Statement from URG Chair

by URG Chair and Geneva News, Press, URG News

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and staff of the Universal Rights Group, I would like to express our deep shock and sorrow at the passing of our esteemed founding Board Member, Asma Jahangir. Asma had been a major source of guidance and wisdom in our work over the past five years. She has also, of course, been an …

Ending the stigma and persistence of leprosy requires governments to step up

by Alice Cruz, Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members and Geneva Blog, By invitation

On World Leprosy Day, organizations across the world must come together to raise awareness and work towards the implementation of concrete goals to end discrimination around leprosy. Elton (alias) was born in 1980 in Rio de Janeiro. He was born in a favela, without access to education or to the formal labor market, and he had to depend on manual …

Reform of the UN human rights petitions system

by Geneva International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, Policy reports

Reform of the UN human rights petitions system

In this groundbreaking new policy report on the UN human rights petitions system, Marc Limon offers a first-ever comparative analysis of the visibility, accessibility, responsiveness and effectiveness of all the main international communications procedures (i.e. those provided by the Special Procedures and the Treaty Bodies, and by the Human Rights Council through its Confidential Complaints Procedure). The policy report concludes by offering recommendations for systemic reform of this vital – though often neglected – component of the international human rights protection system.

Reform of the UN human rights petitions system

by Geneva

Reform of the UN human rights petitions system

The human rights communications procedures are central to the purpose, effectiveness and credibility of the United Nations – representing the only direct link between the victims of human rights violations and the international human rights protection system. However, over the past half-century, what was once a vibrant part of the UN’s human rights work has become increasingly neglected and somewhat …

The Catalytic Role of Thematic Special Procedures on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

by Mariana Montoya Press, Uncategorized @nyc

On 18th and 19th November, the Universal Rights Group (URG GVA & URG LAC) and the Institute for the Study of Human Rights of Columbia University (ISHR) hosted a two-day expert consultation at Columbia University. The meeting convened former Special Procedures mandate-holders on economic, social, and cultural rights; as well as key stakeholders of these mandates, including civil society representatives, …

Reflections on the Human Rights Council: the Way Forward

by H.E. Ambassador WU Hailong, Permanent Representative of China to the UN Office at Geneva and the URG team Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

In October 2013, before taking office as the Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Office in Geneva, I led the Chinese delegation that participated in our second cycle review under the Universal Periodical Review (UPR). The review took place, of course, in Room 20 of the Palais des Nations, and I was deeply impressed by the colourful ceiling designed by the …

HRC28 and the Special Procedures: celebrating three steps forward, and avoiding one step back

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

The 28th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC28) saw a number of developments with highly significant implications for the future of the Special Procedures mechanism, the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the UN’s human rights protection system. Some of these developments were undoubtedly positive and in line with the recommendations put forward in the recent  Universal Rights Group-Brookings Institution policy report on Special Procedures . Others, with potential implications …

Human Rights Council appoints seven new Special Procedures Mandate-Holders

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

The Council today moved to appoint seven new Special Procedures mandate-holders, including for the new mandate of Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities (created in June 2014). These mandate-holders should have been appointed in September, during the 27th session, but the Council decided (as already happened earlier in 2014 with another batch of new mandate-holders) to postpone their …

History of the United Nations Special Procedures Mechanism: Origins, Evolution and Reform

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

History of the United Nations Special Procedures Mechanism: Origins, Evolution and Reform

​The United Nations’ independent human rights experts – otherwise known as ‘Special Procedures’ – are considered by many to be, in the words of then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the ‘crown jewel’ of the international human rights system. From their first appearance in 1967, when the United Nations Commission on Human Rights established an Ad Hoc Working Group to inquire into the …

Health of the Special Procedure system moves to the centre of the Council’s agenda

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

For the first time since the Council’s five-year review in 2011, the 26th session of the Human Rights Council that ended on 27th June saw the health and impact of the Special Procedures mechanism move to the centre of the political stage. States could not resist continuing to add new Special Procedure mandates – the 26th session saw members create a 51st active …