Human Rights Council

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Climate Change in the Human Rights Committee

  The environment and climate change are amongst the most pressing issues for human rights. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called it “the greatest threat to human rights” and fifteen children submitted a communication before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in September. Even though it seems that especially children and young people are leading this long-needed movement, thus seeking help from the CRC, the UN Human Rights Committee seems to be the UN treaty body that has been most active on the topic in the course of the past year. The Committee has not only addressed issues concerning the interface between human rights and the environment more often than ever before, it has also very quickly intensified its jurisprudence from a mere notion of possible implications of environmental degradation on the right to life in its General Comment No. 36 over expanding this notion on other rights of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to ruling on the…

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An Independent Mechanism for Myanmar: A Turning Point in the Pursuit of Accountability for International Crimes

Last week, the Human Rights Council voted to establish an “independent mechanism” to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Myanmar. To those following international efforts to bring perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide to justice, this watershed moment could herald a paradigm…

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Should Commitments to Implementation Factor into Elections to the Human Rights Council?

Following the recent celebration of the UN Human Rights Council’s tenth anniversary, one of the key questions for its next decade is how it can play a more effective role in promoting the implementation of human rights standards and norms and its own and other UN bodies’ recommendations. This shift is critical given the serious deficiencies in implementation,…

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First Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy to the Human Rights Council

In March 2015, the United Nations Human Rights Council created a new special procedure on the right to privacy, appointing its first Special Rapporteur on the topic, Professor Joseph Cannataci, in July 2015. Last week, the Special Rapporteur presented the Human Rights Council with his first report and engaged in an interactive dialogue with the Council.

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Julian Assange and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

We should have known. Once Julian Assange publically stated that he would surrender to the UK authorities if the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found against him, it was obvious that the Working Group had done no such thing. And its opinion was released today, to widespread derision among the legal community (at…

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