© Università degli Studi di Padova - Credits: HCE Web agency
Human Rights Council of the United Nations: Trends and Perspective of the «Reform Site» on Procedures and Mechanisms to Promote and Protect Human Rights
The United Nations General Assembly’s Resolution 60/251 asked the new-born Human Rights Council both to develop the modalities for the universal periodic review of the fulfilment by each state of its human rights obligations (par. 5), and to review and, where necessary, improve and rationalise all mandates, mechanisms, functions and responsibilities of the Commission on Human Rights, in order to maintain a system of special procedures, expert advice and complaint procedure (par. 6).
Accordingly, the Council established, since its first session, several working groups in order to accomplish with this mandate. Nevertheless, a thorough analysis of the discussions inside each working group, characterised by a deep divergence among different groups of states on a number of sensible knots, allow to rise doubts about the real consistency between the possible final result of the negotiations and the criteria of rationalisation and efficiency set out in Resolution 60/251. Particularly worrying is the behaviour of certain states that seem determined to take profit from this reform phase to put all the mechanisms and mandates for promotion and protection of human rights under a strict intergovernmental control.
During its fifth plenary session (11-18 June 2007), the Council reached a consensus over an organic reform project, approving without voting Resolution A/HRC/RES/5/1 «Institution-Building of the United Nations Human Rights Council». Even though this text does not definitely conclude the institution-building phase, it is time for the Council to demonstrate to be able to deliver on the expectations it has raised amongst victims of human rights violations.