The role of the European Union in the Human Rights Council

Wouters, Jan, Basu, Sudashna and Bernaz, Nadia (2008) The role of the European Union in the Human Rights Council. Technical Report. EIUC - European Inter University Centre, Venice. . [Monograph]

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The European Union has and continues to place human rights and democracy at the heart of its external relations, namely through its activities in the UN human rights system. With the ongoing criticism about the inadequacies of the UN Commission on Human Rights Kofi Annan recommended that this ailing body be replaced with a new and more effective Human Rights Council. In light of the European Union’s desire to further human rights and democracy across the globe it rapidly got involved in playing an active and visible role in the overarching UN human rights reform process. Negotiations for establishing the Human Rights Council in addition to the deliberations of the mandated working groups outlining the details and modalities of the Council involved making difficult and demanding decisions. The different opinions and positions not only led to a delayed inception but also generated concerns that the new Council would not be any more efficient or credible than its predecessor. Many have claimed that its first operational year has produced disappointing results by not taking more concrete action regarding countries facing dire human rights crises such as Zimbabwe. In contrast, others argue that in its first year the Council did achieve a number of successes including the modalities of the Universal Periodic Review process, the review of UN Special Procedures, the adoption of the codes of conduct for mandate holders in addition to the adoption of a number of resolutions of great importance in the Council’s plenary.

The European Union actively participated in each phase and in all areas of the Human Rights Council from the setting up process to engaging in the sometimes arduous negotiations of both procedural and substantive matters. While it has indeed been successful in the workings of some areas the EU’s shortcomings have recently overshadowed its achievements. The following study explores the role of the EU in the Human Rights Council from the setting-up process to its contributions in the review of the UN Special Procedures, the UPR process and the plenary sessions since the Council’s inception. Following the highlighting of both the EU’s achievements and shortcomings the study concludes with five core recommendations that have the potential to help rectify the challenges currently faced by the European Union in the
Human Rights Council.

Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
Additional Information: This work was presented to the subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament.
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Law and Politics
Item ID: 4299
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Dr Nadia Bernaz
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2010 13:52
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2021 09:48

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