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 …

The selection and appointment of the next High Commissioner for Human Rights: Right person, shame about the process

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

In March 2018, a coalition of some 60 NGOs, led by the Universal Rights Group, the UN Association of the UK, and Human Rights House Foundation, sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, encouraging him to enhance the selection procedure for the new High Commissioner for Human Rights. The sponsors of the letter argued that the process used …

Supreme Court of Spain: UN Treaty Body individual decisions are legally binding

by Dr. Koldo Casla Beyond the Council, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The Spanish Supreme Court has established that the views expressed by UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies in individual complaints are binding on the State. The Court ordered Spain to pay €600,000 in compensation to Ángela González for the responsibility of its authorities in relation to the death of her daughter. Her daughter was murdered by her father in an unsupervised …

Why the US left the UN Human Rights Council – and why it matters

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

The US’s announcement that it is  leaving the UN Human Rights Council  should not surprise anyone, since the Trump administration has long made clear its disdain for many parts of the United Nations. But the damage that the decision is likely to cause could nonetheless topple an increasingly wobbly house of cards. When the Human Rights Council was created in 2006, the US (then under the …

Report on the 38th 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 38th regular session of the Human Rights Council ( HRC38)  was held from Monday 18th June to Friday 6th July 2018. On 18th June, H.E. Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, presented his last oral update  as High Commissioner for Human Rights on the global human rights situation. His successor is expected to be selected by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres over …

Human rights treaty bodies in the field: The experience of the African regional system

by Christof Heyns, Professor of Human Rights Law, Univeristy of Pretoria and Member of the UN Human Rights Committee and Abiola Idowu-Ojo, Acting Deputy Secretary of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

In a 2017 post  on this site, Christof Heyns and Willem Gravett proposed the idea of external sessions for the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies – they should meet at least once a year for part of the session outside Geneva, in order to ‘bring the system closer to the people’. This idea generated considerable interest, including in the recent report by the Geneva …

Report on the 37th 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 37th regular session of the Human Rights Council ( HRC37 ) was held from Monday 26th February to Friday 23rd March 2018. On 7th March, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, H.E. Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, presented his annual report on the global human rights situation. A number of dignitaries delivered statements during the session’s high-level segment, including, inter alia, H.E. Mr …

Wanted: new High Commissioner for Human Rights

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

Civil society calls for a more transparent, inclusive, meritocratic and engaging selection process Later this year the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, is due to appoint a new High Commissioner for Human Rights – the UN’s most senior human rights official. This is a vital moment for the Secretary-General, for the UN and its human rights pillar, and most of all …