US presidential candidates set out markedly different positions on human rights, the Human Rights Council and the UN

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, Universal Rights Group NYC

With a Presidential election less than 100 days away, over 150,000 American deaths from COVID-19, and a GDP freefall comparable to the Great Depression, the focus of the American voter is very much on domestic, rather than foreign, policy. Yet, a recent draft State Department report contains worrying implications about the human rights foreign (and domestic) policy of a second term Donald …

Putting people at the heart of the human rights treaty body system

by Ashley Bowe, Senior Human Rights Advisor, SPC RRRT and Joshua Cooper, Executive Director, Hawai'i Institute for Human Rights Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Samoa held a ground-breaking treaty body session on child rights, evidencing the benefits of extending these sessions beyond Geneva. Calls for treaty body committees to undertake their sessions  on the ground have been made for decades. The first ever such session recently took place in the Pacific, providing empirical evidence of the significant opportunities and slight obstacles of this practice. The genesis of this session can be traced back …

What the ‘US Commission on Unalienable Rights’ gets wrong about the UN

by Ryan Kaminski, Security Fellow, Truman National Security Project Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, Universal Rights Group NYC

On July 16, the US State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights, tasked with providing ‘advice on human rights grounded in [U.S.] founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights,’ released its draft report . Policy, legal, and rights experts have since opined on the Commission’s problematic conceptual approach.  The report’s conclusions on the UN human rights system should …

Report on the 44th session of the Human Rights Council

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

Quick summary The 44th regular session of the Human Rights Council ( HRC44 ) was held from Tuesday 30th June to Friday 17th July 2020. On 30th June, H.E. Ms. Michelle Bachelet presented her global update  on the human rights implications of COVID-19. This provided the basis for an interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner on 30th June – 2nd July. Seven panel …

China and the UN’s human protection agenda

by Rosemary Foot, Senior Research Fellow in International Relations at the University of Oxford Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

In 1999, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan famously drew attention to what he saw as a core feature of the late twentieth century – a reinterpretation of State sovereignty. As he put it: ‘When we read the Charter today, we are more than ever conscious that its aim is to protect individual human beings, not to protect those who abuse them.’ …

Placing human rights at the heart of prevention: Short analysis of the report of the group of experts on ‘the contribution of the Council to prevention’

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

Ever since the establishment of the UN in 1946, the Organisation has recognised the central importance and value of prevention and declared its determination to place the approach at the centre of its work. Indeed, the very first words of the UN Charter make clear that the UN’s overriding mission is to prevent the gross and systematic human rights abuses …

The UN human rights treaty system: Getting closer to the ground?

by Christof Heyns, Professor of Human Rights Law, Univeristy of Pretoria and Member of the UN Human Rights Committee and Willem Gravett, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

In a 2017 post on this site (and drawing on an idea advanced 20 years ago by Christof Heyns and Frans Viljoen ), we argued that the current process of reform of the human rights treaty system should include efforts to “bring the treaty system closer to the people on the ground.” More specifically, treaty bodies should not only conduct their work in Geneva, but also hold meetings away from their home base, in particular in the …

What are the human rights priorities of world governments in 2020?

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

An independent analysis of the High-Level Segment of the Human Rights Council The High-Level Segment of the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council , held from 24 to 26 February 2020, saw the active participation of more than a 100 world leaders, including, four heads of States, around 90 ministers or vice-ministers, and a number of principals of international organisations. In the statements they delivered to …

The Human Rights Council in 2020 – Views of the 14th President of the Human Rights Council H.E. Ms. Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger

by H.E. Elisabeth TICHY-FISSLBERGER, President of the UN Human Rights Council Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Geneva, 20 February 2020 It is a very special honour for me to preside over the Human Rights Council during this year, and I am fully aware of the responsibility I have assumed from my predecessor. The Human Rights Council is unique in many ways. Unlike many other UN bodies, the Council provides a place where States and civil society …

Duplication or complementarity? A comparative analysis of Human Rights Council and Third Committee resolutions

by Grace Kennedy, former Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, Universal Rights Group NYC

In recent years many have begun to take a closer look to the relationship between the Human Rights Council and the Third Committee of the General Assembly. As we near the end of 2019 now is an apt time to review the work done by both bodies this year and the level of efficiency achieved. Do these two key human …