The 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration and the contemporary human rights emergency of climate change

by David R. Boyd - UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Monday 10th December 2018, Geneva, New York and Katowice Two concurrent news stories, seemingly unrelated. First, the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a moment in history reflecting humanity’s ambition for a more just and equal world. Second, world leaders gathered in Katowice, Poland, to finalise the rules for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. …

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, …

HRC28 and the Special Procedures: celebrating three steps forward, and avoiding one step back

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

The 28th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC28) saw a number of developments with highly significant implications for the future of the Special Procedures mechanism, the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the UN’s human rights protection system. Some of these developments were undoubtedly positive and in line with the recommendations put forward in the recent  Universal Rights Group-Brookings Institution policy report on Special Procedures . Others, with potential implications …

Special Procedures

UN Special Procedures, often seen as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the international human rights system, face serious challenges. A significant rise in the number and scope of mandates, together with a drop in the resources made available, have led to political tensions that create uncertainties in terms of sustainability and future effectiveness. This project on Special Procedures seeks …

Human Rights Council appoints seven new Special Procedures Mandate-Holders

by the URG team Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The Council today moved to appoint seven new Special Procedures mandate-holders, including for the new mandate of Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities (created in June 2014). These mandate-holders should have been appointed in September, during the 27th session, but the Council decided (as already happened earlier in 2014 with another batch of new mandate-holders) to postpone their …

Health of the Special Procedure system moves to the centre of the Council’s agenda

by the URG team Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

For the first time since the Council’s five-year review in 2011, the 26th session of the Human Rights Council that ended on 27th June saw the health and impact of the Special Procedures mechanism move to the centre of the political stage. States could not resist continuing to add new Special Procedure mandates – the 26th session saw members create a 51st active …

Special Procedure implementation and follow-up: making it real

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

One of the clearest conclusions drawn from the joint URG-Brookings Institution research project on the effectiveness and the future of Special Procedures was that, despite regular reform efforts over the past two decades, follow-up on the implementation of recommendations made by Special Procedures remains ‘negligible’. In interviews conducted for the URG-Brookings Policy Report, numerous mandate-holders acknowledged that ‘follow-up on implementation remains one of our weakest links’. Why is this the case? A sceptic could …

Special Procedures mandate-holders: the new intake

by the URG team Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

After weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations, the member states of the Human Rights Council yesterday moved to appoint 17 new Special Procedure mandate-holders. This was a critical moment for the Special Procedure mechanism, the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the international human rights system, because the mechanism’s effectiveness is heavily reliant on the quality, expertise and reputation of those individuals who …

Chair of Coordination Committee presented with URG-Brookings Institution report on the future of the Special Procedures

by the URG team Prensa Leave a Comment

9th April 2014, Washington DC Ted Piccone from the Brookings Institution (pictured, right) today presented a copy ofthe new URG-Brookings Institution policy report on Special Procedures to the Chair of the Coordination Committee, Professor Chaloka Beyani. The policy report, entitled ‘ Special Procedures: Determinants of Influence ‘ analyses the emergence and the contemporary effectiveness of the UN’s system of independent human rights experts, and presents …

As number of Special Rapporteur mandates passes the 50 mark, new study highlights need for renewed support and reform

by the URG team Prensa Leave a Comment

Wednesday 19th March 2014, Geneva The United Nations’ (UN) independent human rights experts – otherwise known as ‘Special Procedures’ – are considered by many to be, in the words of then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the ‘crown jewel’ of the international human rights system. From their first appearance in 1967 when the Commission on Human Rights established an Ad Hoc …