The history of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders: its genesis, drafting and adoption

by Petter Wille, Special Adviser to the National Human Rights Institution of the Kingdom of Norway and JANIKA SPANNAGEL, RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, GLOBAL PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Introduction Human rights defenders have been on the agenda of the United Nations (UN) for several decades. After more than 13 years of negotiations, the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in 1998 . This was a historic achievement. It was the first UN instrument to particularly recognise the importance and legitimacy of the work of human rights defenders, as well as their …

The UDHR and universal participation at the Human Rights Council: Two sides of the same coin ?

by Fatou Camara Houel, Coordinator of the Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund for LDCs & SIDS, OHCHR Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Ms. Fatou Camara Houel is the Coordinator of the Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund to Support the Participation of Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States in the work of the Human Rights Council, administered by the Human Council Branch of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Do you know why the number 512 is associated with universality and …

The Arc of the Covenant: The unfinished business of UN efforts to combat religious intolerance

by Ben Greenacre, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, In Focus: Human rights and religion

A ‘Lost Covenant’ The combating of religious discrimination is one of the oldest thematic topics of discussion within the UN human rights system. Originally bound closely with discussions on racial discrimination, particularly in the context of resurgent anti-Semitism in the aftermath of World War 2, it harks back to the mandate first handed the Commission on Human Rights by the …

Human rights and the 2030 Agenda: Leveraging synergies to achieve the SDGs

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 16 January, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, the Human Rights Council will convene an inter-sessional meeting on the interlinkages between human rights and sustainable development, and on how States can harness the complementarities of international human rights obligations and the SDG commitments to power progress in both areas. The meeting, entitled ‘Human rights and the 2030 Agenda: Empowering …

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 …

Duplication or complementarity? A comparative analysis of Human Rights Council and Third Committee resolutions

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Beyond the Council, Blog, New York City, Universal Rights Group NYC

There has been considerable attention paid, over recent years, to the relationship between the Human Rights Council and the Third Committee of the General Assembly. Do these two key human rights bodies form a coherent whole, with each playing a clearly-defined and logical role in the overall UN human rights system? Or is the relationship more characterised by incoherence, duplication …

Council efficiency drive ends with important changes, but also disappointments

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group and Ben Greenacre, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

On Monday 3 December, H.E Mr Vojislav Šuc presided over his last meeting as the twelfth President of the UN Human Rights Council. The purpose of the meeting was twofold. Firstly, to formally elect the next President of the Council and his Bureau. In this regard, the Council elected Senegal’s Permanent Representative, H.E. Mr Coly Seck, as its thirteenth President. …

At UNGA73 Third Committee Discusses HRC Report & Votes on HRC Report Resolution

by Danica Damplo, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Universal Rights Group NYC

Thursday, 15th November 2018, New York On 3 November 2018 the Human Rights Council President presented the Report of the Human Rights Council A/73/53 to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly; on 13 November 2018, the Third Committee tabled the Africa Group co-sponsored Resolution A/C.3/73/L.56 on the Report of the Human Rights Council. Both the Council President’s presentation and interactive …

Crunch time for Human Rights Council efficiency reforms

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

After four years of discussions in and around the Human Rights Council about improving the body’s efficiency, discussions that have culminated, over the past ten months, in intensive Bureau-led negotiations to secure agreement on a meaningful (though still rather modest) set of reform measures; States are now entering the final stretch, with the contours of a deal clearly discernible in …