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EU-UN relations in the policy field ‚human rights‘

Module by Karen E. Smith, LSE

This lecture examines how the European Union member states coordinate their diplomatic activities on human rights within the two key intergovernmental UN forums on human rights: the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee. It first describes the work and functioning of the two UN forums. Then it addresses three questions: 1) how coherent is the EU as an international actor within the Human Rights Council and Third Committee?; 2) how active is the EU within these two forums?; and 3) how successful is the EU in reaching its objectives and influencing debates on human rights at the UN?
 
Keywords: EU coordination; human rights; UN Human Rights Council; UN General Assembly Third Committee
Video lecture by Karen E. Smith




Karen E. Smith is Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is also Director of the European Foreign Policy Unit and co-chair of the Department’s cluster on International Institutions, Law and Ethics. She received her PhD in International Relations from the LSE in 1996. In 1996-97, she was a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute. She joined the LSE’s International Relations Department in September 1997. At the LSE, she teaches courses on the European Union in the World, Europe’s Institutional Order, and the International Politics of EU Enlargement. She has written extensively on the international relations of the EU. Her books include: European Union Foreign Policy in a Changing World, 3rd edition (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014); Genocide and the Europeans (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010); and, with Katie Verlin Laatikainen, eds, The European Union at the United Nations: Intersecting Multilateralisms (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). She has published numerous articles in journals such as Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of European Public Policy, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, European Foreign Affairs Review, Cooperation and Conflict, and The International Spectator.
Further information can be found on her website: https://kesmith1.wordpress.com/
Interested in the work of Karen E. Smith?
Your find another video lecture of her on 'The Impact of Brexit on threats to inner peace in Europe' here.
If you are a German speaking user, you can find the a complete elearning module on this topic here.
10 Easy questions
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5 more questions
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10 Advanced questions
10 Advanced questions
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Further readings
Council of the European Union (2016), ‘Council Conclusions on EU Priorities at UN Human Rights Fora in 2016’, press release 56/16, 15 February.
Available here: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2016/02/15-fac-un-human-rights-fora/  
 
Council of the European Union (2017), ‘Council Conclusions on EU Priorities at UN Human Rights Fora in 2017’, press release 83/17, 27 February.
Available here: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/02/27-eu-priorities-human-rights-2017/
 
Gowan, Richard, and Franziska Brantner (2008), ‘A Global Force for Human Rights? An Audit of European Power at the UN’, Policy Paper, European Council on Foreign Relations.
Available here: http://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR-08_A_GLOBAL_FORCE_FOR_HUMAN_RIGHTS-_AN_AUDIT_OF_EUROPEAN_POWER_AT_THE_UN.pdf
 
Gowan, Richard, and Franziska Brantner (2010), ‘The EU and Human Rights at the UN: 2010 Review’, European Council on Foreign Relations, Policy Brief.
Available here: http://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/the-eu-and-human-rights-at-the-UN-2010-review.pdf
 
Gowan, Richard, and Franziska Brantner (2011), ‘The EU and Human Rights at the UN: 2011 Review’, European Council on Foreign Relations, Policy Brief.
Available here: http://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR39_UN_UPDATE_2011_MEMO_AW.pdf
 
Laatikainen, Katie Verlin and Karen E. Smith (2006) ‘Introduction – The European Union at the United Nations: Leader, Partner or Failure?’, in K. V. Laatikainen and K. E. Smith (eds), The European Union at the United Nations: Intersecting Multilateralisms,. Houndmills: Palgave Macmillan.
Available here: https://www.palgrave.com/br/book/9781403995346
 
United Nations General Assembly, Third Committee, ‘Home’: http://www.un.org/en/ga/third/index.shtml
 
United Nations Human Rights Council, ‘About the HRC’: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/AboutCouncil.aspx