Time to scrap the world’s remaining blasphemy laws

by Ms Joelle Fiss Blog, By invitation, In Focus: Human rights and religion

Last May, Ireland woke up to the strange news that the Irish police were investigating remarks made by actor Stephen Fry, which, it was alleged, might be considered blasphemous. In a 2015 television interview, Fry had accused God of being a selfish maniac, and asked: ‘why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world which is …

Report on the 35th Session of the Human Rights Council

by Olivia Bebe and the URG team Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, URG Human Rights Council Reports

Quick summary  The 35th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC35) was held from Tuesday 6th June to Friday 23rd June 2017. On 6th June, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, H.E. Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, presented an oral update on the global human rights situation. A number of dignitaries delivered statements during the session, including inter alia, H.E. Mr Tabaré Vazquez, …

Building on past success and dealing with the challenges: ideas for strengthening technical cooperation at the Human Rights Council

by Marc Limon Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

The central importance of the Council’s mandate, as set down in GA resolution 60/251, to provide ‘advisory services, technical assistance and capacity-building … in consultation with and with the consent of Member States concerned,’ is, I believe, self-evident. For many developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the task of engaging, in a meaningful …

Climate Vulnerable Forum delegation meeting and thematic debate spotlights impact of climate change on human rights

by Olivia Bebe Press, URG News

14 June 2017  On the margins of the 35th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, a delegation meeting of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) focused on the growing recognition of the impact of climate change on the enjoyment of a wide spectrum of human rights.    The thematic debate, included Ambassadors and other senior officials of the CVF members, and was chaired by H.E. …

President Trump and the Human Rights Council: What did we learn from Nikki Haley’s visit?

by Marc Limon Beyond the Council, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Wednesday 7th June 2017, Geneva As expected, all the talk on day one of the 35th session of the UN Human Rights Council was on the visit of America’s Ambassador to the United Nations, H.E. Ms Nikki Haley, and the message she brought about the Trump Administration’s views and position on the Council and the US’s role therein. In the end, Ambassador Haley’s …

UN High Commissioner shines spotlight on ‘non-cooperation and selective cooperation with the human rights mechanisms’ – New ‘Know yourHRC candidates’ and ‘Know yourHRC members’ email alerts offer important new tool in that regard

by the URG team Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, Press

The Human Rights Council’s decisions are not binding. As an institution, it cannot force States to do what they do not want to do. Rather, as per its founding mandate (GA resolution 60/251), the Council must work ‘through cooperation and dialogue’ to engage States and to encourage, support, cajole, press and – in some cases – shame States into implementing …

Trump to the Human Rights Council: 3 strikes and we’re out?

by Marc Limon Beyond the Council, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

As the Geneva diplomatic world prepares for the Human Rights Council’s 35th session, all the talk is of the much-anticipated visit of Nikki Haley, America’s ambassador to the UN. With a certain masochistic relish, diplomats wonder aloud whether President Trump’s senior multilateral envoy will show the Council a yellow card (giving it one last chance to ‘improve’ its behaviour), or a straight …

The world is marching towards – not away from – universal human rights, argues new study by the Universal Rights Group

by Marc Limon Blog, In Focus: Human rights and religion

The debate over whether ‘human rights’ are indeed ‘universal’ or, as some would argue, are to be understood and applied differently depending on national, regional, cultural or religious contexts (so-called ‘cultural relativism’) is well-known. In today’s world, where political leaders in some established democracies appear to be sounding the retreat from liberal internationalism, and where religious extremists are bent on …

Human rights and the Security Council: Cooperation or Cooptation?

by the URG team Beyond the Council, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

On April 18th, Nikki Haley, the United States Permanent Representative in New York and President of the Security Council, called a thematic debate on human rights and the prevention of armed conflict. During the debate, the US made an important and valid point: that human rights violations are an important root cause – and early warning sign – of ‘real …

Report on the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council

by the URG team Blog, URG Human Rights Council Reports

Quick summary  The 34th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC34) was held from Monday 27th February to Friday 24th March 2017. On 8th March, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, H.E. Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, presented his annual report on the global human rights situation. A number of dignitaries delivered statements during the session’s high-level segment, including inter alia, H.E. …