Sunday, September 9, 2012
REPORT FROM THE UN: YUVAL SHANY ELECTED
Professor Yuval Shany, dean of the law faculty of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was elected on September 6th to serve on the UN's Human Rights Committee. The Committee oversees implementation of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by the countries that have ratified it. The 167 countries that currently are parties to the Covenant have the right to vote for members of the Committee. Professor Shany reportedly received 112 votes.
The Covenant, which is legally binding, is based on the groundbreaking Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was needed because declarations adopted by the UN General Assembly are not legally binding. Unlike the Human Rights Council, which is a heavily politicized body with governments as members, the Human Rights Committee is composed of legal experts.
The 18 members of the Human Rights Committee, who are elected for four year terms, meet three times a year, each time for a three week period. Although there is no formal role for NGOs in the review of the records of the states-parties, an informal practice has grown up under which NGOs have been submitting what are called shadow reports to supplement the periodic reports to the Committee submitted by the states under review.
Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Ron Prosor, commented that Professor Shany’s election is "an achievement for Israel's delegation to the UN, and a cause for national pride."