Why is the media unfair to the United Nations? And what the Organization is doing to make newsrooms friendlier

by Javier Delgado Rivera, Journalist Beyond the Council, Blog, By invitation

Constructive media coverage is essential for the UN. It helps the organisation both to raise awareness of neglected crises around the world and to increase visibility for its role in addressing them. In fact, a strong online, press, and TV presence can help mobilise the human, political, and economic resources needed to solve or prevent these situations. The media also …

Anti-corruption and human rights

by H.E. Ambassador Julian Braithwaite, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 1 May this year, MPs from across the major UK political parties, agreed in the UK Parliament to support a ‘Magnitsky’ amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill. The amendment was adopted without a vote and was described by the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, as “an important moment” that would “allow the UK to act against those responsible …

It’s time we all recognise the human right to a healthy environment

by Professor John H. Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Note: This article is based on a Joint Statement by UN Environment and the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment ahead of World Environment Day.   Speaking ahead of World Environment Day on 5 June, the head of UN Environment, Mr Erik Solheim, and the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, Mr John Knox, issued a …

The place of human rights in a reformed United Nations

by H.E. Mr Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, High Commissioner for Human Rights Blog, By invitation

Note: This article is based on a keynote address delivered by H.E. Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, High Commissioner for Human Rights, on Wednesday 30th June 2018, at the opening plenary of the fifth Glion Human Rights Dialogue, hosted by the Government of Switzerland and supported by the Universal Rights Group.  First, let me make a few points about the Secretary General’s ongoing plans for reforming …

Towards a stronger connection between human rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: The role of the Human Rights Council

by Dr. Maria Smirnova, The University of Manchester Blog, By invitation

On 23 March 2018, the Human Rights Council concluded its 37th regular session , during which it addressed a wide range of human rights issues and heard 95 reports of human rights experts addressing 35 thematic and 50 country-specific situations. Among the 42 adopted resolutions , the Council adopted two complementary texts aimed at mainstreaming human rights in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable …

NGO advocacy and the Council's prevention mandate

by Nicolas Agostini, Representative to the United Nations for DefendDefenders Blog, By invitation

As the Human Rights Council enters its teenage years, the Council’s ‘prevention mandate’—i.e., its responsibility to ‘contribute, through dialogue and cooperation, towards the prevention of human rights violations and [to] respond promptly to human rights emergencies’ [1] —has become one of the hot topics of discussion. Operationalising the prevention part of the Council’s mandate was the central theme of the last …

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Success Requires a Team Effort

by Peter Splinter, Executive-in-Residence with the Global Fellowship Initiative of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy Blog, By invitation

A response to David Petrasek’s article in OpenGlobaRights  entitled ‘ Another one bites the dust ’ (8 February 2018) and Marc Limon’s article in URG Insights entitled ‘ Is being the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights an impossible job? ‘ (14 February 2018). David Petrasek’s thoughtful analysis on 12 February and Marc Limon’s equally thoughtful response on 14 February provide the basis for an important inclusive discussion about the selection of the next High Commissioner for Human Rights …

Inter-American Court clarifies human rights obligations of States in the context of environmental protection

by Liliana Ávila Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Advisory opinion also clarifies extraterritorial obligations On February 7, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights shared its response to an advisory opinion solicited by Colombia on the international obligations of States regarding activities that could negatively impact the environment. Advisory opinions are legal concepts in which the Court, as the highest human rights court in the Americas, seeks to unravel the meaning …

The role of UN field staff in supporting national tracking systems for following up to human rights recommendations

by Emilie Filmer-Wilson, Human Rights Adviser, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Blog, By invitation, In focus: domestic implementation of universal norms

The number of human rights recommendations made to Member States has increased rapidly over the past few years. To track progress with meeting these recommendations in a more systematic manner, a number of Member States have created specific tracking mechanisms and tools. In these efforts, they are increasingly turning to UN Country Teams for support. To enable UN field staff …

A new approach to advancing dialogue on human rights

by Yoni Ish-Hurwitz, Executive Director of the Human Rights Likeminded Office Blog, By invitation

Polarisation and politicisation at the United Nations – words on the mind of every diplomat and international activist working on human rights. More often than not in debates and decisions at the Human Right Council, group dynamics come into play, often masking differences or commonalities in national positions. For example, a country that normally supports sexuality education may reverse its …