Reforming the UN Human Rights Council: a call for new leadership

by Peter Splinter, Human Rights Consultant and Former Representative of Amnesty International to the United Nations in Geneva Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The UN Human Rights Council falls seriously short in its mandate to ensure effective enjoyment by all of all human rights. It needs real reform—not another reform process. With the close of the UN Human Rights Council’s 36th session—the third consecutive session without  substantive engagement by the US—an air of unease continues to hang over the body. The US threat to withdraw from …

The missing human rights chapter in Secretary-General Guterres’ strategic priorities

by Dr Bertrand G. Ramcharan and Geneva Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, By invitation

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has set about the modernisation of some sectors of the United Nations and has been fulsome in his recognition of the interrelatedness of the three sectors of the UN: peace and security, development, and human rights. He has made impassioned statements about the need to protect human rights. But, beyond rhetoric, there has so far been no …

The case of Argentina: the experience of the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances

by Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

16 February 2017 In 2015, on the occasion of its 35th anniversary, the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances traveled to our country to hold periodic meetings. It held meetings with human rights organisations and various State bodies working on the ground to prevent and guarantee justice in each case of enforced disappearances. The expert group concluded that Argentina is …

Indigenous peoples and the environment: challenges and opportunities for the UN human rights system

by Geneva Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 1 August 2017, the Embassy of Turkey in Colombia, the Fundación el Nogal, and the Universal Rights Group, with the support of Club El Nogal, organised an event to raise awareness of the situation of the rights of indigenous peoples (IPs) in Colombia. This event saw the participation of high-level representatives of the Colombian Government, leaders of indigenous communities, …

Bringing the UN Treaty Body system closer to the people

by Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The ongoing process of strengthening the UN Treaty Body system provides a welcome opportunity to reflect on some of our hidden assumptions. The Treaty Bodies have over time gravitated towards Geneva, and it now appears to be the assumption that this is simply the way things should be done. Notwithstanding, we want to argue that reform of the human rights Treaty …

Human rights as ‘part of the cure’

by Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

When UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, addressed the Human Rights Council for the first time earlier this year, he did not mince his words: ‘Disregard for human rights is a disease, and it’s a disease that is spreading.’ He appealed to the Council to be ‘part of the cure,’ especially through being ‘pivotal for prevention – sounding early warnings of crises.’ …

“Human rights are part and parcel of every SDG”

by Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

It was there from the beginning. In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s a foundational text for the United Nations. A document that has been translated into more than 500 languages and displayed on countless classroom walls worldwide. Its drafters had the revolutionary – at the time – idea to expand the …

The United Nations should create freedom from corruption as a human right

by Matthew H. Murray* and Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Matthew Murray is an international lawyer who was a senior advisor in the Obama Administration on anti-corruption issues from 2012-2017.  He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe, the Middle East and Africa for the U.S. Department of Commerce from 2012-2015 and Senior Advisor on Governance and Rule of Law for the US Agency for International Development from 2016-2017.  The …

Time to scrap the world’s remaining blasphemy laws

by Joelle Fiss and Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation, In Focus: Human rights and religion

Last May, Ireland woke up to the strange news that the Irish police were investigating remarks made by actor Stephen Fry, which, it was alleged, might be considered blasphemous. In a 2015 television interview, Fry had accused God of being a selfish maniac, and asked: ‘why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world which is …

President Trump and the Human Rights Council: What did we learn from Nikki Haley’s visit?

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

Wednesday 7th June 2017, Geneva As expected, all the talk on day one of the 35th session of the UN Human Rights Council was on the visit of America’s Ambassador to the United Nations, H.E. Ms Nikki Haley, and the message she brought about the Trump Administration’s views and position on the Council and the US’s role therein. In the end, Ambassador Haley’s …