Workshop: The role of the Special Rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council in the development and promotion of international human rights

The Centre for International Governance at the University of Leeds will host a research workshop on “The role of the Special Rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council in the development and promotion of international human rights,” June 24-25, 2010. Here’s the program:

    Session 1: Further musings of a UN special rapporteur on human rights

    Professor Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro (Commissioner and Rapporteur on Children, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, formerly Special Rapporteur for Burundi and for Myanmar).

    Session 2: The Human Rights Council and the Special Rapporteurs

    Professor Lyal S. Sunga (Visiting Professor, Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Lund, Sweden), ‘The Role of NGOs in UN Human Rights Special Procedures, Treaty Bodies and Field Presences in Relation to ICC Fact-Finding’.

    Professor Rhona Smith (Northumbria), ‘The possibilities of an independent Special Rapporteur scheme?’

    Session 3: The Working Methods of a Special Rapporteur

    Professor Sir Nigel Rodley (Essex, formerly Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment), ‘On the Responsibility of Special Rapporteurs’

    Professor Javaid Rehman (Brunel), ‘Complexities in promoting and protecting Freedom of Religion, and the Role of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion’

    Ted Piccone (Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings Institution, Washington, DC), ‘Strengthening The Working Methods of the Special Rapporteurs’.

    Session 4: The role of Country Mandate Holders

    Professor Vitit Muntharborn (Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok and Special Rapporteur for North Korea, previously Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography), ‘The Role of the UN Special Procedures (Special Rapporteur et al): Challenges of a Country Mandate’.

    Professor Surya Subedi (Leeds University and Special Rapporteur for Cambodia), ‘The Experience of the UN Special Rapporteur in a Country in Transition: A Case Study of Cambodia’.

    Professor John Packer (Essex, and formerly Director of the Office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights), ‘Developing an effective Special Rapporteur regime; Reflections from Practice’.

    Session 5: The role of Special Rapporteurs in Developing International Law

    Professor Claire Mahon (Graduate Institute, Geneva), ‘The impact of the UN Special Procedures on the development of Economic Social and Cultural rights’.

    Mr. Paul O’Connell (Leicester), ‘Catalytic Conversers: The Role of Special Rapporteurs in Advancing Awareness, Understanding and Protection of Human Rights’.

    Allehone Mulugeta Abede (First Secretary, Ethiopian mission to the United Nations in Geneva), ‘Special Procedures and the development of a legal framework on the human rights of internal displacement’.

    Session 6: Conclusions, reflections, recommendations

And here’s the idea:

    The importance of the Special Rapporteur system appears evident, yet there is no consensus on good or best practice in the way that mandates should be carried out or the extent or limits of the responsibilities of governments to assist Special Rapporteurs. Moreover, there is limited systematic scholarly examination of the nature and impact of the role of the Special Rapporteur in international law. It is then timely to examine the role of the Special Rapporteurs in the development and promotion of international human rights norms. The research workshop brings together existing and previous Special Rapporteurs, civil society actors and academics working in this area to examine the role (or roles) of the Special Rapporteurs.

    Key themes include the following: The Working Methods of a Special Rapporteur; The Human Rights Council and the Special Rapporteurs; The role of country mandate holders; The role of Special Rapporteurs in developing international law.

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