Human Rights Council

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Russia and the UN Human Rights Council: A Step in the Right Direction

The United Nations General Assembly has voted to suspend Russia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council. This is only the second time in the Council’s 16 year history that a member has been suspended under GA resolution 60/251 paragraph 8 for committing ‘gross and systematic violations of human rights’. While that seems a relatively benign bar for suspension, bear in mind that many countries that have sat on the Council have at the same time been committing grave human rights abuses. The suspension of Russia is a strong and clear signal that the world’s foremost intergovernmental organisation condemns the atrocities being perpetrated in Ukraine. Some commentators might argue that being suspended from the Human Rights Council does nothing to prevent ongoing abuses by Russia in Ukraine. Many people focus solely on the Security Council, insisting that nothing short of removing Russia’s veto power will do anything to protect Ukrainians from the rapes, torture, and killing being carried out by Russia’s armed forces and mercenaries.

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Right to Development in Today’s Draft Convention: Retransformation into a State’s Right?

From 22 to 26 November 2021, the 22nd session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Right to Development (IGWG) was held at the Human Rights Council (HRC). At this forum, States, international organizations and NGOs discussed and elaborated upon the Draft Convention on the Right to Development (DCRTD). As two IGWG sessions have been held…

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The UN HRC recognizes the right to a healthy environment and appoints a new Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change. What does it all mean?

On Friday 8 October, the UN Human Rights Council adopted Resolution 48/13, recognising for first time that having a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right and calling on UN Member States to cooperate to implement this right. On the same day, the Council adopted Resolution 48/14, establishing a Special Rapporteur on…

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Challenging abortion laws in Bangladesh: In need of a multi-pronged judicial strategy

In May 2020, a writ petition was filed with the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh challenging the constitutionality of Sections 312-316 of the Penal Code 1860, a legacy of the British colonial rule in the Indian subcontinent. Under Section 312, anyone who voluntarily causes a woman to miscarry, including the woman herself, is punishable…

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Attacking women’s rights and UN human rights mechanisms under the guise of principle

Grégor Puppinck’s response to critiques of the ECLJ’s report on financing for the UN human rights Special Procedures’ system is a masterclass in evasion. He entirely ignores Martin Scheinin’s analysis that shows the dishonesty and manipulation involved in the preparation of his report. His claim that my work as UN Special Rapporteur on extreme…

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