Full implementation of human rights requires a wide range of initiatives, many of which fall beyond the expertise of the UN human rights "mainland," consisting of the Human Rights Council, treaty-bodies, and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Specialized agencies, funds, programs, and other UN bodies have an indispensable role to play if the UN system is to engage with the entire spectrum of human rights implementation. Their role encompasses all human rights but is especially critical in relation to economic, social, and cultural rights. The Human Rights Council and OHCHR are mandated to promote human rights mainstreaming which is a precondition for full implementation. However, UN systemwide mainstreaming runs into the principles of functional decentralization and autonomy which are woven into the fabric of the UN. Accordingly, human rights have to be "owned" by each agency and similar UN body. There is today an emerging "archipelago" of human rights initiatives, lying beyond the UN human rights mainland, in agencies and other UN bodies. The contemporary UN human rights system should be configured as the mainland and archipelago and the article outlines ways to promote its appropriate development, including new working methods for the Human Rights Council.


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pp. 489-538
Launched on MUSE
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