Between Principles and Pragmatism: How African states vote at the UN Human Rights Council

by Hassan Shire, Executive Director of DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project) and the Chairperson of AfricanDefenders (the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network), based in Kampala, Uganda and Nicolas Agostini, Representative to the United Nations for DefendDefenders Blog, Blog, By invitation

What would a comprehensive analysis of the voting record of African states at the UN Human Rights Council look like? The question isn’t easy, but we hope that the answer DefendDefenders and AfricanDefenders formulated will quench the thirst of those—diplomats, human rights advocates, or mere Council observers—who pay attention to the African Group… or worry about its voting patterns. As African human …

Placing human rights at the core of climate action: towards a human rights-based approach to loss and damage

by Amalia ORDÓÑEZ VAHÍ, URG Geneva Blog, Blog

The summer of 2022 will be remembered by many as the time when the effects of climate change became for them all too real: water scarcity, droughts and desertification, loss of habitats and displacement due to wildfires , growing health conditions and deaths as a result of record-breaking heatwaves , displacement and destruction of housing and infrastructures due to record flooding . However, while these impacts are …

Who is Volker Türk?

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

Opinions have already begun forming about Volker Türk in the short time since the announcement of his appointment last week as the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. However, in the absence of a public competition, there was little opportunity to learn about Türk. He is also not well-known outside of the UN (and had few followers on twitter …

The 1968 United Nations Debate on Human Rights and Tech

by Steven L. B. Jensen, Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights Blog, Blog, By invitation

Social media, digitalisation, datafication , AI , internet access , surveillance capitalism and the vast powers of tech companies have all become issues of critical concern for the human rights community. In the debate, we often focus on the newness of the evolving challenges. However, it may be worthwhile to take a step back and note that the nexus between human rights and tech …

Report on the 50th session of the Human Rights Council

by the URG team Blog, Blog, Uncategorized, URG Human Rights Council Reports

Quick summary The 50th regular session of the Human Rights Council ( HRC50 ) was held from Monday 13 June to Friday 8 July 2022. The Human Rights Council marked its 50th session through a high-level interactive discussion that provided stakeholders an opportunity to reflect on the achievements made and the lessons learned since its 1st session ( concept note video ). On …

Report on the Urgent Debate on the human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan

by the URG team Blog, Blog, URG Human Rights Council Reports

On July 1 2022, during the 50th session of the Human Rights Council, which opened on June 13 2022, an urgent debate was convened on ‘the human rights of women and girls in Afghanistan.’  The urgent debate was requested in an official letter from H.E. Mrs. Lotte Knudsen, Permanent Observer of the European Union, and H.E. M. Jérôme Bonnafont, Permanent …

The French Development Agency organised an international conference to consider new ideas and approaches to linking human rights and development

by Sarah HAYES, Independent Consultant Human Rights and Sustainable Development and Farid LAMARA, Expert in Human Development and Senior strategic advisor, Agence Française de Développement Blog, Blog, By invitation

Against a background of the retreat of human rights worldwide, growing doubts about the ability of the international community to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, growing inequalities, and the ecological and climate crises, on Human Rights Day 2021 (10 December) the French Development Agency (AFD) organised an international conference on ‘Human Rights and Development.’ It brought together …

Time to ask again: is being the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights an impossible job?

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Uncategorized

In February 2018, I published a blog on the early departure of the previous High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. The blog responded to David Petrasek’s article in OpenGlobaRights entitled ‘Another one bites the dust’ (8 February 2018). The article attempted to look past Zeid’s stated reasons for leaving his post (in effect, that the worldwide retreat from human …

Report of the 34th Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression 

by the URG team Blog, Blog, Uncategorized, URG Human Rights Council Reports

On Thursday 12 May 2022, the Human Rights Council convened a Special Session to address ‘the deteriorating human rights situation in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression’. The Special Session was requested via an official letter dated 9 May and signed by H.E. Yevheniia Filipenko, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations in Geneva. This letter, addressed to H.E. …

International borders: Dividing lines for Indigenous Peoples’ rights

by Marine KRAUZMAN, URG Geneva Blog, Blog

Today, nearly 476 million Indigenous Peoples live in 90 countries across the world, accounting for 5,000 different cultures and 6.2 percent of the world population. Many of these communities live across national borders, such as the Amazighs in North Africa, the Mapuche at the Chile-Argentina border, or the Sámi in Northern Europe. Current border governance practices often hamper Indigenous Peoples’ full enjoyment of land rights …