How the Global South shaped the international human rights system

by Steven L. B. Jensen, Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the URG team Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

2016 is a landmark year for the UN human rights system. Looking back, the UN is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the two International Human Rights Covenants, and the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Human Rights Council. Looking forward, the international community is beginning to wrestle with future challenges such as how to promote and protect the enjoyment …

URG co-organises ‘From Resolution to Implementation’ photo exhibition

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group and the URG team International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, Prensa, URG News

From 7th to 11th March, Universal Rights Group (URG), together with the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands and World Press Photo, was pleased to begin a project to showcase the real-world impact of important Human Rights Council initiatives, using the medium of photography. Between those dates, URG brought five press photographers to attend and photograph the 31st session of the UN Human …

2016: a year for celebration, but also reflection

by H.E. Ambassador Choi Kyong-lim, 10th President of the Human Rights Council and the URG team Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

2016 has begun, as all New Years should, with hope and optimism – and a common resolve to build a safer and better world for ourselves and our children. Regrettably though, if we look at the facts on the ground, little seems to have changed since last year, when the human exodus from Syria, terrorist attacks in major world cities, …

The UN Human Rights Council in 2015: from efficiency to effectiveness, from reaction to prevention?

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

The ninth year of the Human Rights Council’s existence will be remembered for many things, some positive (e.g. its work to support human rights in Sri Lanka; the creation of a new Special Procedures mandate on the right to privacy), others negative (e.g. its response to the situations in Iraq, Sudan and Yemen; its consideration of a Joint Inspection Unit …

URG Tools: A contribution to improved transparency, inclusiveness and impact at the UN Human Rights Council

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

In order to contribute to more informed and efficient policymaking at the Human Rights Council, and thereby to contribute to more effective UN interventions and greater on-the-ground impact, the URG is pleased to present a series of new online tools. It is our hope that these tools will help diplomats, civil society representatives, UN staff and independent experts to more …

Economic, social and cultural rights: exploding myths and building consensus

by Lucy McKernan, Geneva Representative of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the URG team Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Beyond matters touching upon religion or belief, or on so-called ‘traditional values,’ it is difficult to think of an issue that divides members of the Human Rights Council (the Council) as much as the perceived disconnect between the importance placed on civil and political rights on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural rights (ESCRs) on the other. Twenty …

Reflections on the new EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy

by Peter Sørensen, Ambassador, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the UN, Geneva and the URG team Beyond the Council, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The weeks after a Human Rights Council session are a good time for reflection, a moment to take a step back and refocus. It is now almost one year since I took over as Head of the European Union Delegation to the UN here in Geneva, and much has happened during that time. For me, Geneva represents many things, but …

Report on the 30th Session of the Human Rights Council

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

Quick summary The 30th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC30) was held from 14th September to 2nd October 2015. At the opening of the session the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, gave his regular update on the global human rights situation, the text of which can be found here . 6 panel discussions …

Confessions of a small State on human rights

by Ambassador Foo Kok Jwee, Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations Office and other international organisations in Geneva and the URG team Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Size matters in international relations. Small States do not perform any fundamentally irreplaceable role in the international system; yet it is hard to imagine a world without big countries such as the United States, China, India, Russia, Indonesia and Brazil, or even without medium-sized States like Japan, South Africa and Germany. The only viable strategic response for small States is …

Is the UN Human Rights Council delivering on its mandate to mainstream human rights?

by Paul Hunt, University of Essex (UK); University of Waikato (New Zealand) and the URG team Beyond the Council, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

When UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke for the last time to the Commission on Human Rights he emphasised that “the era of declaration is now giving way, as it should, to an era of implementation.” [1] In the past, human rights implementation was often narrowly understood to mean passing a law and securing a favourable judicial decision. Of course, laws and …