Scientific article

Preferences or blocs? Voting in the United Nations Human Rights Council

Published inThe review of international organizations, vol. 9, no. 1, p. 83-106
Publication date2014

After four years in operation the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is subject to criticism, and various scholars and practitioners alike present and discuss reform proposals. In the present paper we study systematically the controversial decisions in the UNHRC. We find that controversial proposals are introduced by countries with a blemished human rights record, and that in the votes on these proposals the council members belonging to the European Union (EU) vote very distinctly from the remaining members and have preferences quite different from those member states that violate human rights. Extending an empirical approach frequently used in parliamentary research we can also show that in votes in the UNHRC preferences of member states dominate over their membership to particular blocs. As controversial votes also heavily polarize the UNHRC we argue that the problems faced by the UNHRC's predecessor, namely the Commission on Human Rights, have reappeared.

  • International organization
  • Human rights
  • Voting
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - 100012-129737
Citation (ISO format)
HUG, Simon, LUKACS, Richard. Preferences or blocs? Voting in the United Nations Human Rights Council. In: The review of international organizations, 2014, vol. 9, n° 1, p. 83–106. doi: 10.1007/s11558-013-9172-2
Main files (1)
Article (Submitted version)
ISSN of the journal1559-7431

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