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Part I The Human Rights Mandate of the Principal Organs, 2 The General Assembly

Andrew Clapham

From: The United Nations and Human Rights: A Critical Appraisal (2nd Edition)

Edited By: Frédéric Mégret, Philip Alston

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 05 May 2021

Subject(s):
Human rights — UN Charter

This chapter examines the General Assembly, which is the United Nations’ main deliberative organ. To the extent that it reflects the will of the majority of the UN members, it has some influence on the organization’s general direction. It is the organ generally mandated to discuss and make recommendations on any question within the scope of the UN Charter, and it is specifically asked to initiate studies and make recommendations to promote, among other things, human rights. However, the General Assembly is an assembly of state representatives. This political composition can make it difficult to find agreement on which human rights deserve promotion, and which states, or rather which governments, should be singled out for censure. Nevertheless, the General Assembly has developed the international law and universal standards which underpin the world of human rights protection, improved the United Nation’s institutional machinery, and authorized some important human rights-related field operations and investigative mandates.

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