The European Union at the Human Rights Council: speaking with one voice but having little influence

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Series Details Vol.17, No.2, March 2010, p224-241
Publication Date January 2010
ISSN 1350-1763
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The Human Rights Council (HRC) was supposed to address the shortcomings of the former Commission on Human Rights (CHR), but it is already suffering similar shortcomings. Some critics of the Human Rights Council have singled out the European Union's (EU) role as particularly disappointing. This article argues that while there is evidence that EU member states are acting cohesively within the HRC, and more so than they have done in United Nations (UN) human rights bodies in the past, the EU's influence in the institution is still quite limited. It speaks with one voice and EU voting cohesion is impressively solid, but has had little influence on the agenda or outcomes of the HRC. This reflects in part the fragile place that human rights have in EU foreign policy-making.

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