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Contemporary and future human rights challenges [WP954]

This conference discussed the following points:

  • Preparations for the April 2009 Durban Review Conference, which will take place eight years after the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, ophobia and Related Intolerance
  • The Human Rights Council Review to be held in 2011
  • Contemporary and future human rights challenges, including the relationship between the freedoms of expression and of religion, and setting a future human rights agenda

Key points:

  • The continued need for improved implementation of human rights, in which independent national human rights institutions can play a crucial role, in protection as well as human rights promotion.
  • The importance of strengthening UN cooperation and coordination with regional human rights organisations.
  • The importance of mainstreaming human rights in the range of UN activities, and integrating human rights considerations into government policy making in areas such as development and conflict prevention; (while this has been discussed over a number of years, progress is generally considered to be slow).
  • The need to tackle the gap in communication and understanding which appears to exist between government delegations at the UN in Geneva and New York, as divergence in interpretation of how to address issues, including the review of the Human Rights Council (HRC) and the Durban Review Conference, is damaging.
  • The need to introduce greater human rights expertise into the work of the HRC generally, and the Universal Periodic Review in particular.
  • The need to have more cross-regional human rights initiatives, and for all governments to take an active part, and make their views known, in human rights fora.

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