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Follow the negotiations of UN Human Rights Council resolutions relevant for local and regional governments

October 17, 2022 3:00 pm
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The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) adopts numerous resolutions during each session, including resolutions of relevance for local and regional governments (LRGs) in many areas: education, good governance, water and sanitation, housing, inclusion, gender, climate and the environment, digitalisation. These resolutions provide standards and action plans for the UN system and Member States.

The Geneva Cities Hub has started to follow negotiations of UN HRC resolutions which are of relevance to LRGs (see below) and would like to invite interested LRGs to an informal event to analyse these resolutions and explore how they can be of use by LRGs.

 

The UN Human Rights Council (HRC), the main UN inter-governmental body responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights, is holding its 51st session in Geneva until 7th October 2022. The session will close with the adoption of draft resolutions on 6-7 October, among which several are relevant to local and regional governments.

HRC resolutions are documents reflecting the resolve or common will of the international community on a particular issue. They constitute the principal output of the UN HRC. Although they are not legally binding for Member States, HRC resolutions have considerable political force. States are thus expected to comply with them, and failure to do so can have an impact of their international standing. HRC resolutions are however binding for the UN system and UN entities have to comply with decisions taken therein.

During the HRC 51st session, the GCH has promoted language referring to LRGs’ role in the promotion and protection of human rights. The objective is that Member States, UN entities and civil society gradually take into consideration the role, priorities and interests of LRGs in international human rights diplomacy.

 

A conversation with Eric Tistounet, Chief of the Human Rights Council Branch, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Gyoung Min Yong, 2nd Secretary, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea in Geneva.

 

As a result, the following resolutions include for the first-time language related to LRGs:

 

World Programme for Human Rights Education requests action “at all levels” (OP5) for the first time. This is important as this language de facto includes LRGs, similarly to other international instruments, such as the Paris or Glasgow agreements on climate change. It reads; “Encourages States and all other stakeholders to strengthen efforts to advance the implementation of all phases of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, at all levels”;

Promoting international cooperation to support national mechanisms for implementation, reporting and follow-up  uses again the term “all levels” for the first time: Encourages States to establish or strengthen national mechanisms for implementation, reporting and follow-up for further compliance with human rights obligations and commitments, and to share good practices and experiences in their use for the elaboration of public policies and plans, at all levels, with a human rights approach (OP1)“;

The role of good governance in the promotion and protection of human rights, contains for the first part a call for action “on all levels” in its OP 14. This is important, as it calls upon the United Nations and its Secretary General to work at all levels. It also mentions “all levels” and Agenda 2030 in its preamble.  It reads: “Invites the Secretary-General to ensure the upholding of the integrity of the United Nations system in its service to humanity, and improved coordination between United Nations agencies, programmes and funds, with a view to ensuring that the United Nations system continues to improve the quality of its work at all levels, including in support of objectives and priorities at the national level”;

 

Finally, the most important resolution for LRGs:

 

Local Government and human rights is the unique UN resolution dedicated to the subject of local governments and human rights. It provides the mandate to the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights to work with others, including UN-Habitat to empower the capacities of local governments. Moreover, this resolution paves the way for LRGs to participate in the work of the HRC, and in particular the UPR.*

 

*The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a State-driven process that reviews the human rights records of all UN Member States. Given that a lot of human rights are protected and fulfilled at local level, notably through public services provided by LRGs, the GCH supports their participation in the UPR, both at the national and international levels.

 

Follow the link to register.