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Freedman, RGordon, S (2019). An International Law Perspective on the Challenges Confronting the Human Rights Council. German Yearbook of International Law, 62(1), 11-42. https://doi.org/10.3790/gyil.62.1.11
Freedman, Rosa Gordon, SamuelFreedman, Rosa Gordon, Samuel (2019). "An International Law Perspective on the Challenges Confronting the Human Rights Council" German Yearbook of International Law, vol. 62no. 1, 2019 pp. 11-42. https://doi.org/10.3790/gyil.62.1.11
Freedman, RGordon, S (2019). An International Law Perspective on the Challenges Confronting the Human Rights Council. German Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 62 (Issue 1), pp 11-42. https://doi.org/10.3790/gyil.62.1.11

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An International Law Perspective on the Challenges Confronting the Human Rights Council

Freedman, Rosa | Gordon, Samuel

German Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 62 (2019), Iss. 1 : pp. 11–42

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Professor Rosa Freedman (Ph.D, LL.M, LL.B) School of Law, University of Reading.

Samuel Gordon (MSc, BSc) Research Assistant at the University of Reading and Consultant at the United Nations.

Abstract

The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) is the principal UN human rights body, and arguably the lynchpin of the UN human rights machinery. It brings together States, independent experts, UN staff and civil society actors, and reports to the full UN membership as a subsidiary body of the General Assembly. Its mandate and work is broad, with the body combining highly political elements, significant reliance on expertise, and in situ human rights investigations. In the 13 years since its establishment, the HRC has received significant attention from scholars, observers, civil society, and the wider public. There have been many significant successes and other highly visible failures in relation to the Council's mandate to promote, protect, and develop human rights. Since its establishment, the body has been a battleground over which the UN has to overcome inherent structural and ideological flaws in the pursuit of making the idealist human rights vision a reality. This article will provide an account of the Council's creation, key elements, work, and some of the largest challenges including primacy of State sovereignty, politicisation of the Council, and some highly politicised country-specific situations.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Rosa Freedman and Samuel Gordon\nAn International Law Perspective on the Challenges Confronting the Human Rights Council 11
I. Introduction 11
II. From Commission to Council 13
III. Council Mechanisms 19
A. Universal Periodic Review 19
B. Special Sessions 11
C. Special Procedures 11
IV. Civil Society Participation 12
V. Politicisation in HRC Sessions 12
A. Country-Specific Situations 12
B. Israel and Agenda Item Seven 12
C. China and the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council 13
VI. Concluding Observations 13