The Catalytic Role of Thematic Special Procedures on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

by Mariana Montoya Prensa, Uncategorized

On 18th and 19th November, the Universal Rights Group (URG GVA & URG LAC) and the Institute for the Study of Human Rights of Columbia University (ISHR) hosted a two-day expert consultation at Columbia University. The meeting convened former Special Procedures mandate-holders on economic, social, and cultural rights; as well as key stakeholders of these mandates, including civil society representatives, …

Reflections on the Human Rights Council: the Way Forward

by H.E. Ambassador WU Hailong, Permanent Representative of China to the UN Office at Geneva and the URG team Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

In October 2013, before taking office as the Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Office in Geneva, I led the Chinese delegation that participated in our second cycle review under the Universal Periodical Review (UPR). The review took place, of course, in Room 20 of the Palais des Nations, and I was deeply impressed by the colourful ceiling designed by the …

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 …

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 …

History of the United Nations Special Procedures Mechanism: Origins, Evolution and Reform

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

History of the United Nations Special Procedures Mechanism: Origins, Evolution and Reform

​The United Nations’ independent human rights experts – otherwise known as ‘Special Procedures’ – are considered by many to be, in the words of then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the ‘crown jewel’ of the international human rights system. From their first appearance in 1967, when the United Nations Commission on Human Rights established an Ad Hoc Working Group to inquire into the …

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

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

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 …