Human rights treaty bodies in the field: The experience of the African regional system

by Christof Heyns, Professor of Human Rights Law, Univeristy of Pretoria and Member of the UN Human Rights Committee and Abiola Idowu-Ojo, Acting Deputy Secretary of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

In a 2017 post  on this site, Christof Heyns and Willem Gravett proposed the idea of external sessions for the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies – they should meet at least once a year for part of the session outside Geneva, in order to ‘bring the system closer to the people’. This idea generated considerable interest, including in the recent report by the Geneva …

It is time for the United Nations to recognise the human right to a healthy environment

by Professor John H. Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Earlier this month, on World Environment Day, the Executive Director of UN Environment, Erik Solheim, and I jointly stated that the historic moment has arrived for the United Nations to recognise the human right to a healthy environment at the global level. The fundamental UN human rights treaties do not include this right because the modern environmental movement began in the late 1960s, …

Anti-corruption and human rights

by H.E. Ambassador Julian Braithwaite, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 1 May this year, MPs from across the major UK political parties, agreed in the UK Parliament to support a ‘Magnitsky’ amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill. The amendment was adopted without a vote and was described by the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, as “an important moment” that would “allow the UK to act against those responsible …

It’s time we all recognise the human right to a healthy environment

by Professor John H. Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Note: This article is based on a Joint Statement by UN Environment and the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment ahead of World Environment Day.   Speaking ahead of World Environment Day on 5 June, the head of UN Environment, Mr Erik Solheim, and the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, Mr John Knox, issued a …

The place of human rights in a reformed United Nations

by H.E. Mr Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, High Commissioner for Human Rights Blog, By invitation

Note: This article is based on a keynote address delivered by H.E. Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, High Commissioner for Human Rights, on Wednesday 30th June 2018, at the opening plenary of the fifth Glion Human Rights Dialogue, hosted by the Government of Switzerland and supported by the Universal Rights Group.  First, let me make a few points about the Secretary General’s ongoing plans for reforming …

Towards a stronger connection between human rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: The role of the Human Rights Council

by Dr. Maria Smirnova, The University of Manchester Blog, By invitation

On 23 March 2018, the Human Rights Council concluded its 37th regular session , during which it addressed a wide range of human rights issues and heard 95 reports of human rights experts addressing 35 thematic and 50 country-specific situations. Among the 42 adopted resolutions , the Council adopted two complementary texts aimed at mainstreaming human rights in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable …

The Human Rights Council: Cooperation and dialogue for the benefit of all

by H.E. Ambassador Vojislav Šuc, 12th President of the Human Rights Council Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

5 February 2018, Geneva It has been almost seventy years since the nations of the world adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the preamble of which reminds all of us that the ‘recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace …

Bringing the UN Treaty Body system closer to the people

by Christof Heyns, Professor of Human Rights Law, Univeristy of Pretoria and Member of the UN Human Rights Committee, Willem Gravett, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria and Geneva 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 …

The Human Rights Council's relationships with the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council

by Emmanuel Bichet, Stephanie Rutz and the URG team Policy reports

The Human Rights Council's relationships with the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council

As the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (‘the Council’) celebrates it tenth anniversary in 2016, this policy paper aims to provide an overview of the institutional issues relating to its status as a subsidiary body within the UN system. In light of its subsidiary status, the paper explores the Council’s synergies and interactions with its parent body – the …

How to move forward with the implementation of resolution 16/18 and with global efforts to combat religious intolerance and discrimination

by Marghoob Saleem Butt, Executive Director of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the OIC and the URG team Blog, Blog, By invitation, In Focus: Human rights and religion

Incitement to religious hatred, discrimination and violence needs to be addressed by everyone, and at all levels. That is especially so when one considers the increasingly globalised and interconnected world in which we live — events on one side of the planet can have immediate and far-reaching consequences for people on the other side. News relating to religious discrimination or …