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Reforming the Un Commission on Human Rights

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Chapter Summary

The Annan years have witnessed a succession of attacks on the appearance of ostensibly 'political' abuses within the United Nations (UN) human rights institutions. Reform is an enticing concept, and this chapter is a cautionary response to one of the most common aspects of the otherwise contradictory recipes offered for change, the contention that less politics will necessarily mean more human rights protection. In the latest reform programme announced in December 2004, the UN secretary-general's 'High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Changes' called for reform of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). The chapter emphasises the need to explore the territory between the intergovernmentalist and idealist poles through reflection on the extent to which pragmatic 'political' calculations have been a necessary element of the development within the UN of the will to make advances to the consensus on universal respect for human rights.

Keywords: Commission on Human Rights (CHR); human rights institutions; intergovernmentalist poles; reform programme; United Nations (UN)



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