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Kriangsak Kittichaisaree

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Eric Tistounet

The respiratory system brings oxygen from the air to the body and excretes carbon dioxide back into the air. In this chapter an analysis is made of the ways and means by which the Council adjusts to the fluctuating nature of circumstances, getting rid of what has become irrelevant while injecting new working methods and tools into its apparatus.

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Coly Seck

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Louise Arbour

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Eric Tistounet

The skeleton is the body part that forms the supporting structure of an organism and the framework that provides support, shape and protection to the organs. By furthering the analogy to a biological anatomy, this chapter aims to analyse the fundamental structure of the Council and its mechanisms. This will consist of a quasi-dissection of the multiple functions of the Council. It will also include a rapid and fragmentary discussion of what the author considers as one of the main weaknesses or deficiencies of the Commission, as this is the body that preceded the Council and built the foundations upon which it was built. The text will also show how some of these weaknesses have been corrected. This will be done against the background of decrypting the multilayered structure of the intergovernmental human rights machinery. The General Assembly Resolution 60/251 spells out the Council’s functions and terms of reference. However, being the result of intense and arduous negotiations, the text is rather brief and includes a number of provisions which had to be clarified by the Council in the Institutions Building Package1 and its own practice.

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Eric Tistounet

A human or animal body requires a nervous system to ensure coordination of its main components, send proper signals or instructions, ensure a high-level analysis of the tasks to be performed, some being of a repetitive nature, others being far more sophisticated, and ensure a proper scrutiny of the steps to be taken to keep the body alive and more importantly to ensure that it evolves and reproduces in a proper manner. The nervous system detects environmental changes that impact the body. A Human Rights Council analogy needs to consider the Council governance, namely its President and Bureau, with a view to determine its functions from the most usual and mundane to the most sophisticated and unusual ones. The functions of the Council President and his/her Bureau are usually described succinctly and considered to be quite obvious and limited to issues of a procedural and organizational nature. This is after all what the institutions-building package recalls in its paragraph 1141 and the Council’s Rule 10. It is also in line with the practice of most UN intergovernmental bodies as described in Rules 103–107 of the General Assembly Rules of Procedures. However, reality is very far from this formal description.

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Eric Tistounet

Study of the human anatomy, quite clearly, starts with an analysis of the body as a whole. It is not possible to conjecture what lies within a body if there is no understanding of the overall body being studied. Insofar as the Human Rights Council is concerned, this will be done succinctly based on an overall description of the Council and its main mechanisms. The aim of this chapter is to offer some general considerations that are necessary to understand their main features. The Human Rights Council (The Council) was established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly (The Assembly) in its Resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006 to replace the Commission on Human Rights (The Commission). Its status, which is supposed to be reviewed on a regular basis, is that of a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly.

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Eric Tistounet

A body is composed of organs which need to be described, and the role and functions of which need to be fully grasped. Two or more organs working together in the execution of specific body functions form an organ system. This chapter aims to study the various stakeholders of the Council with a view to understanding their roles and prerogatives and consequently grasping the level at which they interact. In most United Nations or other international organizations, most if not all participants of official meetings are representatives of Member States. At times, representatives of other organizations or agencies may be provided with the right to address the gathering. There is usually no provision for the participation of other stakeholders and of the public at large.

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Eric Tistounet

The digestive system involves the breakdown of food into components which can be absorbed and assimilated by the body. This chapter describes how the Council proceeds with the absorption of many types of situations and crises with a view to assimilating them in the format of efficient outcomes. The way the Council takes action on proposals – usually referred to as resolutions or decisions – or motions may somewhat be compared with the way an organism absorbs nutriments to enable the body to operate over time and select priorities. This quasi digestive system, another odd analogy, is studied in the current chapter. By virtue of the first Operational Paragraph of the General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 60/251 establishing the Human Rights Council, the Council is ‘a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly’. In concrete terms, this implies that the Rules of Procedure applicable to the UNGA are the same in the Council (see Section XIII of the Rules of Procedures of the General Assembly, from Rule 96 to Rule 133).

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Eric Tistounet

It would be presumptuous and intellectually inadequate to offer any conclusion to a book that aims at proposing an Anatomy of one of the most important but challenging UN bodies. Making a fair diagnostic and proposing an adequate therapy may be a reachable goal for a medical doctor. It is not, however, for someone grasping with the Council or any other comparable intergovernmental machinery. To put it otherwise, assessing a situation and offering recommendations implies that the assessment is a fully objective one and the intention perfectly candid. Although the latter is a prerequisite, no writer can even start to pretend to be able to fulfil the former goal. Any writing is influenced by a multiplicity of factors and variables, neutrality is not a quintessential human quality and humility commands the writer to be cognizant of their own limitations. Any assessment, whatever it is, is thus profoundly marked by subjectivity.