The 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council and the 77th session of the General Assembly saw some interesting developments. In the face of an ever changing international order with The Russian invasion of Ukraine, the revitalization of NATO and Western diplomacy, the renewal of the negotiations of the Iran Nuclear Deal, and most recently a further consolidation of Xi Jinping’s borderline absolute control over China, certain key voting results in the field of diplomacy and human rights left a lot to analyse, and strangely enough for those of us who decided to dedicate our careers to this challenging field, it may have even left us with an unusual sense of optimism.
At the Human Rights Council, two major resolutions whose approval remained uncertain due to the political changes in Latin America and the increasingly divided political landscape of international human rights managed to triumph. The renewal of the International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela and the brand mechanism to investigate violations in Russia (meaning inside the Russian territory, and not violations committed by the Russian military in Ukraine, which will be investigated separately) represent two important victories for Western countries and their allies. However, another important initiative that followed a first-of-its-kind OHCHR report on the situation of human rights in Xinjiang – a resolution on the situation of Uyghurs in China – was rejected.
But probably most significant of all was the General Assembly’s decision to deliver yet another diplomatic defeat to the Venzuelan government of Nicolás Maduro, and after years of campaigning by activists and diplomats Venezuela was not elected as a member of the Human Rights Council, as it was defeated by Chile and Costa Rica.
At Vision 360 we strive to do thorough analyses to help you better interpret the news and identify the opportunities you can seize to bring about the changes you want to see. So we ask, what do these developments mean? We continue to see the results of an increasingly mobilized Western diplomacy, pushing for further accountability and for preventing the removal of an important investigation mechanism and the presence of a clearly unfit member in the Council.
Civil society around the world has played a major role to bring about this changes, and it will keep having an important place in the international diplomatic arena. That’s why, a well-prepared civil society, with members that have the training and the tools to walk the hallways of international organisations and that makes the most of the opportunities they get to engage with high level officials is essential. And that’s where we can help you.
It is worth wondering if these and the resolution on Russia would’ve happened if Putin hadn’t attacked Ukraine and brought about an unprecedented degree of diplomatic isolation and a stronger-than-expected reaction from the West. But even if we believe they wouldn’t have happened, making the most of the highly fluctuating international context and understanding the trends is key for an effective advocacy strategy.