41st Session of the Human Rights Council.

A new year’s resolution: placing the Human Rights Council at the vanguard of the global democratic fight-back

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy

It is now over thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and excited talk about the ‘end of history’ [i] – the idea that with the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union (1991) and the ascendancy of Western liberal democracy, humanity had reached ‘not just […] the passing of a particular period of …

Garbage in, garbage out: is AI discriminatory or simply a mirror of IRL inequalities?

by Aurore Lentz, Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

When considering the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), it is useful to remember Tay, an infamous Twitter chatbot launched by Microsoft in March 2016. Tay was an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot intended to ‘learn’ by reading tweets and interacting with other Twitter users. ‘The more you talk, the smarter Tay gets!,’ its description read. It only took a few hours …

In the wake of attack on the Capitol, Biden repeats commitment to strengthen democracy domestically and abroad

by Tess Brennan, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy, Universal Rights Group NYC

Biden has repeatedly affirmed his dedication to crafting a foreign policy plan focused on rebuilding alliances with like-minded partners in order to strengthen the United States’ position as a nation that protects and promotes democracy and human rights globally. He made this clear in recent remarks and, in an address following the insurrection at the United States Capitol on 6 …

Advertisers and social media companies strike a deal to address harmful content

by Aurore Lentz, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Following months of negotiations, the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), a consortium of companies including major brands of consumer goods and media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google, reached an agreement earlier this trimester to adopt a common framework on harmful content in the context of advertisement. By defining sensitive or harmful content in a unified manner across the industry, this agreement would make …

The right to a healthy environment gives rise to a growing wave of climate change litigation

by Renata POLITI, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

In an amicus curiae brief submitted in the Norwegian Artic Oil case currently pending before the Norwegian Supreme Court, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment , David R. Boyd, and UN Special Rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes , Marcos A Orellana, argued that “the justiciability of the right to a healthy environment empowers citizens and civil society, strengthening democratic decision-making and fostering accountability for political decisions. Access to justice is itself a fundamental human right, including in the …

Duplication or complementarity? A comparative analysis of Human Rights Council and Third Committee resolutions

by Tess Kidney Bishop, Universal Rights Group NYC Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, Universal Rights Group NYC

In recent years, many have begun to take a closer look to the relationship between the Human Rights Council and the Third Committee of the General Assembly. As we near the end of 2020 now is an apt time to review the work done by both bodies this year and the level of efficiency achieved. Do these two key human …

Swiss Responsible Business Initiative rejected despite securing a majority of the popular vote

by Zaineb Ali, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On Sunday 29 November, the day of the referendum for the contentious and hard-fought Swiss Responsible Business Initiative (RBI), human rights expert Dick Marty stated , ‘if victory doesn’t come today, it will certainly come tomorrow.’ In the end, although the RBI won a majority of the popular vote, 50.7%, it failed to secure the majority of cantonal votes required to pass …

“Vaccine Multilateralism” – Singapore’s approach towards fair and equitable access for COVID-19 vaccines

by Ambassador Umej Bhatia, Permanent Mission of Singapore Blog, Blog, By invitation, Uncategorized

Just a year ago the threat of a global pandemic was treated as a theoretical possibility, the subject of scenario planning or fiction. Pandemic preparedness was expressed in words but not as much in deeds. Today after taking over 1.5 million lives globally, COVID-19 has become a brutal reality-check for us all. It has transformed our societies, impacted the world …

EU adopts ‘Magnitsky’ style individual sanctions regime for grave human rights violations

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, Uncategorized

Today, 7 December 2020, the EU formally adopted a decision and regulation establishing its new ‘Magnitsky-style’ individual sanctions regime for serious human rights, only a couple days ahead of 10th December – UN Human Rights Day. The step, coming 77 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is expected to make a significant contribution towards global human …

Report on the 75th session of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly

by URG-NYC Team Blog, Blog, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes, New York City, Universal Rights Group NYC

Quick summary During the 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the Third Committee, tasked with addressing human rights issues and concerns, ran from 5 October – 20 November at UN Headquarters in New York, and online (due to the COVID-19 pandemic). This year’s Third Committee featured presentations by a number of senior UN officials, including Ms. Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human …