The International Council on Human Rights Policy (ICHRP), an independent, non-profit research organization, based in Geneva until 2012, addressed the challenges of translating international human rights principles into a real policy framework. The Council was created to “address the dilemmas and challenges of applying human rights principles and standards in real policy contexts.” Its founding board included internationally recognized human rights advocates, including Thomas Hammarberg, Philip Alston, Hina Jilani, Abdullahi An-Na’im, Ligia Bolivar and Virginia Leary.
From the start, the Council adopted a consciously international and interdisciplinary approach and, over fourteen years of work, created an impressive body of sound and adventurous reports and working papers. The teams that the Council put together addressed a very wide range of challenging questions –ranging from the human rights accountability of companies, climate change and local government decentralisation to legal claims based on culture, rights in regard to sexuality and national human rights institutions.
Robert Archer, the former Executive Director of the Council, has now donated a collection of the reports to the library of the UN Human Rights Office.
Archer, a member of the steering group of 3-D Human Rights and Trade in Geneva and a chair of the expert group on human rights of the Global Governance Initiative, describes the ICHRP’s work as “international, interdisciplinary, pragmatic but legally exact”.
“Many of the reports broke new ground, and provide helpful context for current analysis,” Archer said during the donation ceremony, which was held on 15 August at the Library of the UN Human Rights Office. “I believe they will set the standard for what will come next.”
Although the ICHRP closed its doors in 2012 due to financial reasons, the collection of exemplary knowledge products remains accessible to human rights advocates.
Accepting the donation on behalf of the Office, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Flavia Pansieri, expressed her appreciation for the donation.
“The value and knowledge in these reports will help us develop and grow,” Pansieri said. The publications will be kept alive because they will offer pointers to those who read them and will present a historical perspective, she said.
The donation of reports will add to the library’s comprehensive and growing collection of books, reports, periodicals, videos and DVDs on human rights issues and training tools. It will advance the library’s aim of publicizing ways one can promote and protect human rights worldwide.
Marcia V.J. Kran, Director Head of the Research and Right to Development Division at the UN Human Rights Office, said she was hopeful the considerable knowledge transmitted by eminent human rights advocates through quality reports, will continue to be referred to and utilized.
OHCHR staff members, members of human rights mechanisms, UN Member States’ delegates, NGOs, as well as members of the general public will have access to the hard copies of these reports in the OHCHR library. In addition, the OHCHR Library catalogue will provide links to the online reports available on the ICHRP website.
2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Human Rights, which led to the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and the establishment of a High Commissioner for Human Rights. Its creation gave a new impetus to the recognition of human rights principles which has seen fundamental progress in the promotion and protection of human rights.
15 August 2013