29 November 2016
The use of force by law enforcement agencies has been high on the agenda of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) for many years.
Our new In-Brief Use of Force in Law Enforcement and the Right to Life: The Role of the Human Rights Council draws from the discussions of our first Global Expert Seminar on the Right to Life. It examines how the right to life is affected by law enforcement agencies’ use of force and identifies how the HRC could further promote respect for international standards governing policing.
The In-Brief also addresses many questions discussed in the HRC: What are the main standards and how are they understood? Do they enjoy widespread support among states and international organizations, including during counter-terrorism operations? Would it be warranted to set out in more detail how the standards should be applied?
Based on the research undertaken, this In-Brief suggests areas for action by the HRC. The author notably suggests that the HRC can promote the implementation of existing international standards governing the use of firearms by law enforcement through its special procedures and by providing a space for discussion. The new Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions could take the lead on these issues early in her mandate, following the important 2014 report on use of force during policing.
Given his expertise, the new Special Rapporteur on torture, Dr Nils Melzer, could contribute to the current debate on use of firearms and less-lethal weapons by the submission of a report on the use of force by law enforcement officials early in his mandate. This report would be valuable to clarify under what circumstances the use of firearms amounts to torture.
This In-Brief was written by Dr Stuart Casey-Maslen, Honorary Professor at the Law Faculty, University of Pretoria.
We gratefully acknowledge the funding for this In-Brief provided by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Olivier Chamard / Geneva Academy
During one week, 14 academics from five countries deepened their knowledge and expertise of United Nations human rights mechanisms during a customized training course co-organized with the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights of the University of Oslo.
Jointly with the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions, Dr Agnes Callamard, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Geneva Academy organized an Expert Meeting on a ‘Gender Sensitive Approach to Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings’.
To launch our new publication on persons with disabilities and armed conflict, we host a joint-panel with the ICRC to explore the impact of armed conflict on persons with disabilities.
The first Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform will focus on the connectivity of human rights mechanisms.
UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré
This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.
This research aims at building a common understanding and vision as to how states and the relevant parts of the UN system can provide a concrete and practical framework to address human rights responsibilities of armed non-state actors.
Olivier Chamard / Geneva Academy
The Treaty Body Members’ Platform connects experts in UN treaty bodies with each other as well as with Geneva-based practitioners, academics and diplomats to share expertise, exchange views on topical questions and develop synergies.