Magnitsky acts and the future of accountability for violations of international human rights law: An interview with Bill Browder

by Ben Greenacre, Universal Rights Group and the URG team Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Since the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow jail cell in 2009, US financier turned anti-corruption activist Bill Browder has led an almost one man crusade to strengthen national legal frameworks and responses to alleged gross violations of human rights and/or cases of grand corruption (which are linked to serious human rights violations ). Over the intervening ten years, Mr Browder’s determination and …

The history of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders: its genesis, drafting and adoption

by Petter Wille, Special Adviser to the National Human Rights Institution of the Kingdom of Norway and JANIKA SPANNAGEL, RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, GLOBAL PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Introduction Human rights defenders have been on the agenda of the United Nations (UN) for several decades. After more than 13 years of negotiations, the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in 1998 . This was a historic achievement. It was the first UN instrument to particularly recognise the importance and legitimacy of the work of human rights defenders, as well as their …

The nature of power and influence at the Human Rights Council: a membership network analysis

by Anatoly Boyashov, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Why do States run for membership of the Human Rights Council? All UN Member States are, in principle, able to participate in and contribute to the work of the Council, either as a member or an observer. So why do some States choose to ‘go the extra mile’ and campaign for a seat on the body? The answer is that …

The UDHR and universal participation at the Human Rights Council: Two sides of the same coin ?

by Fatou Camara Houel, Coordinator of the Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund for LDCs & SIDS, OHCHR Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Ms. Fatou Camara Houel is the Coordinator of the Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund to Support the Participation of Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States in the work of the Human Rights Council, administered by the Human Council Branch of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Do you know why the number 512 is associated with universality and …

Council efficiency drive ends with important changes, but also disappointments

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

On Monday 3 December, H.E Mr Vojislav Šuc presided over his last meeting as the twelfth President of the UN Human Rights Council. The purpose of the meeting was twofold. Firstly, to formally elect the next President of the Council and his Bureau. In this regard, the Council elected Senegal’s Permanent Representative, H.E. Mr Coly Seck, as its thirteenth President. …

Time for High Commissioner to publish annual ‘Global state of human rights’ report?

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

Much has been written over recent months, including in Foreign Policy  magazine, OpenGlobalRights and URG Insights , about the multifaceted mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the acute challenges involved in asking one person to fulfil all parts of that mandate, some of which appear to exist in mutual-tension. In particular, these articles argued that the expectation that the High Commissioner …

Report on the 39th 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 39th regular session of the Human Rights Council ( HRC39 ) was held from Monday 10th September to Friday 28th September 2018. On 10th September, H.E. Ms Michelle Bachelet, presented her first oral update on the global human rights situation as the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. A number of dignitaries delivered statements during the session, including inter alia, H.E. Mr. Jorge Arreaza, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the …

Human Rights Council Elections: clean slates continue to undermine the Council

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

On 12 October 2018, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will hold elections for 18 seats on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) for a three-year term starting on 1 January 2019.  All five UN regional groups have clean slates – in which the number of candidates is equal to the number of vacant seats. [1]   These clean slates turn the election into …

Human Rights Treaty Bodies in the field: The Inter-American Regional System and sessions away from headquarters

by Elizabeth Abi-Mershed, former Assistant Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Following the post from Christof Heyns and Abiola Idowu-Ojo of July 10, 2018 on this site, the present post reviews the inter-American experience with holding sessions away from headquarters, and considers the many advantages, as well as some challenges. Both the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Commission or IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Court) carry out periods …