The emerging law of environmental human rights is clearer than ever before

by Professor John Knox, Independent Expert on human rights and the environment Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On the last day of its 25th session in March 2014, the Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a historic resolution on human rights and the environment. For the first time, the Council explicitly recognised that ‘human rights law sets out certain obligations on states which are relevant to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.’ This …

UN General Assembly Concludes its Review of the Human Rights Treaty Bodies

by Christen Broecker Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The United Nations General Assembly today (9th April) completed a two-year review of a key part of the UN’s human rights architecture: the human rights treaty bodies. The review occurred in the context of and built on ideas generated from a broader effort by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to ‘strengthen’ the treaty bodies. The outcome of the …

Building the ‘Cooperative Council’: Recalling the Universal Spirit of 1946-48

by Professor Susan Waltz Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Many observers are expecting the 25th session of the Human Rights Council, which opened this week, to be a particularly bumpy ride. The combination of latent ill-feeling leftover from the General Assembly’s 2013 decision to only partially accept the Council’s annual report, significant changes to the Council’s composition, and the presence of a number of difficult and sensitive issues on …

The UN General Assembly and the Strengthening of the United Nations Human Rights Treaty Body System

by Professor Michael O'Flaherty International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

On 11th February, the 3rd Committee of the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on “strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system”. Although the matter still needs to be considered by those who control the purse strings in the General Assembly’s 5th Committee, the resolution’s adoption can be said to mark a defining …

Mr Baudelaire Ndong Ella

The President of the Human Rights Council looks ahead to 2014

by H.E. Mr. Baudelaire Ndong Ella, President of the Human Rights Council and Permanent Representative of Gabon to the United Nations Office at Geneva Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

2014 will be another important and eventful year for the Human Rights Council. Seen against the long history of human rights at the United Nations, the Council is still a young body, and yet it has achieved a remarkable amount in its relatively short life. Everyone who has contributed to the body’s work since 2006, whether representatives of States, NGOs, independent …