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The new COST Action "The Role of the EU in the UN Human Rights Reform" builds upon the cooperation of the AHRI network (Association of Human Rights Institutes) in the framework of the former COST Action "Human Rights, Peace and Security in EU Foreign Policy". The new project started at the end of 2008, the official start-up meeting of the Management Committee took place in Utrecht, Netherlands in February 2009.

About COST

COST is an intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology, allowing the coordination of nationally-funded research on a European level. COST contributes to reducing the fragmentation in European research investments and opening the European Research Area to cooperation worldwide.

ISCH Action IS0702 The Role of the EU in the Human Rights Reform

The main objective of the Action is to increase and consolidate knowledge of the ongoing process of institutional, structural, and procedural reforms of the United Nations human rights system, so as to recommend standpoints for the European Union in this process working towards strengthening the protection of human rights world-wide.

The United Nations is involved in the promotion of human rights in a number of areas, particularly through the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and the newly established Human Rights Council. The European Union has great interest in the outcome of the reforms underway in both these central institutions. These include the building up of a totally new institution of universal periodic review and the ambitious reform of the human rights treaty bodies system. However, the new political power balance in the Council and the existing dangers to a fundamental reform of the treaty body system pose far-reaching challenges to the role of and contribution by the EU. This Action deals with a concrete and topical issue of great importance for EU internal and external policy in an important area. It is moreover an Action with an innovative central component: strengthen the treaty body system with the establishment of a world court of human rights.

For research on the position and possibilities of the EU in human rights reform three working groups have been established., that are being monitored by a Management Committee (MC), consisting of representatives of each of the participating institutes.

COST Policy Meeting on the Role of the EU in UN Human Rights Reform

Following the international final conference of the COST Action IS0702 “The Role of the EU in UN Human Rights Reform” in September 2012 in Vienna, where the recommendations of the COST Action where finalized and presented, a meeting took place in Brussels now where these final recommendations where discussed with policy makers from the EU. Please find the final recommendations here.

“The role of the EU in UN human rights reform”

On March 12th 2013 at 11am Manfred Nowak will present the final recommendations of the COST Action IS0702 regarding “The role of the EU in UN human rights reform” together with Wolfgang Benedek (Director of the European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Graz (ETC)), Wouter Vandenhole (Chair in Human Rights - UNICEF Chair in Children‘s Rights, University of Antwerp), Jan Wouters (Jean Monnet Chair and Professor of International Law, Director of Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven), in Brussels in the EEAS Capital building to COHOM (human rights working group) und EEAS (European External Action Service) of the EU.


Empower Human Rights!

Final Conference of the COST Action IS0702 “The Role of the EU in UN Human Rights Reform”, 13th AHRI (Association of Human Rights Institutes) Conference
10-12 September 2012, Vienna

For many years the United Nations has been discussing the need of strengthening the protection and implementation of human rights by inter alia mainstreaming human rights in all policy areas, developing partnerships with business corporations, treaty body and Human Rights Council reform. Traditionally, the European Union has been one of the most outspoken advocates of a stronger role of human rights in the United Nations architecture. With the Arab Spring and other more recent reform movements the UN seems to be ready for stronger action to protect human rights.