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Human Rights and Democracy

Read this publicationTowards a Framework of Universal Sustainability Goals as Part of a Post-2015 Agenda

Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives

What comes after the MDGs? The Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspective contributes to the recent debate on a Post-2015 Development Agenda and its fusion with the UN's Sustainability Agenda by suggesting a political framework für global sustainabilty goals. The framework consists of a list of universal goals applying also for the global North, universal principles and values as their basis, a program for a »structural transformation« of the economic system to overcome the exploitation of natural resources and global ecosystems and a monitoring mechanism based on the UPR-system of the UN Human Rights Council.

Perspective, FES Berlin, May 2013

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Read this publicationTowards a Framework Convention on the Right to Development

Koen de Feyter

On 4 December 1986, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Right to Development. According to the Declaration, the right to development entitles every human person and all peoples to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy development, in which all human rights can be fully realized. The problem of how to realize this resolution and whether a legally binding standard might be useful and politically enforceable, is highly controversial. Koen De Feyter argues for a framework convention on the Right to Development which could complement the current human rights regime with a treaty that goes beyond individual State responsibility and takes inspiration from principles derived from international development efforts, such as mutual accountability, alignment of policies among partner countries, and inclusive partnerships.

International Policy Analysis, FES Geneva, April 2013

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Open this new publicationEquality and justice in healthcare? TRIPS and more: Current Arrangements for Exploitation rights to medical patents

Christiane Fischer

Patents on medical products constitute one of the chief impediments to people in developing countries receiving access to vital medication. They cause prices to skyrocket and inhibit low-priced production. WTO arrangements on patent protection for medical products are set out in the TRIPS Agreement. The TRIPS Agreement primarily safeguards the interests of pharmaceutical companies by guaranteeing high sales prices for years. At the same time, TRIPS provides for several possibilities to ensure access to essential medication and circumvent the patent system. Instead of abolishing TRIPS, pressure should be applied to use and magnify these possibilities in a purposeful manner.

Perspective, FES Berlin, February 2013

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Read this publicationPerformance and Challenges of the UN Human Rights Council
An NGO's View

Theodor Rathgeber

This paper examines the possibilities the civil society and its stakeholders have to contribute to the better functioning of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). It analyzes how NGO lobbying can make use of the dynamics of the cross-regional initiatives within the HRC, the UN Special Procedures and the confidential HRC Complaint Mechanism. The author examines these issues with special regard to certain states and topics such as freedom of religion. From a Southern Perspective, the paper finally addresses the challenge to built mutual trust among states, regional groups and NGOs.

FES International Policy Analysis, FES Geneva, February 2013

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Read this publicationAn Evaluation of the First Cycle of the New UPR Mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council

Edward R. McMahon

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the purpose of which is to deepen respect for human rights through the provision of feedback to member states on their human rights performance, has concluded its first cycle. By March 2012, all member states of the United Nations have been reviewed under the UPR mechanism. On the positive side, state participation has been excellent. In many cases, the UPR resulted in heightened communication and dialogue between governments and non-state actors. It also created a baseline set of documentation.

FES Study, FES Geneva, September 2012

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New Prospects for Human Rights?
The Human Rights Council between the Review Process and the Arab Spring
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Theodor Rathgeber

The UN Human Rights Council’s review process has resulted in very limited progress. Unfortunately, more forceful tools for a better operational functioning have not been taken up. Judged in normative terms and on the basis of the corresponding expectations of rights holders and victims, the outcome of the review does not contain any fundamental novelties. Contrary to the shortcomings of the review, the actual evolution of the HRC’s functioning within the context of the Arab Spring reveals a bundle of new or modified procedures that are potent enough to bring the HRC’s functioning more into line with its mandate.

FES International Policy Analysis, FES Geneva, März 2012

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A Human Rights-based Approach to Climate FinanceRead this publication

Alyssa Johl and Yves Lador

In the context of climate finance, a human rights-based approach ensures that rights considerations are taken into account in the development, implementation, and monitoring of relevant processes and institutions, including the UNFCCC's newly established Green Climate Fund. To advance rights protections in the global climate finance architecture, it is essential that climate finance mechanisms establish institutional safeguard systems that effectively prevent social and environmental harm, promote sustainable development, and maximise participation, transparency, accountability, equity, and rights protections.

FES International Policy Analysis, FES Geneva, February 2012

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Read this publication Elections as Milestones and Stumbling Blocks for Peaceful Democratic Consolidations

Jack Snyder

Post-conflict elections mark a turning point in the recovery and reconstruction of countries emerging from civil war. For some, the first post-conflict election ushers them across a threshold towards the consolidation of peace and democracy, but for
all too many, the first election serves as a revolving door, spinning them back into war and authoritarianism. Recent examples of peaceful democratic transitions show that countries with conducive conditions, such as competent and impartial state institutions, have a good chance of not relapsing into violent conflict. Additional facilitating conditions include the absence of deep identity-based divisions within society, prior experience with democracy and a fairly high level of economic development.

FES International Policy Analysis, FES Berlin, September 2010

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Read this publication The Role of Elections in Emerging Democracies and Post-Conflict Countries: Key Issues, Lessons Learned and Dilemmas

Winrich Kühne

Elections have become a major factor in the stabilisation and democratisation of emerging democracies and post-conflict countries. More than a dozen such elections will take place in 2010 and early 2011. However, the risk of a relapse into war and
violence is considerable. Elections in these countries are a tightrope walk between
war and peace, stability and instability. But there is no iron law according to which elections are doomed to fail. There have been a number of success stories in the past two decades. Such elections can be conducted successfully if important lessons are taken seriously and implemented.

FES International Policy Analysis, FES Berlin, August 2010

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Read the Occasional Paper by Marion Prizzon Trade and Labor Migration: GATS Mode 4 and Migration Agreements

Marion Panizzon

Marion Panizzon, a distinct expert on trade law, looks into the reality and potential of GATS Mode 4 to unleash and manage global labor mobility. From the recently evolving bilateral migration treaties she derives the ingredients that Mode 4 would need to incorporate to maximize the dividends associated with labor migration for the individual migrants and their countries of origin and destination alike.

DoG Occasional Paper No. 47, FES Geneva, January 2010

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Read the Briefing PaperNew Approaches to Democracy Support

Marc Saxer

This briefing paper is based on the findings of two workshops on “New Challenges of Democracy Promotion,” in Berlin and Brussels where FES invited German and European experts and practitioners to discuss the theoretical foundations of democracy support and a new orientation of approaches and strategies. Popular theses like the "authoritarian reverse wave" and the "democratic performance gap" are critically reviewed. Marc Saxer then presents three strategic suggestions to use dwindling resources more effective: focus on the comparative advantages of individual democracy supporters; develop sub-strategies for Cluster groupings and steer the discourse to support democratic models of development.

DoG Briefing Paper No. 16, FES Berlin, November 2009

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Read the DoG Occasional Paper International Trade in Agriculture and the Right to Food

Olivier De Schutter

Deriving from the Right to Live, the Right to Food guarantees every human being to be free from hunger. Agricultural trade policy can help fulfilling this right, but may also become a hindrance, if conceived in neglect of human rights. States need to respect human rights obligations they have committed to by ratifying the respective Covenants when entering trade agreements. Based on the report of his mission to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter calls for a strengthening of the special role of agriculture in trade agreements to ensure their compatibility with the states obligation to fulfill their populations' Right to Food. In conclusion, he shows actual possibilities to reconcile trade policy with human rights requirements.

DoG Occasional Paper No. 46, FES Geneva, November 2009

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The Future of Peacekeeping Operations: Fighting Political Fatigue and Overstretch

Richard Gowan

Drawing from the insights of an international policy debate on peacekeeping overstretch co-organized by FES, Gowan identifies major stresses of the UN and non-UN peacekeeping system. Analyzing the biggest UN (DRC) and NATO (Afghanistan) peace operations, he blames "risk transferral" and mistrust as key obstacles, driving political divergences and operational mismanagement. He proposes five policy options for greater transparency and trust, allowing better peacekeeping strategies, e.g. a head-of-government conference to foster strategic discussion.

Briefing Paper No. 3-2009, FES New York, March 2009

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A new era of world hunger? The global food crisis analyzed

James A. Paul and Katarina Wahlberg

This paper takes as a starting point an international conference, held in New York in April 2008, organized by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the Global Policy Forum. Paul and Wahlberg consider the right to food and analyze the role of the United Nations in responding to the global food crisis. They argue for effective short-term aid and long-term transformation of the agricultural system to make it more justly distributive, resilient, and sustainable for the future.

Briefing Paper 7-2008, FES New York, August 2008

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The HRC Universal Periodic Review: A preliminary assessment

Theodor Rathgeber

Briefing Paper 6-2008, FES Geneva, July 2008

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Towards a Less Imperfect State of the World: The Gulf Between North and South

Ramesh Thakur

Ramesh Thakur gives a tour d'horizon of the challenges in seven key areas of international policy from a Southern perspective. He identifies differences in perceptions and interests towards war, nuclear weapons, the use of force, "humanitarian interventions", human rights, terrorism and climate change. Thakur offers policy options and stresses the importance of the rule of law to overcome North-South divides.

Briefing Paper 5-2008, FES Berlin, April 2008

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The Politics of Responsibility to Protect

Marc Saxer

The intricate process that led up to the appointment of a UN Special Adviser on R2P sheds a light on the political landscape surrounding the concept. Marc Saxer analyses the political environment and the strategies of the main actors in the struggle over this emerging norm. He points out some shortcomings of the concept and offers policy options to move the agenda. Saxer argues that it will be crucial to find a broad international consensus how to tackle mass atrocities in internal conflicts in order to overcome ideological debates that repeatedly block political decision making in cases where timely action is needed.

Dialogue on Globalization Briefing Paper 2-2008, FES Berlin, April 2008

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2nd part of the 6th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
December 10-14, 2007

Theodor Rathgeber, Forum Human Rights Germany

Fact Sheet N° 2, FES Geneva, February 2008

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Reconciliation and Development

Karen Brounéus

In many conflict and post-conflict countries, situations in which peace and justice appear to compete with one another are on the rise.To show how to constructively deal with tensions that can arise was the aim of the international conference in Nuremberg, on 25-27 June 2007, entitled "Building a Future on Peace and Justice". These Occasional Papers contributed to the preparation of a workshop on Reconciliation at the conference that had been jointly organized by The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and FES. Brounéus provides an overview of some key concerns regarding reconciliation in relation to justice, security, and politics respectively, and their policy implications. She introduces recent research on truth commissions and truth telling. Brounéus argues that if security is not provided, the process of reconciliation may risk to backlash in increased violence or in suppression of truth.

Occasional Paper 36, FES Berlin, November 2007

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Gender justice and reconciliation

Nahla Valji

Valji's Occasional Papers also contributed to the preparation Reconciliation workshop at the "Peace and Justice" conference. Valji examines how women's experiences of conflict and transition differ to that of men because of inherent gendered power relations. The paper discusses the specific needs of women within post-conflict systems that are male-orientated, and examines the assumptions of the transitional justice field from a gendered perspective.

Occasional Paper 35 | 2007, FES Berlin, November 2007

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Fine tuning the institution building
The 6th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, 10-28 September

Felix Kirchmeier

Fact Sheet N° 7, FES Geneva, October 2007

Construyendo un Nuevo Consejo de Derechos Humanos:
Resultado y Análisis de un año de construcción institucional

Meghna Abraham

FES Occasional Paper N°33, FES Geneva, August 2007

Building the new Human Rights Council: outcome and analysis of the institution-building year

Meghna Abraham

FES Occasional Paper N°33, FES Geneva, August 2007

The U.N. Counter-Terrorism Committee: An Institutional Analysis

C.S.R. Murty

Briefing Paper 15-2007, FES New York, September 2007

Fifth Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Gisela von Keyserlingk

Fact Sheet N° 6, FES Geneva, June 2007

Growth with responsibility in a globalized world : findings of the Shadow G-8

Joseph E. Stiglitz ; Stephany Griffith-Jones

Occasional paper 31 - FES New York, May 2007

A Priority Agenda for the Next UN Secretary-General

Thomas G. Weiss and Peter J. Hoffman

FES Occasional Paper N°28, FES New York, January 2007

Second Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Felix Kirchmeier

FES Fact Sheet N°11, FES Geneva, October 2006

The Right to Development - where do we stand?

Felix Kirchmeier

FES Occasional Paper N° 23, July 2006

The Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture

Felix Kirchmeier

FES Fact Sheet, FES Geneva, N°8, August 2006

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A new chapter for human rights

A handbook on issues of transition from the Commission on Human Rights to the Human Rights Council

Special Session of the Human Rights Council

Felix Kirchmeier

FES Fact Sheet, FES Geneva, July 2006

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United Nations Democracy Fund

Volker Lehmann

FES Fact Sheet, FES New York, May 2006

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Global Democracy in the Nexus of Governments, Parliaments, Parties and Civil Society

Christoph Zöpel

FES Occasional Paper, N° 21, FES New York, October 2005

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A question of political will :
the Helsinki process report on globalisation and democracy

Jens Martens

FES Briefing Paper, FES Berlin, August 2005

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A Question of Political Will - The Helsinki Process Report on Globalisation and Democracy

Jens Martens

FES Briefing Paper, FES Berlin, August 2005

The UN Norms on Corporate Human Rights Responsibilities and their Relationship with Other Regimes of Corporate Accountability

Nils Rosemann

FES-Genf, N° 20 / May 2005,

ISBN 3-89892-385-1, FESOccPapers20

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Die Globalisierungskritiker auf der Suche nach einer Perspektive Ein Bericht vom 5. Weltsozialforum in Porto Alegre

Jürgen Stetten / Jochen Steinhilber

FES Briefing Paper Februar 2005

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Soul-Searching in Porto Alegre. A Report from the 5th World Social Forum

Jürgen Stetten / Jochen Steinhilber

FES Briefing Paper February 2005

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Los "globalicríticos" en búsqueda de una nueva perspectiva - Un informe sobre el 5to Foro Social Mundial en Porto Alegre

Jürgen Stetten/Jochen Steinhilber

FES-Berlin, Feb-05

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Un foro de controversias: criticas a la globalizacion en Mumbai

Jürgen Stetten und Jochen Steinhilber

FES Briefing Papers Enero 2004

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A Forum of Contradictions

Jürgen Stetten und Jochen Steinhilber

FES Briefing Papers January 2004

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Civil-Society Actors: A Democratic Corrective For International Organizations?

Franz Nuschler, March 2003