From ‘crown jewel’ to ‘Frankenstein’s monster’: reviewing, rationalising and improving the role of the UN special procedures

Rhona Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Kofi Annan famously referred to the special procedures as the ‘crown jewel’ of the human rights system, urging the Human Rights Council to strengthen and protect them. Lyal Sunga, on the other hand, comments that ‘the Commission’s bold, beautiful and well-intentioned experiment to monitor serious human rights violations eventually ended up like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster’. With the Human Rights Council continuing its review, rationalisation and improvement of the system in 2011, it is timely to evaluate the role of the special procedures within the international human rights system. Inevitably, those elements indicative of a crown jewel are paradoxically also ‘monster’ characteristics, depending on one’s standpoint. Irrespective, it is necessary now to clarify the role of the special procedures and ensure that mandate holders have sufficient international support to discharge their duties. Taming the monster should not tarnish the jewel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-58
JournalAustralian Journal of Human Rights
Volume17
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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