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Indivisibility of human rights: Unifying the two Human Rights Covenants?

05-11-2018

This year we celebrate 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration, adopted on 10 December 1948 in Paris by the United Nations General Assembly, expressed an idea that was revolutionary at the time: human rights are universal, indivisible and inter-dependant, and the international community has an obligation to ensure protection of those rights. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic ...

This year we celebrate 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration, adopted on 10 December 1948 in Paris by the United Nations General Assembly, expressed an idea that was revolutionary at the time: human rights are universal, indivisible and inter-dependant, and the international community has an obligation to ensure protection of those rights. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) were intended to provide a legally binding codification of the rights listed in the Declaration. Initially drafted in 1954 as a single document, they were opened for signature and ratification separately, in 1966, and came into force in 1976, during the Cold War. In the light of the United Nations General Assembly’s 31 May 2018 mandate for reforms – aimed at simplifying, addressing fragmentation, and improving transparency and accountability – more and more stakeholders ask whether it is time to end the Cold War-era ideological division between civil and political rights, on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural rights, on the other. Apart from all United Nations' member states ratifying and implementing both covenants, a further step could be to codify the two Covenants in a single document, thereby emphasising their indivisibility and overcoming fragmentation.

Universal Suffrage in Hong Kong Acquires Chinese Characteristics

15-09-2014

China's legislature, the People's National Congress (NPC), has made recommendations about the 2017 direct election of Hong Kong's Chief Executive, foreseen in Hong Kong's constitution. Hong Kong's legislature could reject the recommendations, although the NPC has final say. China's authorities have warned that civil disobedience and protestors' calls to respect international standards may have serious consequences. The European Parliament has called for 'international standards' to be respected in ...

China's legislature, the People's National Congress (NPC), has made recommendations about the 2017 direct election of Hong Kong's Chief Executive, foreseen in Hong Kong's constitution. Hong Kong's legislature could reject the recommendations, although the NPC has final say. China's authorities have warned that civil disobedience and protestors' calls to respect international standards may have serious consequences. The European Parliament has called for 'international standards' to be respected in Hong Kong's politics. The selection of candidates will be less free. A candidate will now need to gain the support of at least 50 % of the nomination committee, instead of the 12.5 % required in 2012. During public consultations, a number of initiatives were proposed to make the nomination process more democratic. Beijing has insisted that Hong Kong's administrators respect their nation and support China's jurisdiction over Hong Kong. The events in Hong Kong have been echoed in Macao. Beijing sees its relations with Hong Kong as a model for Taiwan, which it also hopes to incorporate into a 'one China, two systems' arrangement. In the past, the European Parliament has adopted positions on electoral reform in Hong Kong. The EP has stated that 'respect for the full autonomy of Hong Kong is one of the key issues upon which to base the development of future relations between the EU and China'.

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