Historical first: Israeli professor to chair UN Human Rights Committee

Not to be confused with UN Human Rights Commission or UN Human Rights Council, the UN Human Rights Committee has just elected an Israeli human rights professor to lead the body of 18 experts.

By i24NEWS


For the first time in its history, the UN Human Rights Committee has elected an Israeli to lead the body, a statement from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem said on Tuesday.

Yuval Shany, who is the Hersch Lauterpacht Chair in Public International Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was elected unanimously by the UN body’s 18 experts who oversee the implementation of “the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its State parties.”

Yuval Shany, Israeli expert on human rights – Screenshot: YouTube

According to the Human Rights Committee, the 18 independent experts “are persons of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights.”

“Currently, the UN’s Human Rights Committee faces several challenges, chiefly that we live in an international climate that no longer supports human rights.  As head of the committee, I hope to harness its positive and apolitical influence to secure human rights for all citizens of the world,” Shany said after being elected.

The UN body is often confused with the Human Rights Council, which Shany commented on in an interview with Army Radio on Tuesday morning.

“If I had a shekel for every time that people confuse between the two bodies my financial situation would be different,” he said jokingly.

Shany, said that the election had required “conversations, a little lobbying… it wasn’t very dramatic or very interesting.”

“Global politics plays much less of a role (in the professional committee). People are chosen — quite surprisingly in that environment — according to their suitability for the position,” Shany added.

The committee meets three times a year for a four-week session where they review reports submitted by countries on their adherence to the covenant.

Bahrain is due to face the committee today, and Algeria is up next week.


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