Following the UK's election to the Human Rights Council, the UN's primary forum for the promotion and protection of human rights, UNA-UK has published a report entitled The UK's role on the UN Human Rights Council: Priorities for the UK's 2014-16 term.
The UK has been a strong advocate for the Council since its establishment and has previously served two terms on the body. Its welcome return comes at an interesting point in the Council's development, which is experiencing both positive momentum and traditional divisions.
This is a useful time to take stock of recent developments in Geneva, assess some of the constraints and opportunities the UK is likely to face and provide recommendations for its 2014-16 term. These focus on three key areas:
- Strengthening the Human Rights Council's mechanisms, such as the Universal Periodic Review and the Special Procedures
- Leading by example, setting best practice and raising the level of ambition within the Council
- Stimulating change on the ground by securing effective, tangible human rights outcomes
The report has been issued to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the UK Mission to the UN in Geneva, and will form the basis of much of UNA-UK's human rights advocacy over the course of the next three years. Written as part of the Association's Fairer World policy area, the report builds on UNA-UK's five-year review of the Council conducted in 2011, and will contribute to the programme's aims of:
- Raising public awareness of the UN’s human rights mechanisms
- Improving civil society access to and engagement with these mechanisms
- Encouraging the UK to lead by example at the Human Rights Council