Event information

26 February 2021, 15:30-17:00

Downloads

Flyer >

The US’ Return to the UN Human Rights Council

Human Rights Conversations

Human Rights Council Special Session on Cote D'Ivoire, Dec. 23, 2010 Human Rights Council Special Session on Cote D'Ivoire, Dec. 23, 2010

Join us online for our first Human Rights Conversation of the year to discuss what the United States’ return to the UN Human Rights Council means for the work of the Council and the overall promotion and protection of human rights.

On 8 February, United States (US) Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced that the US will ‘reengage immediately and robustly with the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council’, stating that ‘it is our view that the best way to improve the Council is to engage with it and its members in a principled fashion. We strongly believe that when the US engages constructively with the Council, in concert with our allies and friends, positive change is within reach’.

What does this return of the US as an observer to the Human Rights Council (HCR) mean for the work of the Council and the overall promotion and protection of human rights?

Back in 2018, we discussed the legal implications of the US’s withdrawal of the Council. Now, at a time when the global crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical tensions are making strong stands on human rights even more necessary, we want to turn to the political and institutional questions about its re-engagement.

This panel discussion will look into the priorities of the US in the HRC, see what their re-engagement could mean for a number of substantive initiatives and resolutions, and the institutional importance of this reengagement, including the implications for the political weight of the UN’s main human rights organ. The discussion will also touch upon the impact that the US participation might have on the 2021-2026 HRC review process, to be undertaken by the UN General Assembly. With no country currently formally abstaining from the HRC, panelists will also discuss whether this is a moment to strengthen the understanding of, and agreement on the universality of human rights.

Moderator

  • Felix Kirchmeier, Executive Director, Geneva Human Rights Platform (GHRP)

Panelists

  • Mark Cassayre, Chargé d’Affairs, US Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva
  • Sarah Cleveland, Professor, Columbia University and member of the GHRP Advisory Board
  • Jürg Lauber, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN in Geneva

About the Human Rights Conversations

Human Rights Conversations are a series of events, hosted by the Geneva Human Rights Platform, aimed at discussing contemporary issues and challenges related to the promotion and protection of human rights in Geneva and beyond.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

135 session of the Human Rights Committee, June 2022 News

The Geneva Human Rights Platform Welcomes Major Breakthrough for UN Treaty Bodies

28 June 2022

At their 34th Annual Meeting, Chairpersons of UN treaty bodies agreed on a predictable review schedule of eight years.

Read more

Panel at the 2022 Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platrform News

GHRP Annual Conference Tackles Digitalization and Human Rights

15 November 2022

The 2022 Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform addressed the issue of digital connectivity in the field of human rights via an expert meeting in the morning and a public discussion in the afternoon.

Read more

Session of the UN Human Rights Committee Project

Treaty Body Review 2020 and Beyond

Started in January 2018

The Geneva Human Rights Platform contributes to this review process by providing expert input via different avenues, by facilitating dialogue on the review among various stakeholders, as well as by accompanying the development of a follow-up resolution to 68/268 in New York and in Geneva.

Read more

Flyer presenting the Geneva Human Rights Platform with other publications of the Geneva Academy on display Project

GHRP Fridays

Started in January 2019

The GHRP Fridays provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss the results of the United Nations (UN) Treaty Body (TB) 2020 Review and practical ways to implement change.

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

Implementing the Treaty Body Review 2020 – Where do we stand

published on August 2022

Felix Kirchmeier, Domenico Zipoli

Read more

cover of the publication Publication

Promoting Quality Independent and Diverse Treaty Body Membership

published on November 2021

Claire Callejon

Read more