The Role of the EU in UN Human Rights Reform
For many years the United Nations have been discussing the need of strengthening the protection and implementation of human rights. Traditionally, the European Union has been one of the most outspoken advocates of a stronger role of human rights in the UN architecture. With the Arab Spring, the Occupy Wall Street Movement and other more recent waves of reforms time seems to be ripe for developing a UN Human Rights Agenda for the 21st century.
25 years after the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, which established the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and defined the UN human rights programme after the end of the Cold War, another World Conference on Human Rights in 2018 might be crucial in preparing a future-oriented Human Rights Agenda. The high-level international conference ‘Empower Human Rights’ on the role of the EU in UN human rights reform provided a forum where human rights experts from the leading European academic networks (e.g., Association of Human Rights Institutes-AHRI) discussed the key findings of their research projects with high-level representatives of the UN and EU.
These debates also included practical policy recommendations to the EU, UN and member states. Additionally, the PhD training school ‘Empowerment through Human Rights’ was part of the conference where students presented their innovative theses of various disciplines related to human rights.