Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Country-specific scrutiny at the United Nations Human Rights Council

On May 17, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the US Congress conducted a hearing on the UN Human Rights Council.  A video and transcripts of the hearing are available here.  In conjunction with the hearing,  Naomi McMillen and Ted Piccone of the Brookings Institution recently released a new, detailed and rigorous analysis of the UN Human Rights Council's country-specific reviews.   The authors conclude that:

"Since the United Nations Human Rights Council was created in 2006, it has made significant strides toward improving the enjoyment and protection of human rights for all individuals around the world through a complex strategy that involves a combination of softer and tougher approaches, from building up the capacities of states through technical assistance to criticizing them frankly on the international stage. Despite its accomplishments, critics claim that the Council has failed to live up to its original mandate and has devoted far too much attention to vague thematic issues instead of focusing its efforts on addressing serious human rights violations in country-specific contexts. While the Human Rights Council has historically devoted more of its time and resources to thematic concerns, in the past four years it has shown an inclination to confront efforts to curtail country-specific human rights issues with greater country-specific scrutiny. If the current trend persists, the Council will be well placed to have lived up to its mandate to protect and promote human rights by addressing human rights violations wherever they occur."


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