International Law Society

Global Issues Symposium


The International Law Society cordially invites you to New York City for its annual Global Issues Symposium

The United Nations and Three Challenges of the 21st Century

Peace and Security
The Promotion of Human Rights
The Reduction of Poverty


Thursday, March 29, 2007 · NYU School of Law · Lipton Hall, 108 West third Street


Panel Discussion 2: The Promotion of Human Rights



The Secretary General's report states that “the notion of larger freedom also encapsulates the idea that development, security and human rights go hand in hand.”  This report links the rule of law, human rights, and democracy and encourages “any Government that has not done so to ratify and implement all treaties relating to the protection of civilians.”  The General Assembly resolution reaffirms that “all human rights are universal, indivisible, interrelated, interdependent and mutually reinforcing,” and it resolves “to strengthen the United Nations human rights machinery.”  In particular, the resolution states the goal of strengthening the Office of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, and it mentions “the doubling of its regular budget resources over the next five years with a view to progressively setting a balance between regular budget and voluntary contributions to its resources.”  The resolution also mentions the “right to development” as a human right.  Also to be noted is a commitment “to discussing and defining the notion of human security in the General Assembly,” and, in a different domain, “to present for adoption a final draft United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.”

The reform of the UN human rights system has so far included the creation of a Human Rights Council to replace the Commission on Human Rights.  The Council has 47 members, as compared to the 53-member Commission. Members of the Commission were elected by the Economic and Social Council, whereas members of the Human Rights Council are elected by the General Assembly.  An absolute majority is required for this election. Additionally, a new universal periodic review mechanism of the human rights practices of Member States is to be put in place.


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