The United Nations Human Rights Council: More of the Same?
‘The United Nations Human Rights Council: More of the same?’, 31 (2) Wisconsin Journal of International Law (2013), 209-251
44 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2015
Date Written: March 24, 2015
The United Nations Human Rights Council was established in 2006 following the disbanding of its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights. One of the main criticisms leveled against the Commission was the perceived politicisation, selectivity and bias the took place at the body during its final years. The Council’s mandate and founding principles were designed, in theory, to overcome the Commission’s flaws. In practice, however, the new body greatly resembles its predecessor. Politicisation, selectivity and bias remain endemic at the UN’s principal human rights body. Those issues are most clearly illustrated by reference to the Council’s relationship with Israel. During the Council’s first six years the body disproportionately focused on Israel and lacked even-handedness in its treatment of that country. In May 2012, Israel announced that it would no longer engage with the Council or its mechanisms, including refusing to attend the Universal Periodic Review. Although Israel reversed that position within 18 months – attending its rescheduled review session in October 2013 – its disengagement demonstrates the degree to which the Council had isolated and ostracised that country. This article explores the Council’s treatment of Israel, from the outset, exploring the extent to which the body has adhered to its mandate and founding principles in relation to that country.
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