mandates – the 26th session saw members create a 51st active …

Special Procedure implementation and follow-up: making it real

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

One of the clearest conclusions drawn from the joint URG-Brookings Institution research project on the effectiveness and the future of Special Procedures was that, despite regular reform efforts over the past two decades, follow-up on the implementation of recommendations made by Special Procedures remains ‘negligible’. In interviews conducted for the URG-Brookings Policy Report, numerous mandate-holders acknowledged that ‘follow-up on implementation remains one of our weakest links’. Why is this the case? A sceptic could …

Living up to our own standards?

by H.E. Ambassador Hanns Heinrich Schumacher, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The United Nations Human Rights Council emerged in response to the failures of the former Commission on Human Rights to effectively implement the rich normative framework of human rights standards that most members of the international community have committed themselves to. Our human rights architecture in 2014 appears to be both solid and comprehensive: The Universal Declaration on Human Rights …

Giving Small States a Level Playing Field at the Human Rights Council

by H.E. Mr. Omar Hilale, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The principle of sovereign equality of States, enshrined in the UN Charter, recognises that all States are equal irrespective of their size, wealth, population or strength. Article 4 of General Assembly resolution 60/251, establishing the Human Rights Council, makes clear that the work of the Council shall be guided by ‘the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, constructive international …

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 …