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 …

Where are African voices in support of human rights defenders?

by Florian Irminger, Head of Advocacy, Human Rights House Network and the URG team Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Earlier in November, Norway introduced a draft resolution on the protection of human rights defenders at the UN General Assembly. This important draft text was tabled at a time of shrinking civil society space in many parts of the world and against a backdrop of an increasingly threatening climate for human rights defenders. Unfortunately the draft resolution has become subject …

A Geneva Spring? Why civil society needs North-South solidarity

by Louise Arbour and the URG team Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

In the last decade, the international human rights framework has become addicted to norm-setting, devoting far too much effort to refining norms, tools and protocols, and not enough to their actual implementation. There have certainly been some important new normative initiatives, such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. But now the challenge is that the international …

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 …