Event: Book Launch of “The UN Commission on Human Rights: ‘A Very Great Enterprise'”, 2 June 2021

The UN Human Rights Council faces a critical phase in its development. Between 2021 and 2026, the Assembly is due to review its status, with a view to determining, to quote Kofi Annan at its inauguration in 2006, whether its work has “so clearly established [its] authority that there would be a general will to amend the Charter, and to elevate it to the status of a Principal Organ of the United Nations”.

A new book by former Secretary to the UN Commission on Human Rights John Pace is intended to aid the process of review by furnishing, in one volume, the entire record of the Commission and the Council since the inception of UN work in human rights in 1946. The UN Commission on Human Rights: ‘A Very Great Enterprise’ was published by Oxford University Press in 2020.

In the course of a career spanning more than 50 years in the field of human rights, John Pace has worked in a wide range of human rights activities at the international and regional level. He has headed several sectors of the human rights programme and was Secretary to the Commission on Human Rights (1978 to 1994) and Coordinator of the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights (1991 to 1993). He has a long association with UNSW, where he has taught and headed the Australian Centre for Human Rights in the early 2000s. He is currently Senior Visiting Fellow in the Faculty of Law and Justice and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Diplomacy Training Programme.

Former High Court Justice the Hon. Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG and Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous UNSW and Professor of Law Megan Davis will join the author in conversation about his new book, moderated by Director of the Australian Human Rights Institute Professor Justine Nolan.

This event will be held online on 2 June 2021 at 9:00 am to 10:00 am CEST. Registration for this event is via Eventbrite and is free to all attendees. Event attendees are eligible for a 30% discount on purchase of the book.

This event is co-hosted by the Australian Human Rights Institute and the International Law Association Australia.