New Mechanisms of the UN Human Rights Council
Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, Vol. 29/3 (2011)
35 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2013
Date Written: February 2011
The United Nations Human Rights Council was created in 2006 to universally protect and promote human rights. Failures of the Council’s predecessor, the Human Rights Commission, had been attributed to politicisation and bias. In order to overcome these and other Commission failings, two new mechanisms were created to assist the new body with fulfilling its mandate. Universal Periodic Review provides a mechanism for examining the human rights records of all UN Member States during a four year cycle. Special Sessions enable the Council to deal with grave human rights crises as they occur. However, these mechanisms have been used by States and regional groups to achieve political aims. This article examines these mechanisms in order to assess whether the Council is adhering to its founding principles and whether it is effectively protecting and promoting human rights.
Keywords: human rights; Human Rights Council; international human rights; international law; Special Sessions; United Nations; Universal Periodic Review
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