The human rights regime is criticised for various reasons, like being elitist and imperialistic in its universal claims, ignorant to local customs; ineffective in protecting the most vulnerable, and unable to adequately address challenges arising from inequality and climate change. The codification of human rights in global governance has not always been driven by actors with the best interests for individuals in mind, and hostage-taking of human rights by states, international institutions, and non-state actors is widely observable. Yet, human rights remain relevant for the lives of billions of individuals around the globe. For these individuals, the codification of human rights nevertheless presents a basis on which to articulate their demands for justice.
The question is where – in which actors, in which processes – to place hopes for their future ability to address political, economic, and social challenges. The United Nations human rights system faces current challenges with a limited budget and an increased workload. To clarify obligations under these circumstances, the independent experts serving on the treaty bodies and holding Special Procedures mandates of the Human Rights Council rely on support from external collaborators to give meaning to issues as central to international human rights as the right to water, peaceful assembly, torture, or hate speech. In that sense, their interpretations, reports, and guidelines attempt to make rights right – and account for weaknesses in global human rights governance.
This panel brings together scholars and practitioners to discuss the future role of the United Nations human rights expert institutions. Based on the findings of the book “Transnational Lawmaking Coalitions for Human Rights” (CUP 2022), the panelists bring in their perspectives on the limits and opportunities of experts and their collaborators to address global challenges on human rights.
Nina Reiners, Postdoctoral researcher, Free University of Berlin
Annabelle Littoz-Monnet, Professor, International Relations/Political Science and Director of the Global Governance Centre, the Graduate Institute
panel of critics
Miia Halme-Tuomisaari, Associate Professor in Human Rights Studies, Lund University
Felix Kirchmeier, Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform and Manager of Policy Studies, Geneva Academy
Ludovic Hennebel, Director of the Institute for International Humanitarian Studies; Director of Aix Global Justice - Human Rights Law Clinic and Expert Member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR)
Ana Maria Suárez-Franco, Accountability Coordinator / Permanent Representative in Geneva, FIAN International
Livingstone Sewanyana, UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order
Please note that attendance in person is limited to 32 people, seats will be attributed on a first come first serve basis.