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The UN Human Rights Council

A Practical Anatomy

Eric Tistounet

Since its establishment the work of the Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has been subject to many interpretations, theories, comments or conclusions. This comprehensive book dissects every aspect of the UNHRC’s work and analyses the efficiency of, and interactions between, its mechanisms. Authored by the first Secretary of the UNHRC, this book provides unique practitioner insights into the complex decision making processes of the Council alongside the core variations from its predecessor. This book is the outcome of a six-months research fellowship carried out by the author at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.
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Index

Eric Tistounet

1503 procedure see Complaints Procedure
accessibility 80, 878, 99
accreditation 1423
acts of intimidation or reprisals 1456
Ad-Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards 74
ad hoc investigations 1617
ad hoc panels 179
Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts on South Africa 50
Ad Hoc Working Group on the Situation of Human Rights in Chile 50
adjournment of debate 244
Advisory Committee see Human Rights Council Advisory Committee
allegations of reprisals 148
Anatomy 14, 17, 152, 308
Annual High-Level Panel on Mainstreaming 178
annual panels 1789
Arbour, Louise 69
artificial intelligence 48
Ayala-Lasso, José 40
biennial panels 1789
bilateral meetings and discussions 147
Bureau see Council President and Bureau
Cambodian genocide 346
CAT see Committee against Torture
CED see Committee on Enforced Disappearances
CEDAW see Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
CERD see Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
CESCR see Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
change management process 4
Commission on Human Rights 2889
future formal review process 300307
legal aspects 302
political environment 302
pragmatic approach 3037
psychological element 3023
Geneva review (2011) 2928
agenda and framework for programme of work 296
Complaints Procedure 296
Human Rights Council Advisory Committee 296
methods of work and rules of procedure 297
Special Procedures 2956
UPR 295
institutions-building package 28992
New York review (2011) 298300
civil and political rights 7, 52, 70
climate change 48, 77, 201, 302, 312
clustered interactive dialogues 1546
CMW see Committee on Migrant Workers
COI see commissions of inquiry
Commission on Human Rights
Cambodian genocide 346
change management process 2889
failed attempts at reforming 2889
overview of 334
Rwandese genocide 3742
Commission Resolution 1993/6 36
commissions of inquiry (COI) 1617, 26, 5860, 76, 89, 114, 11718, 174, 275, 285, 317, 320, 324, 3268
commissions on human rights 1617
Committee against Torture (CAT) 45
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) 45
Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) 45
Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW) 45
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) 45
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) 45
Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) 45
Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) 45
Complaints Procedure
change management process, Geneva review 296
confidential nature 23
initial pre-screening of communications 22
sessional activities 18790
situations considered under 35052
Working Group on Communications 212
Working Group on Situations 223
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment 45
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women 45
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide 39, 41
Convention on the Rights of the Child 45
Coordination Committee of Special Procedures 15
Council Extranet 55
Council President and Bureau
New York–Geneva gap 11821
overview of 956
representing outside Geneva 1212
responsibilities
COI/FFMs 11718
human rights emergencies 10711
institutions-building package 100105
overview of 99100
review processes 100105
Special Procedures mandate-holders 11417
Special Session 1056
UPR Working Group 11114
urgent debates 107
traditional roles and functions 969
Council voting process 98
Expanded Bureau 967
Organizational Session 978
country-specific mandate-holders 50, 174
CRC see Committee on the Rights of the Child
CRPD see Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Declaration on Human Rights Defenders 145
Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training 314
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 313
Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas 75, 314
Declarations on the Right to Peace 75, 314
Deputy High Commissioner 214
Deputy Secretary-General 93
de Schutter, Olivier 321
Diene, Doudou 59
disability see persons with disabilities
Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (2001) 74
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Resolution 728F (XXVIII) 49
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Resolution 1235 (XLII) 49, 52
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Resolution 1503 (XLVIII) 49, 52
Economic and Social Council Resolution 1996/31 8
economic, social and cultural rights 7, 21, 52, 70, 75, 77, 83, 216, 259, 312
elections 2834
electronic votes 253
enhanced interactive dialogues 1546
Expanded Bureaux 967, 289
facilitators 101, 1035, 112, 138, 291, 2935, 306
fact-finding missions (FFM) 1617, 26, 5860, 114, 11718, 173174, 230, 275, 285, 317, 320, 3268
FFM see fact-finding missions
GANHRI see Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions
General Assembly Resolution
29/23 65
48/134 148
48/141 64, 161, 201
52/250 139
58/314 139
60/152 56
60/251 29, 44, 46, 56, 63, 85, 1012, 106, 109, 118, 123, 129, 138, 141, 151, 161
60/281 8
61/177 46
61/295 46
63/117 47
65/281 11920
66/137 47
66/138 47
71/189 47
Geneva–New York gap 11821
genocide
Cambodian 346
Rwandese 3742
geology 3, 3031, 424
Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) 149
GONGOs see government-oriented non-governmental organisations
government-oriented non-governmental organisations (GONGOs) 165
groups of States 1337
Hatzfeld, Jean 37
High Commissioner for Human Rights 616
informal conversations 2013
sessional activities 1612
high-level segment 15661
dignitary definition 159
first-come first-served principle 1589
level of formalism 16061
level of visibility 161
modalities 158
participation of representatives 159
procedural motions 2723
Human Rights Council
2011 review of Council (Geneva Review) 2928
agenda and framework for programme of work 296
Complaints Procedure 296
Human Rights Council Advisory Committee 296
methods of work and rules of procedure 297
Special Procedures 2956
UPR 295
ad hoc investigations 1617
Complaints Procedure 213
establishment of 68
flexibility, realism and transparency 31618
fragmentary approach 3
frustrations 31825
functions and responsibilities 7
future formal review process 300307
legal aspects 302
political environment 302
pragmatic approach 3037
psychological element 3023
human rights bodies vs mechanisms 238
institutions-building package 28992
New York review (2011) 298300
non-recurrent panel discussions 32939
overview of 13
Special Procedures 1316
UPR mechanism 813
Human Rights Council Advisory Committee 1920, 26, 48, 292, 296, 314
human rights emergencies 10711
human rights geology 34
advisory services and technical cooperation 535
dealing with emergencies 5561
description of 30
High Commissioner for Human Rights 616
human rights education 535
multilayered institutional structure 43
overview of 424
politicization and polarization of Commission/Council 7885
procedures for violations of human rights 4852
country mandates 50
network of Special Procedures 512
thematic mandates 5051
promotion of human rights 535
reaching out to outside world and transparent 859
reaching out to rest of UN system 8994
setting up investigatory mechanisms 5561
standard setting 448
thematic discussions, panels, forums and intersessional activities 727
universality of human rights 6672
civil and political rights vs economic, social and cultural rights 70
small states 7072
Universal Periodic Review 6670
violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms 523
IBP see institutions-building package
IIIM see International Impartial and Independent Mechanism
Independent Experts 74, 84, 260, 312
informal activities 2059
informal consultations 207
informal conversations 64, 2013
institutions-building package (IBP)
Council President and Bureau 100105
Human Rights Council 28992
interactive dialogues
clustered 1546
enhanced 1546
mandate-holders 174
other work formats 1835, 34049
rationale for 173
sessional activities 1546, 1717, 1835
structuring 1734
thematic mandate-holders 174
Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action 48, 74
international community 324, 37, 3940, 423, 456, 48, 534, 73, 76, 80, 82, 151, 165, 316, 321, 323, 325
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 45, 46, 313
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 45, 47
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families 45
International Coordination Committee of National Human Rights Institutions 122
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 45
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 45
International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) 60
intersessional activities 196200
informal conversations 2013
intersessional panels 201
intersessional seminars 201, 3535
oral presentation 2034
special meetings 2046
investigation 1617, 5561
Joinet, Louis 40
languages
procedural motions 2756
voting procedures 237
Like-Minded Group 135
Machete Season (Hatzfeld) 37
mandate holders
Code of Conduct 15
country-specific 174
interactive dialogues 174
reporting to Council 13
reports of 15
selection and appointment of 2857
selection of 14
Special Procedure 174
system of 16
tenure of 1415
thematic 174
Member States 12333, 21112
apportionment of seats 12931
clean slates 1259
overview of 1234
pledges and commitments 131
quality of membership 124
roles and privileges 1313
migration 77, 103, 216
national human rights institutions (NHRIs) 14850
Ndiaye, Bacre 38
New York–Geneva gap 11821
NGOs see non-governmental organisations
NHRIs see national human rights institutions
no-action motion 2445
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) 14048
accreditation of 1423
acts of intimidation or reprisals 1456
allegations of reprisals 148
bilateral meetings and discussions 147
characteristics of 14041
Council’s work and functioning 1445
Declaration on Human Rights Defenders 145
government-oriented 165
informal internal protocol 148
modalities for participation 141
multiple representation 142
OLA establishment 143
Observer States 1379, 21112
Occupied Palestinian Territories 50
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) 9, 10, 58, 60, 81, 104, 115, 122, 2034
Office of the Legal Affairs (OLA) 143
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner 62
OHCHR see Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
OLA see Office of the Legal Affairs
OPCAT see Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture
Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations 75
Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) 45
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child 47
Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 467, 313
oral amendments 246
oral presentation 2034
oral revisions/amendments 2378
order of voting 23840
Organizational Meeting and Sessions 1913
panels 17782
ad hoc 179
annual 1789
Annual High-Level Panel on Mainstreaming 178
biennial 1789
commonsense assessment 182
intersessional 201
modalities 17981
non-recurrent panel discussions 32939
procedural motions 273
parallel events 206, 2089
parallel meetings 2059
Paris Principles 1489
Peace and Security Council of the African Union 122
Peacebuilding Commission 94
plenary activities 206
President see Council President and Bureau
prevention 7, 82, 1967, 310, 316, 320
procedural motions
challenges against President’s rulings 2779
observers 279
rights of reply 28083
rules and practices 2724
High-Level Segment 2723
legal background 272
panels 273
points of order 274
rights of reply 274
structure of Council’s sessions 271
typology of points of order 2747
contextualisation 275
language and personal attacks 2756
NGOs 2767
respect and dignity 274
UN standards and terminology 275
in voting procedures 26770
promotion 68, 21, 31, 44, 535, 75, 80, 83, 1246, 131, 158, 186, 198, 201, 252, 256, 266, 297, 310, 316, 320
protection 68, 44, 61, 735, 82, 110, 1246, 131, 1457, 158, 186, 198, 201, 232, 245, 252, 256, 260, 266, 277, 297, 309, 310, 316, 320
rights of reply 274, 28083
right to development 7, 24, 70, 75, 81, 324
roll-call vote 254
Rwandese citizens 39
Rwandese genocide 3742
Secretary-General 92, 108, 148, 158, 161, 163, 178, 202, 211, 229, 239, 249, 258, 279, 314
Security Council 69, 92, 94, 123, 231, 232, 282, 283, 292
seminars, intersessional 201, 3535
separate votes 2467
sessional activities
Complaints Procedure 18790
general debates 1639
High Commissioner for Human Rights 1612
high-level segment 15661
dignitary definition 159
first-come first-served principle 1589
level of formalism 16061
level of visibility 161
modalities 158
participation of representatives 159
interactive dialogues 1546, 1717, 1835
clustered 1546
enhanced 1546
mandate-holders 174
other work formats 1835
rationale for 173
structuring 1734
thematic mandate-holders 174
panels 17782
ad hoc 179
annual 1789
Annual High-Level Panel on Mainstreaming 178
biennial 1789
modalities 17981
Universal Periodic Review Mechanism 1856
urgent debates 16971
sexual orientation and gender identity/SOGI 74, 81, 245, 259, 260
side-events 2079
SIDS see Small Islands Developing States
Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) 69, 97
small states 7072
special meetings 2046
Special Procedure mandate holders 174
Special Procedures 1316
change management process, Geneva review 2956
human rights geology 512
see also mandate holders
Special Procedures mandate-holders 11417
Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions 37, 38, 51
Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture 37
Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment 51
Special Rapporteurs 13, 27, 48, 512, 54, 60, 67, 76, 115, 128, 285, 296, 302, 305, 317, 320
Special Representatives of the Secretary General 89
Special Sessions 57, 1056, 1936
SPT see Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
stakeholders 4
description of 123
groups of States 1337
Member States 12333
apportionment of seats 12931
clean slates 1259
overview of 1234
pledges and commitments 131
quality of membership 124
roles and privileges 1313
Observer States 1379
other Council Observers
national human rights institutions 14850
NGOs 14048
Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities 34, 82
Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) 45
sustainable development goals 312
sustainable goals 77
thematic mandate-holders 174
thematic mandates 5051
treaty bodies 9, 12, 21, 237, 46, 62, 67, 90, 1278, 315
Ukraine 656, 203
UNGA Rules of Procedures 21011, 213
UN General Assembly, Fifth Committee 93, 12021, 293, 298, 300
UN General Assembly, Third Committee 8, 79, 923, 11921, 162, 213, 260, 293, 297301
United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training 47, 54
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 46
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas 47
United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) 104
Universal Declaration of Human Rights 30, 44, 131
Universal Declaration to the International Bill of Human Rights 45
universality of human rights 6670, 6672
civil and political rights vs economic, social and cultural rights 70
small states 7072
Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
change management process, Geneva review 295
description of 78
mechanism of 813
sessional activities 1856
universality of human rights 6670
Universal Periodic Review Working Group 11114
UNOG see United Nations Office at Geneva
UPR see Universal Periodic Review
Venezuela 65, 204, 240, 245, 252, 2578, 2789
Vice-Presidents 87, 95, 979, 104, 112, 132
see also Council President and Bureau
violations of human rights
and fundamental freedoms 523
procedures for 4852
country mandates 50
network of Special Procedures 512
thematic mandates 5051
Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation 54
voting procedures
complex adoption processes 25562
consideration of proposals 24055
facts and figures 26270
procedural motions 26770
resolutions 2627
overview of 21015
politics, history and psychology 21521
country situations 21617
societal issues 216
pre-voting stage
additional co-sponsors 2423
adjournment of debate 244
challenging amendments 246
concerned countries 2489
draft proposal 242
financial implications of resolutions 249
general comments 2434
merging of amendments 248
no-action motion 2445
oral amendments 246
Rule 117 2456
Rule 118 2456
separate votes 2467
withdrawal of motions 248
submission of proposals 22633
common perception 229
defining a resolution 2268
interpretation by delegations 22933
Presidential Statements 229, 2313
types of proposals 226
tabling of proposals, Member and Observer States 23340
groups of States 2335
languages 237
oral revisions/amendments 2378
order of voting 23840
submission of proposal deadlines 2357
voting stage
electronic votes 253
explanations 250, 254
observers 2545
points of order 2523
prescription of rule 251
proposals with amendments 251
proposals without amendments 25051
request for vote 253
results of vote 254
roll-call vote 254
UNGA rules of procedure 24950
Wako, Amos 37
WGC see Working Group on Communications
WGS see Working Group on Situations
withdrawal of motions 248
Working Group on Business and Human Rights 74
Working Group on Communications (WGC) 212
Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances 37, 5051, 313
working groups 13, 2023, 478, 51, 84, 101, 162, 1878, 199, 29091
Working Group on Situations (WGS) 223
Working Group on the Right to Development 47
World Forum on Human Rights 122
Ziegler, Jean 321