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 …

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 …