A way forward for the 16/18 process

by Caka A. Awal* Blog, By invitation, In Focus: Human rights and religion

A policy report of Universal Rights Group (URG) on ‘ Combatting Global Religious Intolerance: the Implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 16/18 ’ has rightly pointed out the complexities of the issues surrounding freedom of religion or belief and the fight against global religious intolerance. The report provides useful historical insights about the UN’s journey to confront and combat racial and religious intolerance. It is interesting to note that on 25th November 1981 …

Challenges and opportunities for the Human Rights Council in 2015

by Ambassador Joachim Ruecker, President of the Human Rights Council Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The work of the Human Rights Council is definitely underestimated. This point immediately struck me when I was elected President of the Council for the year 2015, and international and German media representatives approached me for interviews. “Isn’t the Council a tiger without teeth?” “What can the Council achieve without being able to impose sanctions like the Security Council?” “Looking …

Charlie Hebdo attack and global reaction highlights critical importance of renewed commitment to the implementation of resolution 16/18 and the Rabat Plan of Action

by Andrew Smith, Legal Officer at ARTICLE 19 Blog, In Focus: Human rights and religion

Last week’s appalling attack against journalists and police officers at the satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, and the cascade of comment and counter-comment that has followed, remind us once again of both the importance of, and the sensitivities that surround, the relationship between freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, and non-discrimination. Identifying and understanding the contours of that relationship …

An Egyptian perspective on human rights: challenges and opportunities

by H.E Ambassador Dr. Walid Mahmoud Abdelnasser, the former Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations in Geneva Blog

Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the emergence of an international legal framework for protecting and promoting human rights, new challenges have constantly emerged in our rapidly-changing world. These challenges include climate change; the fight against poverty; global terrorist movements; issues related to migration; threats to privacy in cyberspace; or unforeseen economic and financial crises …

The UPR Mechanism: Delivering Real Change

by Roland Chauville, Executive Director of UPR Info Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism was one of the main innovations introduced by UN member states at the time of the creation of the Human Rights Council in 2006. The first cycle of this global review mechanism saw all 193 UN members have their human rights records reviewed by their peers and receive recommendations for improvement. There was broad …

Comment promouvoir efficacement aujourd’hui l’abolition universelle de la peine de mort?

by S.E. M. Nicolas Niemtchinow, Ambassadeur, Représentant permanent de la France auprès des Nations unies à Genève et des organisations internationales en Suisse Blog

10 Octobre 2014, Journée mondiale contre la peine de mort La peine de mort est un acte cruel, inhumain et dégradant : elle n’est en rien utile à la lutte contre la criminalité et elle est toujours le signe de l’échec de la justice. En ce 25ème anniversaire de l’adoption du Protocole international visant à abolir la peine de mort, …

Human Rights Council President, Bureau and Member States must respect the role and rights of NGOs

by Phil Lynch, Director of the International Service for Human Rights Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The right, and indeed the responsibility, of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to critique governments, expose and pursue accountability for human rights violations, and advocate for changes in law, policy and practice should be uncontroversial and uncontested. This is particularly the case at the UN Human Rights Council, the world’s apex body for human rights debate and dialogue, the mandate of which …

​Priorities and opportunities for the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

by the URG team Blog

As the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, begins his term in office, H.E. Ambassador Alexandre Fasel, Catarina de Albuquerque, H.E. Ambassador Triyono Wibowo, Ted Piccone, H.E. Ambassador Carsten Staur, Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, Harriet Berg, Phil Lynch, H.E. Ambassador Mehmet Ferden ÇarikçI, Professor John Knox, H.E. Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco, Roland Chauville, Dr. Rosa …

Syria calls for greater UN intervention in domestic human rights situations…

by Professor Susan Waltz Blog, By invitation

…or at least, it did. In the early 1950s, as diplomats in New York sat down to negotiate what would become the two international human rights covenants, Syria’s delegation to the General Assembly’s Third Committee was in the vanguard of efforts to arm the UN’s human rights machinery with stronger implementation mechanisms to ‘pierce the veil of national sovereignty’* that …

Failing To Protect: Systemic weaknesses within the UN human rights machinery

by Dr. Rosa Freedman Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

On 20th March 2014 the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) attempted to hold a minute of silence in the UN Human Rights Council’s chamber in memory of Cao Shunli. Ms Cao was arrested on 14th September 2013 as she attempted to board a flight to Geneva. A human rights defender in China, Ms Cao was en route to the …