13th Annual Ruth Steinkraus-Cohen International Law Lecture
held in association with the International Committee of the Bar Council of England & Wales
and the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, School of Oriental & African Studies
'The United Nations Special Procedures system and
the challenges of human rights implementation'
Dr Ahmed Shaheed
UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Kofi Annan has called the UN Special Procedures system the "crown jewel" of the UN’s human rights machinery. Seventy nine experts report on 50 procedures covering a wide range of thematic issues and focus on a number of countries of concern. These mechanism were not envisaged in the UN charter, emerging in response to egregious human rights violations. However, the system is under stress from political pressure within the UN Human Rights Council and also through severe resource constraints and deficits in the mainstreaming of human rights.
Dr Shaheed will argue for greater use of the special procedures system, including closer integration into the Rights Up Front framework proposed by Ban Ki moon in 2013. The system’s primary function of holding governments to account must be safeguarded and the global challenges in promoting international compliance with human rights must be confronted.
Dr Shaheed is also the Chairperson of the Geneva-based international human rights think-tank, Universal Rights Group. He was Foreign Minister of the Maldives from 2005 to 2007 and from 2008 to 2010, and led the country’s efforts to sign and ratify the major international human rights Conventions and related optional protocols, and to implement them in law and practice.