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
Leading academics, law enforcement experts and practitioners from different regions and legal backgrounds, and representatives from international organizations and civil society will join an academic working group to discuss use of force challenges in different contexts.
In this public lecture, Professor Philip Sands explained – on the basis of his research on two prominent founders of contemporary international law (Hersch Lauterpacht and Raphael Lemkin) and his own family’s experience – how international law has developed by protecting at the same time the individual (according to Lauterpacht's vision) and the group, with the success of Lemkin's endeavour towards a convention on the prevention and prohibition of genocide.
This event, co-organized with the ATLAS Network will feature prominent women in international law. Coming from different professional backgrounds, they will share their experience and advice through an interactive discussion.
ILO Asia and Pacific
This event aims at raising awareness of the negative impact of corruption on the enjoyment of human rights and the consequent need to undertake effective anti-corruption measures.
This short course analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.
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.
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.
Olivier Chamard/Geneva Academy