The independence of the international civil service, 1919-2019: Minority rights at the League of Nations and human rights at the United Nations

by John Burley, Formerly UNDP; Office of the Director-General; UNCTAD between 1972-2004. Blog, By invitation

Part one Almost exactly a hundred years ago today, the Paris Peace Conference adopted the Covenant of the League of Nations and appointed the British diplomat Eric Drummond as the first Secretary-General. The choice was fortuitous. In this article, which will be split into two parts, I will seek to explain how Drummond built the first-ever independent international civil service, …

Mid-way to universality! CTI2024 supporting all States to ratify and implement the UN Convention against Torture

by Dr. Alice Edwards, Head of the CTI Secretariat Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, By invitation

Guiding States on how to prevent and respond to torturous forms of abuse of power or position is what the UN Convention against Torture is all about. Yet, despite torture being long condemned and the prohibition recognised as a jus cogens international norm, there continue to be grave abuses perpetrated in many countries and in all regions. In others, lack …

The UN human rights system and Sudan: a new chapter?

by Nicolas Agostini, Representative to the United Nations for DefendDefenders Blog, Blog, By invitation

In September 2018, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 39/22 , on ‘Technical assistance and capacity-building to improve human rights in the Sudan.’ No one should be fooled by its title: this latest iteration of the Council’s Sudan-focused resolutions was, in the words of Human Rights Watch, ‘an abdication of the Council’s responsibility to human rights victims in Sudan while grave …

Moving from pledge to practice – Australia’s efforts to support civil society at the Human Rights Council

by Ms Elizabeth Wilde, Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia to the UN in Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation

When Australia presented its candidacy for election to the Human Rights Council in 2015, we acknowledged the crucial role that a strong and robust civil society plays in preserving and advancing human rights. We pledged that, if elected, we would promote civil society participation opportunities at the Council, and advocate for the protection of journalists, human rights defenders and civil society …

The 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration and the contemporary human rights emergency of climate change

by David R. Boyd - UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Monday 10th December 2018, Geneva, New York and Katowice Two concurrent news stories, seemingly unrelated. First, the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a moment in history reflecting humanity’s ambition for a more just and equal world. Second, world leaders gathered in Katowice, Poland, to finalise the rules for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. …

Turning the Implementation Agenda into Reality: IMPACT OSS – the latest in human rights technology

by Mr Ashley Bowe, Founding Trustee and Secretary of the Impact Open Source Software Trust Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, By invitation, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms

The ‘implementation agenda’ called for in the lead up to the next review of the Human Rights Council in 2021 is a lofty yet largely unrealized ambition. On February 28 this year, almost three years on from its conception, a High Level Panel convened at the Human Rights Council to discuss how this agenda might work in practice, suggesting that it has yet to achieve meaningful change. [1] The emergence …

How UN Treaty Bodies can better address corruption and its negative impact on human rights

by Patrick Mutzenberg, Director of the Centre for Civil and Political Rights. Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

It is now widely recognised that corruption negatively affects the enjoyment of civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Corruption not only has a negative impact on the ability of States to implement their treaty-based human rights obligations, but it also directly affects the population of such countries. This concern was raised several times by …

Is Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein really the “prince of Human Rights”?

by Olivier de Frouville, Member UN Human Rights Committee Blog, By invitation

The former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jordanian prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, ended his mandate on the 31st August and his successor, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, has just taken office. A large number of recent contributions praising Zeid’s term in office have cropped up and many paid tribute to his action at the head of the UN …

Twenty-five years later, how much do national human rights institutions matter?

by Steven L. B. Jensen, Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights Beyond the Council, Blog, By invitation, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms

An expanding range of literature examines the effectiveness of national human rights institutions, and 25 years after the Paris Principles, a recent study draws out some of the common findings. This year – 2018 – marks the 25th anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s adoption in December 1993 of the Paris Principles. These principles defined the mandate for National Human …

Supreme Court of Spain: UN Treaty Body individual decisions are legally binding

by Dr. Koldo Casla Beyond the Council, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The Spanish Supreme Court has established that the views expressed by UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies in individual complaints are binding on the State. The Court ordered Spain to pay €600,000 in compensation to Ángela González for the responsibility of its authorities in relation to the death of her daughter. Her daughter was murdered by her father in an unsupervised …