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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A dishonest attack on UN human rights mechanisms

On 1 May 2021, I received an email from Dr Grégor Puppinck of the European Centre for Law and Justice, requesting to interview me as former Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council. The purpose of the resulting report by the ECLJ was presented in a way that would appeal to many a Special Raporteur:…

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The ‘scandal’ of foundation support for UN human rights Special Procedures

In July 2021 the European Centre for Law and Justice published a report entitled The Financing of UN Experts in the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. It is based on anonymous interviews and anonymous quotations, said to reflect interviews with 28 past or present Special Procedures mandate-holders. It purports to expose the links…

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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…

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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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