Report of the Council’s urgent debate on the situation of human rights in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression during HRC49

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

On 3 and 4 March 2022, in the context of the 49th session of the Human Rights Council, which opened on Monday 28 February, an urgent debate was convened on the ‘situation of human rights in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression’. The urgent debate was requested through an official letter from H. E. Ms Yevheniia Filipenko, Permanent Representative of Ukraine, addressed to the President …

Climate change, a threat to international peace and security?

by Joseph Burke, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 13 December 2021, the UN Security Council (UNSC) once again missed the opportunity to assert its leadership in the field of climate security and anchor its ability to more effectively and comprehensively address the global threat posed by climate change. After months of tense negotiations, a draft resolution (first circulated on 23 September by Ireland and Niger), which would have defined …

The state of democracy in Europe 2021: Overcoming the impact of the pandemic

by Nana Kalandadze, Programme Manager, Regional Europe Programme, International IDEA and Alexander Hudson, Democracy Assessment Specialist, International IDEA Blog, Blog, By invitation, In focus: democracy

Are European democracies in peril? How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected them? And is the prevailing sense of crisis justified? ‘The Global State of Democracy,’ International IDEA’s biennial report last released in November 2021, is a health-check of democracies across the globe (including a chapter on Europe), designed to provide both a current snapshot of vital democratic attributes, an analysis …

All eyes turn to the European Court of Human Rights to assess future of rights-based climate litigation

by Sarah Vigne, Universal Rights Group and Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog

On 16 December 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) communicated to the government of Norway its request for observations on the application filed on 15 June 2021 by six young climate activists, together with Greenpeace Nordic and Young Friends of the Earth Norway, alleging that continued oil exploration by the Norwegian State is in breach of their fundamental human …

The Human Right Council in 2022: Vision, challenges and a call for action

by H.E. Federico Villegas, 16th President of the UN Human Rights Council, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Challenges for the coming year As Permanent Representative of Argentina, I am grateful and honoured for having been elected to preside over the Human Rights Council for 2022. 2021 was very challenging, but my predecessor, Ambassador Khan, guided us through the year and kept the Council functioning during an unprecedented pandemic. The year ahead will also present particular challenges for the Council, …

Maine becomes the first US state to recognize the Right to Food in a Constitutional amendment

by Tess Brennan, Former URG NYC fellow Blog, Blog

On 2 November 2021, in a significant development for the promotion and protection of economic, social and cultural rights (ESCRs) in the United States, voters in Maine approved an amendment to the state Constitution that recognizes the right to food. The amendment , which 60% of Mainers voted in favor of, declares that “all individuals have the right to grow, raise, harvest, …

Report of the 33rd Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the grave human rights situation in Ethiopia

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

On Friday 17th December 2021, the Human Rights Council convened a Special Session to address ‘the grave human rights situation in Ethiopia’. The Special Session was requested via an official letter dated 13 December 2021 and signed by H.E Lotte Knudsen, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations Office in Geneva, as well as H.E Anita …

Human Rights Day: From recognition to action on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment

by Dr Shavana Haythornthwaite, Head, Human Rights Unit, Commonwealth Secretariat and Dr Justin Pettit, Human Rights Adviser, Commonwealth Secretariat Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

This blog was first published on the Commonwealth website The critical state of the environment, the acceleration of climate change, the serious impacts of pollution and the increasing loss of biodiversity are undeniable. They jeopardise food security, weaken public health, exacerbate conflict and displacement, deepen inequalities, undermine development, threaten achievement of the SDGs, and impede economic growth – all whilst …

Human Rights Day 2021: protect the right to be as well as the right to become

by Dr Bertrand G. Ramcharan Blog, Blog, By invitation

Today, 10 December, is Human Rights Day. It was on this day in 1948 that the UN proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. What the Universal Declaration sought to do, seventy-three years ago, was to invite all governments to pursue human rights strategies of governance. That is …

Raising the fight against corruption to the top of the international agenda: A proposal for a new Optional Protocol to the ICESCR

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

The collapse of democracy is Afghanistan, after 20 years and billions of dollars of international engagement; the collapse of democracy in Myanmar following February’s coup d’état and ouster of Aung San Suu Kyi; the collapse of democracy in Sudan following October’s coup d’état and the detention of the civilian government. What do each of these salutary tales of democratic roll-back …