UN (Human Rights) Reforms by 0uvt5vGn


									RBEC Human Rights and Justice
 Community of Practice Meeting
     (Prague, 25-26 November 2005)

UN (Human Rights) Reforms
    Since the appointment in 1997, the
   SG has initiated three major reforms:
a. Renewing the United Nations: A
   Programme for Reform (1997)
b. Strengthening the United Nations: An
   Agenda for Further Change (2002)
c. In Larger Freedom: Towards
   Development, Security and Human
   Rights (2005)
       “In Larger Freedom”
• Builds upon two wide-ranging reviews of
  global challenges commissioned by the
  SG: a) “Investing in Development: A
  Practical Plan to Achieve the
  Millennium development Goals” .
b) “A more secure world, our shared
  responsibilty” (Report of the High-level
  Panel on Threats, Challenges and

       “High-Level Panel”
• Four key recommendations:
a) Elevating the Commission on Human
  Rights to a Human Rights Council
b) Universal membership (the current
  Commission has 53 members)
c) Global Human Rights Report
d) Expanded consultative role for the High
  Commissioner for Human Rights within the
  Security Council
      “In Larger Freedom”
• Wide-ranging proposals, ranging from:
a) Extending the membership of the
   Security Council;
b) Scaled-up commitments to achieve the
   0.7 per cent Official Development
   Assistance target before 2015;
c) Transforming the Commission on Human
   Rights into a new Human Rights Counci.

• “In Larger Freedom” proposed that the Human Rights
  Council be:

a) “smaller” (requiring strict criteria, (directly contradicting the
    “universal” proposal by the HLP)
b) Standing body (sit permanently or at least when required
c) Either a principal organ of the UN or a subsidiary body of the
    General Assembly
d) In either case, be elected by a 2/3 majority of the General Assembly
    members present and voting.
e) Those elected …should undertake to “abide by the highest human
    rights standards”.

(Both Reports fell short in their perfunctory assessment of what
  the proposed Council might offer that the Commission could
  not offer. The Reports recognised the symptoms and not the
  root causes.

Discussions during the 61st session of the
Commission on Human Rights
•   Many states that the introduction of criteria was doubtful on many counts.
    Who would draft the criteria and judge a State's human rights record?
    Would the proposal be too exclusive and not cut out developing countries?
    Would the principle of equitable geographic distribution (of seats) be
    maintained? Was not the limited membership not too sharp a contrast with
    the idea of universalizing the membership of the Commission on Human
•   The SG had proposed that members of the Human Rights Council should
    undertake to “abide by the highest human rights standards”. Who has the
    solid human rights record? What could be the possible benchmarks in that
    regard? Should those benchmarks include action by States to become
    parties to all major human rights treaties? Standing invitations to UN Special
•   Whether the proposed Human Rights Council would truly treat the causes of
    human rights problems? Not clear how the proposed scheme would ensure
    a legitimate and effective membership?
•   What would be the mandate of the Council and its relations with the other
    bodies of the United Nations? What would be the composition of the
    Council? What would be the role of Regional Groupings?
•   Since it had been proposed that it should be a standing body (equal
    standing with the GA), whether the UN Charter needed any amendment(s)?
Open-ended Informal Consultations on HRs
Reform (Geneva, 20 June 2005)-main issues
•     Many:
    –   supported elevation of the CHR into a standing Human Rights
        body. Subsidiary body of the GA ….elevating the Commission
        into a principal body would require amendment to the UN
        Charter (complicated procedure).
    –   said that the Membership ……..be similar to, if not, broader
        than that of the current Commission…should not be
        subjected to any criteria or pre-conditions…election by a
        simple majority……Equitable geographic distribution of
        seats between regional groups….establish a rotation
        among members and thus limit the number of consecutive
        mandates of any given member to a maximum of two. Should
        not in any respect be linked to the Security Council others
        insisted that it should be able to make specific
        recommendations to the Security Council
    –   Supported that the existence of the subsidiary bodies of the
        Commission, particularly the Sub-Commission and its Working
    –   Constructive participation of NGOs supported.                8
2005 World Summit Outcome Document
• On Human Rights Council:
a) Resolved to create the Human Rights Council”
b) “…should address situations of violations of
   human rights, including gross and systematic,
   and make recommendations thereon (to
   whom???). It should also promote effective
   coordination and mainstreaming of human
   rights within the UN system” (para. 159).
c) During the 60th session…..conduct
   negotiations on the mandate, modalities,
   functions, size, composition, membership,
   working methods etc (para.160)
Open-ended informal consultations on the
establishment of the Human Rights Council
(Geneva; 22.11.2005)
• The GA Resolution on the HRC should set only
  the main parameters…..should be a standing
  body.....many favoured it as a subsidiary
  organ of the GA…the Special Procedures be
  transferred to the Council…Council membership
  to a maximum of two terms…… NGO roles
  preserved…majority stressed that the
  membership of a new human rights body be
  similar to, if not, broader than that of the
  current Commission..simple majority….should
  not be linked to the Security Council etc…..

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